Clipper Race: Crossing the equator

Published on September 30th, 2019

(September 30, 2019; Race 2, Day 15) – The top of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race leaderboard remains unchanged on Race 2 with Visit Sanya, China and Qingdao being the first two teams to cross the equator and sail into the Southern Hemisphere.

Current leader Visit Sanya, China was the first to cross as Skipper Seumas Kellock reports: “The crew today ticked off the first major event of their race. The Clipper Race really does do some amazing things; passes two of the world’s great capes, crosses the equator twice, crosses the world’s largest ocean and sails around the world.

“First on the list though is crossing the equator into the Southern Hemisphere; there were whoops and screams as we crossed to the other side and apart from myself and Guan (our OBR On Board Reporter), no one else has sailed across the equator before so a big boat of firsts here!”

The rest of the fleet is expected to cross the equator over the next 36hrs and the crew will have to pay their respects to Neptune as those who have never sailed across before will go from Pollywogs to Shellbacks.

Whilst the leaders have carved out an impressive lead of over 200 nautical miles, elsewhere in the fleet racing remains tight with, in some cases, only a couple of nautical miles separating the teams.

Seattle, currently in fifth after successfully using the Doldrums Corridor to its advantage, shares an update from Ineke Van Der Weijden: “The wind is from the south-east, so that means we are also back at life at an angle…I think for the first time this race. We are not close to being “at 45 degrees” yet, but it’s enough of a heel for me to be sliding sideways out of the Nav station while writing this.”

Free from the grips of the Doldrums, average speeds are steadily increasing across the fleet as it moves into the path of the southern Tradewinds. This consistent south-easterly wind should propel the teams towards and down the Brazilian coast during the latter stages the course to Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Guy Waites, Skipper of Dare To Lead, explains: “Slowly but surely the wind is bending to our need, relenting some of it’s westward push we gradually converge on our southerly road.”

Adding: “The Equator beckons some 100 miles south and a rendezvous with Neptune, gatekeeper and guardian of all things Equatorial as we count down our Leg 1 milestones, all 2700 nautical miles of them, to Punta del Este.”

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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