Clipper Race: Full of contrast
Published on September 5th, 2019
(September 5, 2019, Day 4) – Today has brought new sailing conditions for the fleet of the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the wind has backed and the teams have left the challenging upwind conditions behind them for now. Spinnaker sailing once again is making for more joyful experience for the crew.
As the shores of England disappeared and they head into the open waters, free of the Channel, the crew were able to reflect on the challenges they’ve already overcome – seasickness is easing, the boats are steadying and wildlife has been spotted. All welcome differences from the past day or so, as the teams adjust to life at sea and the race continues to Portimão in Portugal.
Ben Keitch, Skipper of Seattle said: “The Race 1 start has certainly given the crew a very small taster of what they have in store to come – but they are slowly all adapting and adjusting to boat life, which really isn’t easy when heeled over.”
Imagine your Korea Skipper, Mike Surridge, reports that the team is making progress after a tough 24hrs: “We seemed to have pulled our way back progressively, and this has to continue. Doing so wasn’t without discomfort as we had the top end of the appropriate sail plan for some time.”
As the fleet starts to cross the Bay of Biscay, the competition remains close with less than ten nautical miles separating the leading three yachts; Qingdao, GoToBermuda and Unicef. Chris Brooks, Skipper of Qingdao, puts the success so far down to teamwork: “The crew is really digging deep when required. It’s been a phenomenal effort so far. We know you’re all watching and we do this for ourselves, our teammates, and all our supporters at home.”
As the teams set their sails for a downwind stint towards Cape Finisterre and the start of the Ocean Sprint Punta del Este Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, noted: “I’m looking forward to sailing around Cape Finisterre (even if the prediction is to have gale force winds) and feel close to some of my family in Galicia.”
Dare To Lead Skipper, Guy Waites, commented: “Our path south should now be relatively rapid, we could be closing the finish within three days, so we have those days to regroup, digest our lessons and move on with humility. The sea is a fickle mistress, one we will never master but only endure.”
The Clipper Race always brings contrasts whilst amongst nature – from battling stormy weather to the wildlife that can be seen. The past couple of days have certainly been full of contrast.
Zhuhai’s Skipper Nick Leggatt said: “We are doing our best to record as many bird species as we can, and to yesterday’s sparse list we can add a sighting of a Skua. Probably an Arctic Skua to be precise. During the day we were also briefly followed by a lone dolphin, and overnight the watch on deck reported a large pod of dolphins”.
The Clipper Race fleet is expected to arrive into Portimão between September 8 and 10.
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