Clipper Cup: Heading towards the abyss
Published on June 7th, 2018
(June 7, 2018; Day 4) – Whilst yesterday’s game of snakes and ladders continues to disrupt the leaderboard for Race 11: Nasdaq Race of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, the majority of the fleet have now converged as they pass between Jamaica and Dominican Republic.
For the teams that decided to head east at the beginning of the race, that tactic has paid off, with PSP Logistics storming ahead rising up the ranks from fourth place yesterday to hold a 20 nautical mile lead on the pack.
“It’s not been too bad over the last day with the wind fairly steady at around 15 knots,” reports PSP Logistics’ Skipper Matt Mitchell. “We managed to get around the first mark of the course without too much fuss and are now heading at speed towards the abyss that is the Windward Passage. Fingers crossed the wind holds as it can be a bit disconcerting being so close to land without any wind to steer with.”
Progress has been good on board Nasdaq which has also been reaping the benefits of the early easterly route. Skipper Rob Graham explains: “Although our “eat your sprouts first” tactic of heading east early worked out well, Nasdaq had seemed to struggle a little for boat speed compared to the boats around it.
“Speed has picked up now and we’re now making better progress towards the Windward Passage between Haiti and Jamaica, in a drag race with Garmin which is close beside us.”
The fleet has now split into two clear groups with nine teams in the lead pack and three teams together but trailing behind.
Looking ahead, there is no respite to be had in the coming 24 hours, with Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell observing that the breeze is largely flowing from the north, the sea state will likely become shorter and messier than the fleet has had up until now. Simon also notes a tropical wave upwind of the fleet that may bring some squalls in the team’s path.
Event details – Race facts – Race viewer – Facebook
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 Route – Race Schedule and Miles
Source: Clipper Ventures