Clipper Race: The sprint is on

Published on October 2nd, 2019

(October 2, 2019; Race 2, Day 17) – The Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint begins with favourable conditions as Visit Sanya, China continues to stay ahead of the rest of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race fleet, and has crossed the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint finish line at 0511 UTC today.

The Ocean Sprint is a time trial between the lines of longitude 05°S and 10°S.. The fastest three teams will be awarded bonus race points (three for first, two for second, and one for third).

Skipper of Visit Sanya, Seumas Kellock, comments: “We find ourselves coming to the end of the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint, in my mind another mini race within a really big race.

“The crew are doing a fantastic job of not becoming complacent after being on the same tack sailing in the same direction for such a long period of time. They are constantly checking trim asking questions, making sure sheets are run correctly.”

Edging closer to the sprint finish, hot on the heels of Visit Sanya, Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks said: “We have watched the boat ahead extend and the ones behind start eating our lead which is tough for the team and it’s tough for me personally.

“Not anymore. We have now hit the turbo button. I hadn’t seen it before but if you look at our speeds now we are matching and mighty fast it is too.”

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and Dare To Lead are also racing hard within the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint parameters. Guy Waites, Skipper of Dare To Lead commented: “The breeze remains consistent and soon the forecast will extend to our finish line. Will a hole appear to unnerve and unsettle us, or will the high pressure prevail and code sails all the way?”

Whilst the team leading the pack celebrate their position on the leaderboard, the jubilations are being echoed amongst the fleet as the teams mark a key milestone within the race. All the teams have now crossed the Equator, a big moment for crew experiencing their first encounter with Neptune.

WTC Logistics Skipper Mark Burkes reported: “Neptune paid a visit at lunchtime in the form of Laurence Vignon, dressed in all the garb you’d expect of Neptune, plus locks of long grey hair and a beard. She looked very comical in the costume (plus Spinlock lifejacket and tether). Very convincing.”

The fleet will now spend the next four months racing in the Southern Hemisphere before crossing back across the Equator during Leg 5: The Asia Pacific Challenge next year.

As all the teams focus on racing fast, pushing forward to the finish in Punta del Este, Zhuhai Skipper, Nick Leggatt, commented: “The entire fleet is now sailing as fast as they can go through the Trade Winds. The changes in wind speed and direction around here are quite subtle so it is unlikely that there will be significant changes in the ranking over the next few days, but miles can be gained by paying careful attention to the trimming and helming.”

Ben Keitch, Skipper on board the fifth placed Seattle, has the start of the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint in his sights and said: “The sailing has been perfect champagne conditions. We’ve had nothing less than a 16 knot reach for 24 hours and the wind is building and freeing by the hour.

“It is trim, trim, trim with the mantra can we be faster as we try and stay ahead of the close competition biting at our heels and catch up with Dare To Lead who is within our sights.”

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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