Clipper Race: The final hurdle
Published on April 18th, 2018
(April 18, 2018; Day 26) – The leading teams in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race have entered into what could be their final full day of the epic 5,600nm marathon across the North Pacific Ocean to Seattle, USA. But with a wind hole between them and the finish line, the end of Race 9: The Race to the Emerald City isn’t going to be simple.
After popping out of Stealth Mode yesterday, Qingdao remains in the lead for a seventh consecutive day, though Sanya Serenity Coast and Unicef are close behind in second and third. Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “We are still on track to Seattle and we made good progress over the past 24 hours. The breeze is softening though and the feared wind hole in front of the finish line seems to come closer and closer.
“But the mood on board is good and the motivation high to defend our current position.”
Sanya Serenity Coast managed to keep in check of Qingdao throughout the 48 hours of Stealth Mode, with the gap between first and second now just 20nm.
“This last 200nm is not going to be a walk in the park,” notes Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck. “Just to keep us on our toes, there is a lovely big light patch caused by a nice-looking high coming from the land. We also have a ridge following the last low that wants to catch up to us and swallow us in a wind hole. It would be nice if it was just straight forward for once, but then, what’s the fun in that hey?”
Just 40nm astern of the lead, Unicef is also making good progress, though Skipper Bob Beggs is wary of the wind hole ahead: “The forecast promises good and reasonable wind overnight but a looming wind hole is due to drop on us about 60 nautical miles from the finish just to mix things up. The next weather forecast is due in a few hours and I look forward to seeing some change in the prognosis.”
The trio in front can’t afford to make any mistakes, with both HotelPlanner.com and PSP Logistics pushing hard in fourth and fifth, respectively. The pair have had each other in sight on AIS for the past 24 hours and PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell is also eyeing off the teams around 100nm ahead: “Running some simulations on the Nav PC has suggested our finish time to be only an hour after a couple of the leaders so this race could take an interesting turn right at the end.”
Four teams, Dare To Lead, Liverpool 2018, Nasdaq, and Visit Seattle remain in Stealth Mode. After 26 days at sea, thoughts are starting to turn towards the pleasures of port, with Visit Seattle Skipper Nikki Henderson commenting: “Ah Seattle, you are going to be SO popular.”
Meanwhile, GREAT Britain is due to finish it’s Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint today. Once GREAT Britain crosses the eastern gate, the Clipper Race Office will determine which teams were the fastest and will be awarding the precious three, two and one bonus points. Watch the Clipper Race website and social channels for the announcement.
For the latest ETA of the teams… click here.
Beginning March 24, the Clipper Race fleet left Qingdao, China for the 5,500 nm leg across the North Pacific Ocean to Seattle, USA. After approximately 24-29 days, the fleet is set to arrive into Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina between April 14-19. Conditions in the early part of the race means the boats are now expected between April 19-21.
It will be the second consecutive stopover in the West Coast USA city, with the Clipper Race previously visiting during the 2015-16 edition.
Following the Seattle stopover, the fleet will depart again on April 29 to race over 6,000 nm from Seattle to Panama during the first of two races that forms The US Coast-To-Coast Leg 7. From there, the teams will race on to New York, Derry-Londonderry, and then to the finish in Liverpool, UK.
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