Clipper Race: Embracing southern trades

Published on October 3rd, 2019

(October 3, 2019; Race 2, Day 18) – The leaderboard for the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race remains unchanged at the top, with the leading three teams all having passed the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint finish line.

All the other teams, bar Imagine your Korea, are now within the sprint phase of the race and are experiencing good sailing conditions on the whole, though some changeable wind conditions have resulted in some quick sail changes as they concentrate on the bonus points on offer.

Visit Sanya, China has cemented its position in first place, around 60 nautical miles ahead of Qingdao, while Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam is in third.

“With the Yankee 1 up, we find ourselves overpowered with a continually building wind, and like a professional sailing squad, the crew went instantly from dropping the kite to putting a reef in without blinking, amazing work!” reports Sanya Skipper Seumas Kellock. “But still, the wind got stronger and pushed us off course even without our spinnaker up.

“Next up was a headsail change, so down the Yankee 1 came and there it stayed. By this time we had 25-28 knots of true wind and in excess of 30 knots apparent. With only a staysail and reefed main, we were still making over 11 knots of boat speed so we tied the Yankee 1 down nice and tight and held on to enjoy the ride.”

With 56 nm separating them, Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks commented: “The gribs suggested it would pass through ahead of us but here we are in the howling winds. I’m uncertain how that will affect things, but today will be a little eye opener to see if the other boats face it too.

“My thoughts are that their wind direction will be largely unchanged. Still, when you develop a lead over the pack it’s often you have to face different conditions to the rest.”

WTC Logistics Skipper Marke Burkes said: “Visit Sanya is really showing the fleet their heels as they continue to rip up the race track in front of us. In the meantime, we are now back on the pace with Zhuhai and Unicef and keen to get a march on Seattle and Punta Del Este.”

Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, Skipper on board Punta del Este, reported: “We continue sailing the Trade Winds along the coast of Brazil, trimming and helming the fastest we can, all to get the best time in crossing the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint and potentially getting those extra points.”

Currently in seventh place is Unicef. Skipper Ian Wiggin is pushing forward within the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint phase, and commented: “With a maximum of three shiny Clipper Race bonus points available, this was an offer too good to refuse.

“We blew the dust off our old running shoes and tied the laces in double bows. Peddle to the metal and take it to the limit. There had been four tracks carved in the piest ahead of us. We knew how fast the leading yachts had gone and also how direct they had traveled.”

With less than 2,000 nm to reach Punta del Este for those in the lead, can the positions change?

Fourth-placed Dare To Lead Skipper, Guy Waites, comments that anything could happen in the last week and a half of racing: “With the fleet now spread over 600 nm of South Atlantic Ocean, the arrivals could be spread over a few days but we have one wind hole right on our track for the finish line.

“I’ve lost count of the number of races that have endured a last minute reshuffle, winners and losers, options and opportunities, nothing taken for granted, anything could happen in the final days of Race 2.”

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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