Clipper Race: Departing the coast
Published on September 22nd, 2019
(September 22, 2019; Race 2, Day 7) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race finds Visit Sanya, China and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam leading the charge to the Scoring Gate, but until Qingdao reappears from Stealth Mode, the team to be awarded the first bonus points of Race 2 will remain undecided.
Seumas Kellock, Visit Sanya, China, Skipper reports: “Well, we’re almost there, to the Scoring Gate that is, but the big question is will we be first. Qingdao has gone into sneaky squirrel mode (stealth) so we can not see them and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam is not too far behind so it’s all to play for as we race on through the night.”
The fleet has now left the Western Sahara shores behind it as the Trade Winds propel the teams onwards towards Cape Verde but also the doldrums.
Temperatures have been rising as the teams get closer to the equator, multiple sail changes and gybes have been reported across the fleet in order to maximize speed and direction whilst they still have favorable wind.
GoToBermuda Skipper, David ‘Wavy’ Immelman said: “The crew are pushing hard and taking advantage of the winds and are thoroughly enjoying the great sailing conditions.”
After a week at sea the watches are settled and the rhythms of life aboard are becoming the norm. WTC Logistics Skipper, Mark Burkes, reported that: “Whilst we are still only 70 or so miles off the Mauritanian coast, it’s starting to feel like we are properly on the ocean passage, which, coincidentally, we are! The watches are becoming more rhythmic and that strange feeling of being rested but then quickly tired at the end of your watch has set in.”
Whilst the racing remains close, it is hard for crew not to appreciate the oceans and wildlife that inhabit them. Unicef Skipper Ian Wiggin explained: “The last 24 hour have felt like Planet Earth in Ultra-Mega high definition. Nature has been abundant and we have had some really cool encounters. It is as if the birds, fish, plankton, and dolphins have been trying to out compete each other. The harder we shout and cheer, the more they perform.
“The wildlife has really been working the cameras. I have lost track of how many times I have heard the word amazing in the last 24 hours. One comment from earlier ‘You know, seeing all of this (nature) – it’s amazing – it really makes you want to do something to help’.”
Along with the dolphins and sea birds, flying fish were on the agenda (and menu for some) with the majority of teams reporting fish related incidents, much to the hilarity of the crew on board.
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.
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