Clipper Race: Together in the Atlantic

Published on June 28th, 2018

(June 28, 2018; Day 2) – There’s been plenty of movement on the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race leaderboard, but none of the 11 teams are yet to break away amid the tight racing conditions from New York to Derry-Londonderry.

The split that appeared shortly after the Le Mans start has become less noticeable overnight, with less than 20 nautical miles separating first from tenth. The eleventh placed PSP Logistics is 25nm from its nearest competitor as the team persists in its search of the Gulf Stream with its southerly route.

Whilst no stranger to taking a different tactic to the rest of the fleet, PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell knows he is taking a risk, commenting: “Hopefully over the next 24 hours coming south will start to pay off.”

With the majority of the fleet in AIS range, there is little room for error, as Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth explains: “We are still tightly packed as a group so any small decision cannot be taken lightly.”

The pressure to make the right call is weighing on the Skippers, especially as the results of this penultimate race of the circumnavigation could go a long way to deciding what teams will be on the podium at Race Finish in Liverpool.

Visit Seattle Skipper Nikki Henderson shone a light on her thought process, saying: “There is positive current down south – but that’s sailing more miles and last time we sailed for current we ended up 150nm behind the fleet. There is a better wind angle up north – but 4 knots of current for 200 miles, I mean, are we really going to pass that by? And there is negative current where we we’re going – but at the time it was faster.”

Currently, Visit Seattle remains mid-pack and in close quarters with Race 12 has special significance to Derry-Londonderry local Conall Morrison, and so far, the Skipper is enjoying the tactics: “The fleet seems to mix up quite a bit on the way along the northerly ice limits. It seems to have separated into two major groups, one staying further south and the other following the rhumb line a little to the north.”

Being back in the North Atlantic is driving home how much the teams have accomplished over the past ten months. Unicef Skipper Bob Begg reflects: “In two and a half days from now, we will pass due North of Punta Del Este in Uruguay, which means we will have circled the planet crossing every line of longitude. This is the first benchmark for the round the worlder crew onboard Unicef.

Those onboard Nasdaq are also celebrating the milestone, with Skipper Rob Graham commenting: “We sailed off the edge of the coastal chart today and are now marking our position on the ‘North Atlantic, Northern Part’ chart that still shows our positions from Leg 1 back in August. A cause for excitement that we’re getting closer to the finish and reflection on how far we’ve come, how much we’ve learned, and how much has happened in between.”

Good breeze is set to continue for the coming days.

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The 11 teams began the final Leg 8 which carries the fleet across the North Atlantic from New York, USA, to Liverpool, UK, via Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland.

Leg 8 is formed of two races, with the first being the 3000nm Race 12 from USA to IRL that got underway June 26. The fleet is expected to arrive between between July 10 and 14.

Then it will be one final race, Race 13, when the teams depart July 22 to return to the UK almost a year later for the final finish on July 28.

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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