Clipper Race: The sprint is on
Published on June 11th, 2018
(June 11, 2018; Day 8) – The final chance for bonus points in the race to New York is underway with the majority of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet now in the midst of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. PSP Logistics holds onto first place for its fourth consecutive day and is enjoying that the breeze is strengthening just in time for the sprint.
PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell reports: “Life is getting a bit better out here now that we are climbing out of that ridge of high pressure that’s been giving us fairly light winds over the last day or so. We should hold the breeze for a while now before a little wiggle in the forecast will give us a bit lighter stuff before cracking on to the finish.”
But whilst conditions have improved, there is a concern in the leading pack that the teams astern might experience better sprinting conditions. Wendy Tuck, Skipper of the third placed Sanya Serenity Coast, explains: “We are off on our merry way, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint way that is. Not sure how we will go as the boats behind us might have more breeze for the duration.”
Unicef’s fortune in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint will remain a secret for now after the team went into Stealth Mode at 0610 this morning. But whilst Unicef is off the public radar, it is keeping a close eye on the competition as Skipper, Bob Beggs, reports: “A great day for sailing, endless miles under the near cloudless sky. A gybe inshore due to a wind shift and we are now sprinting north towards Long Island just 600 hundred nautical miles away.”
The fleet has encountered a few squalls over the last 24 hours but on the whole, it has been perfect kite conditions. Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth says: “Today we made some good progress north under Kite. The wind is still fairly consistent from the south despite being slightly up and down in strength so some changes from the Code 2 (Mediumweight Spinnaker) to Code 1 (Lightweight Spinnaker) keeps us moving at optimum.
“Not long to go till we enter the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint so we are trying to position ourselves well for as straight a run as possible through this window.”
It’s currently looking like another close finish, with the latest ETAs showing that the Clipper Race fleet will arrive in a 24-hour period from Friday June 15. And with the finish line getting closer, excitement is starting to build for what will be the penultimate Stopover of the Clipper 2017-18 Race.
Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch comments: “We are getting close to the start of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. Less than a mile and we are sprinting for extra points once again. After that it’s a short run (460nm) to the finish and into New York. Everyone is looking forward to some cold beers and warm beds.”
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.
Source: Clipper Ventures