Clipper Race: Crossing Mexican border

Published on May 6th, 2018

(May 6, 2018; Day 6) – The Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race featured champagne sailing conditions as the fleet crossed from Californian to Mexican latitudes. The 11 teams are taking part in the US Coast-To-Coast Leg 7, which is made up of two races, Race 10 from Seattle to Panama and Race 11 from Panama to New York.

After a run of steady breeze, the only change to the Race 10 leaderboard is at the top, with Qingdao reclaiming its lead from Visit Seattle. However, the hold is marginal, with less than a nautical mile between the two teams.

“A few hours ago, we rounded the Virtual Mark ‘Denford’ in close company with Visit Seattle, Dare To Lead, and PSP Logistics,” reports Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch. “Just before the wind increased, and while passing the mark only a few boat lengths away from Visit Seattle, we quickly had to peel from the Code 1 (Lightweight Spinnaker) to the Code 2 (Mediumweight Spinnaker).

“Whilst we were busy changing kites, Visit Seattle gybed and once our Code 2 was flying, we followed suite.”

Qingdao, Visit Seattle, Dare To Lead and PSP Logistics remain in the leading pack, and it looks to be a very tactical next 24 hours, as the teams race south towards the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, the first opportunity to score bonus points in Race 10.

PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell is quietly confident, saying: “Later on today we should be starting the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and by the looks of it, we should have some good wind. The miles are falling away at the moment and fingers crossed we keep the breeze for a good while yet.”

Mid-fleet teams are also benefitting from the sustained breeze and HotelPlanner.com and Sanya Serenity Coast continue to drag race, with less than four nautical miles separating the two boats. HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison comments: “It was a good day at the office today and we have been in close contact with Sanya Serenity Coast all day. They appear to be a little faster, but we have maintained a better downwind angle so much of a muchness really.”

Now the fleet is heading towards Mexican latitudes, the long awaited warm temperatures are beginning to kick in. For Nikki Henderson, Skipper of Visit Seattle, it is a landmark moment as she reflects: “Two months ago, a week out of Sanya, it started to get cold and I remember thinking ‘right two months of shivering and it will be back to warmth’ and now we are at that point – crazy!”

Looking ahead, Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell reports the high driving favourable winds are set to stay for the coming days, with the frontrunners in particular to benefit from the sustained breeze for the upcoming Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.

Aside from the competition of Race 10, Visit Seattle has been fitted with a special sensor for Leg 7, which will monitor the effects of ocean acidification around the US Coast. Read more about the project here.

Event detailsRace factsRace viewerFacebook

After starting May 1, Race 10: The Garmin American Challenge, which extends from Seattle to Panama, is expected to take approximately 23 to 26 days, with the fleet to arrive between May 23 and 27. The brief stopover will feature one of the highlights of the Clipper 2017-18 Race – the Panama Canal – which see the teams bid farewell to the Pacific Ocean and re-enter the Atlantic Ocean ahead of the final three races of the circumnavigation.​

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.

Race RouteRace Schedule and Miles

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Source: Clipper Ventures

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