Clipper Race: Opportunity on the Atlantic
Published on July 6th, 2018
(July 6, 2018; Day 10) – The first few teams in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race have commenced the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint but with two boats in Stealth Mode and some tricky weather conditions, it’s an edge-of-the-seat kind of sprint for Race Viewer fans.
Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell has advised the eleven strong fleet of the changeable conditions they will encounter over the next 24 hours. Liverpool 2018, who is in catch up and approximately 400 nautical miles behind, could expect a ‘quite fruity’ 30-40 knots.
The rest of the fleet, Rowell says, are in for “various stages of the decaying front. This is not a very useful one either. Ahead of it there are reasonable SSW (ish) winds, behind it useful NW, but under it all sorts of patchy, shifty, opportunity-rich breeze.”
Unicef and Qingdao have both chosen to activate their invisibility cloak today. Before this, standings showed Visit Seattle and Garmin in the leading pack, with Unicef’s last known position in the top three too so it will be an exciting wait until we can discover the pace they have managed in the sprint.
The fog has descended on Nasdaq as they race in the southerly pack. Speaking about the conditions Skipper Rob Graham says: “Well, it’s a good thing we have GPS – because on days like this, that’s the only way of knowing that we’ve moved. Nasdaq actually made some decent mileage, all of it through a featureless grey waterscape. Without a horizon, the dark grey sea blended into a mid grey sky, with an unrelenting grey drizzle throughout, and nobody else on AIS or radar.”
And the weather has been keeping the crew of GREAT Britain on its toes, albeit in a different way, due to the frequent sail changes the changing wind has brought about. Skipper David Hartshorn has had a frustrating day with ‘the exclusive rights to two wind holes’ and says: “It started so well yesterday morning, with the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker) up and reaching speeds of 16 knots. We then hit our first wind hole and wind shift putting us back to white sails. Then back to the Code 2 (mediumweight spinnaker), another wind hole, wind shift back to white sails.”
He continues: “The wind has veered from 165º to 325º over the course of the day and has now backed to 260º.”
Sanya Serenity Coast has been making the most of the fast conditions over the past day but the team is mindful of what is up ahead and the impact this can have on their overall leading position in the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Skipper Wendy Tuck reports: “Today has been a fast blast sail – awesome fun overnight and today. It has been awhile since it’s been really fast and furious – there were a lot of wide eyes on board.
“Now the breeze has dropped a fair bit but we are still sailing along nicely and back in the correct direction. This race is proving to be one of the most tactical and stressful with so much on the line for all of us, and the great wind lottery about to come into play yet again.”
Note: The detour reflected on the tracker by Liverpool 2018 to Newfoundland was due to an ill crew member needing medical attention.
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