Clipper Race: Onward to Cape Town
Published on October 23rd, 2019
Punta del Este, Uruguay (October 23, 2019) – The 11 teams set off today for the second leg of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, referred to as Race 3: Spinlock South Atlantic Showdown, which takes the fleet 3555nm to Cape Town, South Africa.
The start at 1800 UTC saw Unicef as the first across the start line, followed closely by Race 2 winners, Qingdao and then Zhuhai. Qingdao resumed a leading position, crossing the first mark ahead of the pack. The team continued in the lead for all five marks until they were out of sight, whilst Visit Sanya, China and Unicef were the second and third teams to finish the course.
The overall standings has Qingdao at the top of the leaderboard with 36 points followed by Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China both with 23 points. The course is a fast, short race (approximately 17 days) and could see a very close finish as the fleet tackle trade winds, unpredictable weather, and great swells before arriving into Cape Town with the incredible backdrop of Table Mountain.
Upon leaving South America, teams will encounter the trade winds and rolling swells as they head towards the Southern Ocean with Spinnakers flying. Big tactical decisions await. Heading south before turning east will be the longer route but might offer consistent wind conditions. Heading east shaves off hundreds of miles, but could leave the yachts too close to the windless centre of the St Helena High (South Atlantic High).
On top of routing decisions, the usual opportunities for teams to claim bonus points will feature once again; the Scoring Gate and Dell Rugged Latitude Ocean Sprint. The Scoring Gate between 37°S 030°W and 38°30’S 030°W will pose an early question sitting north of the rhumb line, if not already split, the decision to go for it or not with certainly divide the fleet.
The Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint will come in the second half of the race and shall be between the lines of longitude 005°W and 002°E. The winners will be the three fastest teams between these two lines of longitude, with only a second separating third and fourth in Race 2 it will be an interesting one to watch.
Throughout this leg crew can expect to be surfing once again, in previous editions teams have reported speeds of more than 30 knots so with the long rolling swells there is every opportunity for team speed records to be broken.
In the final stages the mighty Table Mountain will be visible for quite some distance away, but the race will not be over yet. The wind shadow of Table Mountain offers one last hurdle in a race that is known to be closely fought right until the end. South African Skippers, David ‘Wavy’ Immelman and Nick Leggatt are keen to be first home.
Nick Leggatt, Zhuhai Skipper said: “I am very excited about sailing into my home port, particularly as the reception will be great getting there ahead of Wavy! It’s definitely a race between us and we’ll be watching each other closely. We’ve spent many years sailing against each other, so yes, we’re friends but… it’s a race.”
The fleet is due to arrive in Cape Town between November 7 and 11.
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