Clipper Race: Start your engines

Published on May 18th, 2018

(May 18, 2018; Day 18) – After Dare To Lead took the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race victory of Race 10 from Seattle to Panama, there was a hard-fought race for the final two positions on the podium with Visit Seattle scooping second and GREAT Britain third. Despite 18 days of racing, covering a distance of 3,000nm, only an hour separated these two teams.

The original race finish line for Race 10 was planned to be due south of Isla Jicaron in Panama. However, a windless zone was expected further along the race course and therefore the Clipper Race Committee informed teams yesterday that Mandatory Gate 2 would now signal race end.

On Dare To Lead’s maiden win, Skipper Dale Smyth, has spoken about how his team did not let up despite taking a substantial lead in the final hours of the race: “We kept sailing and milking every little bit of boat speed we could muster in the 6 knots of wind and eventually crossed the line with 33 miles in the bag.”

He has also praised each Skipper “who has fought really hard and kept it interesting right to the end.”

It was a tense race for second place Skipper, Nikki Henderson and Visit Seattle, who did not let up the pressure after leaving their home city, not dropping out of the top three during Race 10. Henderson has reflected on the challenging conditions they have experienced: “What a finish! The last 24 hours have been such tight racing – and so tense. “To finish so close is testament to the quality of sailing and racing that we have had over the last year, and particularly this race.”

After completing this race, the teams will buddy up and alternatively tow each other to conserve fuel as they motor sail towards a scheduled re-fuel stop in Costa Rica. They will then continue on to Flamenco Island Marina on the Pacific Ocean side of the Panama Canal.

After traversing the Panama Canal – one of the real highlights of the 40,000nm circumnavigation – the teams will regroup to begin the second and final stage of the US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7, a 2,000nm race from Panama to New York, which will begin on Friday June 3.

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The 11 teams are now 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. Race 10 started May 1 and is expected to take approximately 23 to 26 days, with the fleet to arrive between May 23 and 27. After transiting the Panama Canal, Race 11 to New York begins June 3.

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


Source: Clipper Ventures

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