Clipper Race: Routing at the Canaries

Published on September 19th, 2019

(September 19, 2019; Race 2, Day 4) – The 11 teams in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race are unanimous that they have been welcomed by favorable sailing conditions as the crew surf their way past the Canary Islands south, with yacht speeds into double figures, a welcome change from the lighter winds.

GoToBermuda Skipper David Immelman, enthuses: “Brilliant day. We have had very nice winds and good surfing conditions, beautiful sunshine and lovely starts to steer by. GoToBermuda is finally sailing in double figures, and with Nick and the crew of Zhuhai just ahead of us, we have been chasing really hard. Not an easy task with that team.”

The change in conditions has given the crew a good chance to put their skills, some very new, into practice. Ben Keitch, Skipper of Seattle reports: “It’s been quite a good time for crew to learn how to helm with the kite at night. It is something that has to be done by feel and one that Ineke or I stand by to make the occasional course correction.”

The teams have made tactical decisions on whether to pass between the Canary Islands or take more of an inshore route. Punta del Este, which is currently leading the pack, has opted for the scenic route, sailing between the islands as the team head south, south-west toward the finish port of the same name.

With spirits remaining high, the crew have not only been enjoying utilizing the conditions for improving technical sailing skills but keeping the crew fueled up also.

Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez comments: “The favorable sea state provided the perfect conditions for Anne and Antonio, who were in charge of keeping the crew well fed to get baking and make something special.”

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam is in second place on the leaderboard, followed by Dare To Lead, both of which have stuck to the inshore route, close to the Moroccon coast.

The Clipper Race fleet now leaves the Canary Islands behind with around 4,700 nautical miles to go. Chris Brooks, Qingdao’s Skipper describes how they are tackling the vast distance: “This race to Punta del Este is such a whopper at over 5000 miles that I find myself separating it into smaller races to make it easier to comprehend as well as more relevant when looking at how we are doing against our competitors.”

The concept is echoed by Zhuhai’s Skipper Nick Leggatt as he shares news of the mini race they have been part of: “Zhuhai’s private race with GoToBermuda continues unabated, with the two yachts seldom more than five miles apart. It is certainly keeping the Zhuhai team motivated and excited.”

Keep an eye on all the fleet’s competitive gybes, tacks, and mini-races and find out which teams have made the right decisions in routing and forecasting the wind conditions.

Race 2 began September 15 and will take the 11 teams along a 5195 nm course from Portimão, Portugal to Punta del Este, Uruguay, with their expected arrival between October 12 and 16.

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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.

Held biennially, the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race gets underway September 1 for the fleet of eleven identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. This 12th edition has attracted 688 crew representing 43 nationalities for the 41,000+ nm course. The race finishes on August 8.

The course is divided into 8 legs and 15 individual races, with some of the crew in for the entire circumnavigation while others will do individual legs. The team having the best cumulative score over the entire course will win the Clipper Race Trophy.

The Clipper 2019-20 Race Route:
The fleet departs 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 in Northern Ireland; before arriving back to London as fully proven ocean racers.

Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race


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