Clipper Race: Scoring gate gamble
Published on July 4th, 2018
(July 4, 2018; Day 8) – It may be the 4th of July but it’s not so much independence day for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet as they are still racing in two fairly tight packs. Five teams went for the Scoring Gate but with only points on offer for the first three to cross, the competition was closely fought.
Unicef is back in first place and according to the Race Viewer it looks like the team’s decision to go for the Scoring Gate paid dividends (the official results are being checked and will be confirmed by the Race Office later today).
Speaking on his birthday, Unicef’s Additionally Qualified Person on board, Guy Waites, said “together we celebrated the day in style, we’ve gybed more times than there were candles on the cake (slight exaggeration) and just in time to pip Visit Seattle to the scoring gate.”
Nikki Henderson and her Visit Seattle team have their sights clearly on Unicef as they are just over one nautical mile behind the bright blue boat. They too went for the Scoring Gate and being in Stealth Mode meant their sneaky progress was a surprise for their follow gate chasers. Again, official results are to be confirmed but two bonus points will be very important to Henderson’s team who currently third on the Overall Race Leaderboard.
Skipper Nikki has high praise for the team, saying: “It felt like finally after a year’s hard work training everyone – blindfolded helming, ripping spinnakers, whiteboard sessions, reef after reef after reef – and so much more, this team did some real racing. Like really classy racing – slick gybes, everyone getting involved in the tactics, a massive team effort with everyone pitching in.”
Dominic Littlewood, from Liverpool 2018, is now safely back in the UK and recovering well. His team have set sail from St John’s, Newfoundland and are now back racing. Watch their progress on the Race Viewer as they play catch up towards Derry-Londonderry.
The weather has changed for the Scoring Gate pack. Rob Graham, Skipper of third placed Nasdaq says: “We’re now heading north-ish through some very tricky weather – big wind shifts, rain and limited visibility.” But Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell has predicted low-pressure driven wind by the end of today and looking ahead towards the end of this Race 12: LegenDerry Race, there is a strong chance of light winds.
With six days to go until the Derry-Londonderry arrival window – the race is still wide open for teams to scoop victory.
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.
Source: Clipper Ventures