Clipper Cup: Taking the fork in the road
Published on October 24th, 2019
(October 24, 2019; Day 1) – The third race of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race is in its opening stages and already it is clear to see two distinct routes as the 11 teams have split into two packs. While the majority are sticking to the rhumb line route and heading east straight away, the break-off pack are heading south east.
Commencing with a short inshore course, Race 3 saw Unicef cross the start fine first, followed closely by Race 2 winners, Qingdao, and then Zhuhai. Qingdao resumed its leading position, crossing the first mark ahead of the pack and continued in the lead for all five marks until it was out of sight of supporters on the Punta del Este shore. It was Visit Sanya, China and Unicef that took the second and third position at the end of the short course.
Visit Sanya, China Skipper, Seumas Kellock reported: “The wind when we slipped lines was up in the low 20s [knots] so it looked like it was going to be a good interesting start but as it drew closer to the starting gun it eased off to 18 knots or so. A good start for us and it’s always fun doing an around the cans with our fleet of ocean yachts before heading out into the open ocean. I feel it also fires the crew up ready from the leg ahead.”
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam skippered by Josh Stickland currently leads the fleet but the main pack, formed of the nine teams that opted for the most direct route, which is separated by less than 10nm.
Dare To Lead, Punta del Este and Qingdao followed the southerly routing option, whilst more miles it potentially could see the teams benefit from more consistent and favourable conditions.
As the furthest south, Dare To Lead currently sits in last place but Skipper Guy Waites said: “The fleet soon dispersed as the code sails were hoisted, each team following their weather routing, all heading for the same destination?! The South Atlantic Ocean game of chess has begun.”
The 11 teams set off on October 23 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 from Punta del Este, Uruguay to Cape Town, South Africa.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