Clipper Race: Wee wind wars
Published on October 10th, 2019
(October 10, 2019; Race 2, Day 25) – Leaders Qingdao and Visit Sanya, China remain neck-and-neck as the two teams enter into the final 300 nautical miles of Race 2 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race from Portugal to Uruguay.
Although the current gap is just 2 nautical miles, Visit Sanya has dropped into second place and Skipper Seumas Kellock reported: “We continued to battle with light wind just as we had done all night. It is very frustrating when there is only a wee bit of wind but even worse when it’s not coming from a direction you can use to your full advantage. Still we soldiered on and at some point, just after sunrise our good friends Qingdao appeared on the horizon.”
He went on to say: “Spirits are high and it’s still all to play for as we edge closer and closer to our destination. It will almost certainly come down to the slightly variable wind section that is forecast 60nm from the finish.”
It’s not just the leaders who have been impacted by the light and patchy breeze across the Atlantic Ocean. Dare To Lead heads up the chasing pack, after reappearing from Stealth Mode on the Race Viewer yesterday.
Despite the team not having made as much progress as hoped, Skipper Guy Waites explained: “For the past 24 hours we’ve played a game of windseeker and for a while it looked as if the wind had won but we wriggled well, how well only time will tell.
“The wind is forecast to re-establish itself across the course, only then will the various strategies reveal their worth, the past 24 hours have provided us an opportunity to position ourselves to best advantage.”
The patchy wind has encouraged three more teams – Zhuhai, Punta del Este, and GoToBermuda – to activate Stealth Mode with the aim of hiding their tactics, speed, and potential wind from their rivals.
Punta del Este Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, said: “If well used Stealth Mode can allow a yacht to not show its cards on a specific tactical course to find wind you don’t want the other competitors to know, so they don’t follow or cover you and one can gain some strategic advantage. It also creates a little anxiety on other competitors wondering where you are.”
Seattle used Stealth Mode to its full advantage and Skipper Ben Keitch has been reveling in the challenge that is light wind sailing. He reported: “Unicef is just to our left and Zhuhai is ‘visual’ in front of us, giving us something to aim at.
“They are flying their Code 1 Spinnaker (we think, as our top sailing spy Carsten peers at them with binoculars) and we have our windseeker up. Every puff of wind must be played, and as the angle favours the windseeker, we close on Zhuhai and every knock (turning downwind) favours the Code 1 and Zhuhai pull ahead. We can play these games for hours.
“Now it’s back to looking for wind, and fighting hard for fifth place. Though with so many in Stealth Mode, it’s hard to know what the standings are.”
With the conditions forecast to remain the same and the next weather front looking slow moving, there will be lots of opportunities for position change right up to the finish line in Punta del Este.
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