Clipper Race: Off and running
Published on September 2nd, 2019
(September 2, 2019; Day 1) – The twelfth edition of the epic 40,000 nautical mile global sailing challenge, the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, started today with 220 ordinary people from all walks of life, representing 29 different nationalities, onboard 11 race boats.
The first of 15 races started in London, sailing to Portimão in Portugal. While the opening race may be short, with the fleet expected to arrive within six to eight days, it will certainly test the men and women taking part in Leg 1.
After kicking off the circumnavigation with an impressive parade of sail along the iconic River Thames, taking in landmarks such as Tower Bridge and the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, the first challenge will be to negotiate numerous fast running tides around the UK and Northern France. The Bay of Biscay, notorious for violent storms and heavy seas, could prove challenging and teams will be eager to cross it quickly.
With the adrenaline-filled start over, teams will need to settle into watch systems quickly as they look to break ahead of the pack in the sprint to Portimão, Portugal.
While none of the teams have opted to play their Joker Card in Race 1, there is still an opportunity to earn some bonus points through the Scoring Gate and the Ocean Sprint.
The Scoring Gate is not a compulsory gate for the race but the first three yachts through the gate will be awarded three points, two points and one point respectively. It’s position in the Bay of Biscay will have teams seriously debate whether or not to risk the light winds to go hunting for the extra points.
The Ocean Sprint will be another chance for extra points. The first three teams with the shortest elapsed time between the two designated positions will receive three points, two points and one point respectively.
Teams can also employ Stealth Mode once during each race. Stealth Mode will hide them from the rest of the fleet and is usually when tactically decisions are made. While the boat in Stealth Mode will be hidden from the rest of the fleet and the public, the Clipper Race Office will be in constant contact with those on board.
Marina de Portimão, in the heart of the Algarve region of Portugal, is making its debut as a Host Port in the 2019-20 Clipper Race.
The modern marina is set against the backdrop of the of the São João do Arade Castle and Santa Catarina Fortress is known as the gateway to Europe and the Mediterranean. It is the last point of call for many boats preparing to cross the Atlantic.
The modern marina will provide the first stopover for the Clipper Race crew, offering a chance to rest and recharge before beginning the first of their six ocean crossings – a 5,200nm race down the North and into the Southern Hemisphere to Punta del Este, Uruguay.
The Clipper Race will return to London almost a year later for Race Finish in August 2020, where one of the eleven teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy.
The Clipper 2019-20 Race Route:
The eleven teams began the circumnavigation at St Katharine Docks on 1 September 2019, racing from London, UK, to Portimão, Portugal; across the Atlantic to Punta del Este, Uruguay; the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Fremantle, Western Australia; around to the Whitsundays on the east coast of Australia, back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the mighty North Pacific to Seattle, USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; to Bermuda and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing to Derry-Londonderry; before arriving back to London as fully proven ocean racers.
About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race:
The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.
Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training program ahead of their adventure. Some will choose to take on the whole circumnavigation while others will compete in one or more of eight individual legs.
The overall route is split into a series of global races and a maximum 11 points going to first place ascending to one point for eleventh place. The team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the final race wins the series, and the Clipper Race trophy.
Source: Event Media