Clipper Race: As plain sailing can be
Published on February 12th, 2018
(February 12, 2018; Day 13) – There has been little change in weather conditions over the last 24 hours and the consistency has enabled the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race teams to continue accelerating towards Sanya after yesterday’s gear shift and nearly a fortnight of racing.
The steady conditions mean there has only been a small amount of change on the leaderboard, and PSP Logistics retains its lead for the second consecutive day, making 118 nautical miles of progress over the last twelve hours.
Skipper Matt Mitchell is pleased with his team’s performance, reporting: “Progress has been great over the last 24 hours, as plain sailing as plain sailing can be. The wind is stable and has been consistent of direction, although we did change up to our Code 2 (medium weight spinnaker) yesterday afternoon.”
With the forecast set to remain steady over the coming days, Matt is ensuring the team makes the most of the predictable conditions. He says: “Now, the focus is on driving in a straight line and making sure that we keep up to speed and maintaining our position.”
Sanya Serenity Coast, led by Skipper Wendy Tuck, has moved up to second place today and is closely followed by Qingdao, in third. Wendy, who is competing as a Clipper Race Skipper for the second consecutive edition, says: “We just had a very small rain shower, but it was enough to cool us all down, this Leg has by far been the hottest ever. It is still an oven down below, but at least we are making way. I have to commend the crew; this heat is sapping every bit of energy out of everyone”.
Although the weather conditions have remained the same, two clear packs have formed on the race course; one to the north and one more southerly.
Unicef, in fourth place, is in the northerly pack and made the most ground over the last twelve hours, but Skipper Bob Beggs is keeping a focus on the long haul, commenting: “From our position updates we can see that all the fleet is now firmly in the trades and is now making good daily averages. With just over two thousand miles to go, hopefully we are looking at nine or ten days until arrival in Sanya’s Serenity Coast.”
Liverpool 2018 holds fifth place today and the pink boat is currently racing over the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. Skipper Lance Shepherd said: “At about eleven kilometres deep, its deeper than Mount Everest is high.”
Dare To Lead, in sixth place, makes up the final team in the northerly pack but is pushing hard to make up some distance to the frontrunners.
Leading the southerly pack is HotelPlanner.com, which takes seventh place and is closely followed by Visit Seattle which finds itself further down the leaderboard after a strong start to the race.
Speaking from on board, Nikki Henderson is questioning whether the sacrifice of leaderboard positions for Scoring Gate points was worthwhile: “It will be interesting to see what happens with this high pressure forming off Luzon, there is a risk we may be left the wrong side of it. Those three points at the Scoring Gate so far have cost us a fair few places – we are really hoping they won’t cost us a few days in Sanya, too”.
GREAT Britain emerged from Stealth Mode in ninth place, climbing a couple of places since yesterday, and is welcoming the more consistent breeze to make some good miles to the next destination.
The two teams at the bottom of the leaderboard, Garmin, in tenth and Nasdaq, in eleventh, also went for the Scoring Gate bonus points and are now paying the price in positions. However, both teams remain optimistic with Garmin Skipper Gaëtan Thomas joking that he is planning some “disastrous tactics.”
However, with teams now chalking up the miles as they cross the halfway point to Sanya, China, we are likely to see changes to the leaderboard over the coming days.
Looking ahead, teams will be starting to gear up for the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint as it nears the Philippines before embarking on the final stretch toward China.
Beginning January 30, Race 7 of the 13 stage Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race has the fleet racing 4280nm from Whitsunday Islands in Australia to Sanya, China. From there teams will race onwards to Qingdao, also in China; across the North Pacific Ocean to Seattle, and through the Panama Canal to New York.
The course to Sanya is expected to take between 23 to 27 days, with the fleet expected to arrive into the Sanya Serenity Marina between February 21 and 25.
Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve* identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. The race concludes in Liverpool on July 28.
Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.
* Twelve teams began the first leg but one yacht (Greenings) ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.
Source: Clipper Ventures