Clipper Race: Wind hole ahead
Published on July 7th, 2018
(July 7, 2018; Day 11) – After an intense eleven days of racing across the North Atlantic Ocean, the mood across the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet is that the sprint is very much on for both the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, and the finish line in Derry-Londonderry.
Whilst teams have been pushing through the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint over the last 24 hours, the results will only be confirmed once Liverpool 2018 finishes its sprint. Although yet to start the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, the team will be looking to take advantage of the bonus point opportunity following its diversion to St John’s, Newfoundland.
Speaking from on board, Liverpool 2018 Skipper Lance Shepherd said: “We should get southerly winds allowing us to point straight to Derry-Londonderry and hopefully straight over the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. However, the wind strength at the end of the sprint looks like it is tailing off so fingers crossed it will stay with us.”
But Liverpool 2018 isn’t the only team looking to pick up the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint points, with Garmin Skipper Gaetan Thomas adding: “Morale is good, camaraderie is great, fingers crossed for us for the finish and hopefully a podium on the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint!”
On Visit Seattle, which is currently leading the pack, Skipper Nikki Henderson isn’t so confident that the team will gain any sprint points as they opted to focus on maintaining a stronger position in the fleet.
She says: “It’s fair to say we pushed the boat to its limit, just not really in the right direction for the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. We decided to keep sailing our race – and try to sail really fast.”
With less than 400nm laying between the front of the fleet and Derry-Londonderry, the fleet has enjoyed a quick race across the North Atlantic from New York. However, lingering over Ireland is a giant wind hole which could scupper tactics dramatically as the fleet edges closer to the finish.
Speaking about the forecasted conditions, Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch says: “We are pushing hard to try avoid that huge wind hole the forecast shows developing west of Ireland, but it seems the whole fleet will park up there.”
One team that may be able to use this to its advantage, however, is Liverpool 2018 and Skipper Lance is monitoring fleet progress carefully as teams approach the wind hole. He comments: “It will be very interesting to see if Visit Seattle and Garmin manage to stay ahead of the wind hole as they have been cracking out some amazing speeds and I wonder how it will mix things up mid fleet. We will just keep doing our best to eat the miles and get to Derry-Londonderry ASAP!”
Which team’s sprint will prove the quickest, and will the dreaded wind hole take hold? Keep an eye on the Race Viewer to find out.
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