Clipper Race: An eventful 24 hours
Published on October 8th, 2019
(October 8, 2019; Race 2, Day 23) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race has a new leader as Qingdao has taken over from close rival Visit Sanya, China following an interesting and squally 24 hours along the course from Portugal to Uruguay.
Stealth Mode didn’t go quite as planned for Visit Sanya, as when the team reappeared at 0600 UTC this morning on the Race Viewer, it showed that 30 nautical miles now stands between them and Qingdao.
The light wind lasted longer then Visit Sanya Skipper Seumas Kellock had hoped, and after being hit with a squall, where wind speeds went from 7 to 28 knots in 20 minutes before disappearing again, it has been a tough 24 hours.
“Currently we are sitting in second place, which I’m not going to lie stings a wee, but having led the race for the best part of 3,000nm, still onwards and upwards,” reports Kellock. “There is a lot of change in the weather between here and Punta del Este and it’s not over until it’s over.”
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam remains in third with a comfortable, but not guaranteed, lead over Dare To Lead chasing in fourth. In similar weather conditions to the leading two teams, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper Josh Stickland reported: “Well, it’s been an eventful 24 hours, I’ll give you that much. We have had it all from squalls, to kite wraps, to wind holes, to even the other watch seeing an albatross.”
Less than 700nm separates the top three from the finish line in Punta del Este, but it is not going to get any easier. Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell is reporting that the last stretch is looking like being the most technical yet, with a second cold front around the finish forecast to gradually move up and effect all the fleet at some stage.
Elsewhere in the fleet, competition for positions remains fierce. Zhuhai and Unicef, currently in fifth and sixth respectively, have been trading places since the beginning of the race and continue to do so. Unicef Skipper Ian Wiggin said: “Today we raced Zhuhai. The battle has been unrelenting and the distance over the last 12 hours has remained at around 5nm.”
From on board Zhuhai, Skipper Nick Leggatt reported: “We did manage to pick up a couple of miles when we were able to gybe and cross clear ahead of a ship while we heard Unicef talking to the ship on the radio and discussing their intentions. Tactically it is not always a good idea to call ships when you have competitors around, but thanks anyway, Ian.
It had been an easier day for those not yet hit by the front at the back of the pack. The teams level with São Paulo in Brazil have been reporting fantastic sailing conditions and good boat speeds. David Immelman, the Skipper of GoToBermuda, said: “On the move again, doing 12 knots directly at the finish.
“Great work, keep that boat speed up guys. Especially as there is an area of low pressure in front of us, and it is one of the few times in the race we have had a catch up ability where the wind is higher at the back of the fleet rather than the front. Long may it last.”
Similarly on board Seattle, Skipper Ben Keitch said: “It’s been a good run over the last couple of days, as we measure our progress by gaining ground on Zhuhai and Unicef, and keeping Punta del Este at bay.”
Can Qingdao hold onto the lead? Will Seattle catch Unicef and Zhuhai? What will the next 24 hours bring for the fleet?
Arrival times are expected between October 11 and 15. To follow the ETA for the fleet, click here.
Race 2 began September 15 and will take the 11 teams along a 5195 nm course from Portimão, Portugal to Punta del Este, Uruguay.
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