Clipper Race: One more shellacking
Published on October 13th, 2019
(October 13, 2019; Race 2, Day 28) – Following the finish two days ago of winner Qingdao and runner-up Visit Sanya, China, the second race of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race continues with huge squalls delivering powerful wind, driving rain, hail, thunderstorms, and a spectacular lightning show.
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam looks set to take third place and claim its first podium position with just 14 nautical miles to go to the finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Boat speed, however, remains low in the aftermath of squalls as the team averages just 3.5 knots.
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper Josh Stickland reports: “It has truly been a very difficult day. I think the crew have done more sail changes in the last 24 hours than they have done in the last 24 days.
“Depending on which forecast you look at, we may be in by breakfast. Or if you believe another forecast, we will be stuck in a wind hole floating around looking over our shoulders.”
Dare To Lead, currently in fourth place, has been chasing down the stern of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam since the end of the Doldrums Corridor some two weeks ago. With less than 15nm separating his team from third, Skipper Guy Waites said: “It started straight away at 0600 UTC; six sail changes in two hours and that was only the beginning of the avalanche of thunderstorms, wind shifts and other funny weather effects we encountered throughout the day.
“All that under torrential rain, lightning, the sky was literally sparking around us, AWESOME! The crew has decided to push harder on the last 24 hours, with Zhuhai closing in and us closing in on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.”
Mid-table positions are still all to play for with a mere 20nm separating fifth to eighth, but the main focus for all yesterday was to navigate the tumultuous squalls.
Ian Wiggins, Unicef, explains: “Squalls galore!! Clouds that look like they descended from MOUNT DOOM arrived in the afternoon. At first they looked like any normal thundery rain clouds. But, these clouds suddenly reared up like monsters above us. The clouds turned night to day and laughed at our feeble attempts to outrun them. The low, thick cloud was beautiful and the lightning has been breathtaking – if not a bit scary at times.”
Every race point is precious over the eleven month circumnavigation and at the back of the pack Imagine your Korea has overtaken GoToBermuda with just 140nm of the 5,196nm race to go.
Imagine your Korea Skipper Mike Surridge describes the last 24 hours at sea: “As the miles passed and the beads of the abacus are gently slid from one side to the other counting the miles down, we were all focusing on the finishing of the race. Little did we know that we were sailing straight into a battle between Zeus and Neptune.
“With Neptune whipping the seas up and Zeus throwing the most spectacular bolts of lightning into the sea and across the skies, while the contents of olympic size swimming pools were dumped on our heads. We were quick to drop our spinnaker, the winds rose quickly and the speed of our magnificent sailing machine accelerated like a startled gazelle topping at 18 knots.
“Fortunately during our Equator crossing we gave suitable gifts, so Neptune looked after us well and cleared a safe onward passage to Punta del Este with plenty of opportunity to witness the amazing show being put on before us.”
With arrivals into Punta del Este expected to take place all day and into the early hours of tomorrow morning, 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