Harken Derm

Clipper Cup: The Jamaican layline

Published on June 6th, 2018

(June 6, 2018; Day 3) – The early divide in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet has led to more shake ups on the Race 11: Nasdaq Race leaderboard for the 11 teams. Whilst the podium places have remained consistent for the second day in a row, the rest of the fleet has been playing a game of snakes and ladders as they head towards the next race mark off the coast of Jamaica.

“It will be interesting to see who will pass ahead of who in a day when passing our first mandatory waypoint, Beesley,” noted Gaetan Thomas, Skipper of leading team, Garmin. “It will be a tactical turn of the race because as soon as this mark is passed, we should be good for a better angle and a better speed which can give some extra miles ahead of the other teams.”

Jumping up the leaderboard from tenth to fourth place, PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell and his team are looking ahead at tactics to maintain their advantage. He says: “Progress is good and the forecast is looking better as we head further north. Considerations for which route through the islands we will take are being made.”

Elsewhere, Dare To Lead has slipped three places and Skipper Dale Smyth explains the reasons for this: “Life at 45 degrees continues as we bash our way upwind towards Jamaica. Unfortunately, we are not making our waypoint to get around the eastern end of the island so will have to tack and spend about 90 miles doing a losing tack to make the corner. Painful as it is, that is upwind sailing.”

Also looking to use the upcoming part of the race to the team’s advantage, Dale adds: “The next few days should be interesting, passing Jamaica and Cuba to the left then Haiti on the right. There will be some tactical games through the island where we can hopefully leverage some advantage.”

​However, teams are making the most of the stronger trademark force 4-5 Caribbean winds as they tack north. Also thinking tactically, Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch looks ahead: “We will have another two days of beating before we get closer to Jamaica and Haiti where the winds will become lighter and less predictable. A bit of a light wind lottery again as it stands.”

Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell echoes Chris’ thoughts, reporting: “The next 24 hours will be very interesting indeed as the Clipper Race fleet rounds Jamaica. The Windward passage should have some breeze in it as the ridge heads north, but it will still be fickle with many opportunities to both make up and lose ground.”

There have been some unexpected guests on board these past few days. Flying fish have lived up to their name and surprised two of the teams, including Sanya Serenity Coast, as Skipper Wendy Tuck explains: “Last night we had a first. Somehow, as I was in the Nav Station having an update with Mike Miller, a flying fish flew in to join the conversation! He flew in through a hatch no bigger than 10 cm on a 70 foot yacht. What are the odds of that?!”

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Beginning June 3, the 11 teams are competing in Race 11, named the Nasdaq Race, which extends 1,900 nm in the Atlantic from Panama to New York, USA. Race 11 should take 12 days to complete, with an arrival window of June 14-16.

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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