Clipper Race: Downhill to Cape Town
Published on November 1st, 2019
(November 1, 2019; Day 9) – “Man, this isn’t a wave, it’s a ski slope.” This observation, from a crew member on board Seattle, sums up the last 24 hours hours for the majority of the fleet in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race.
The predicted low front hit the most southerly pack the most, with some of the teams experiencing up to 70 plus gusts of wind. Helming has been a white knuckle ride and boat speed records have been notching up, with squeals of exhilaration heard from the crew.
Nick Leggatt, Skipper of Zhuhai, says of the extreme conditions as the team reaches the halfway point to Cape Town: “Waves were up to seven metres high according to the forecast from the South African Met Office, and that I can certainly believe as we charged headlong down them, reaching a top speed of 27.3 knots.”
This race, from Punta del Este, Uruguay to Cape Town, South Africa, may be one of the shorter stages but it is known to be fast, furious, and offers a true experience of ocean racing as it dips into the notoriously challenging Southern Ocean.
Skipper of Visit Sanya, China, Seumas Kellock comments: “‘Now this is sailing’ is how it was described today and I couldn’t agree more, with wind whipping the tops off the waves, the sun peeking through the clouds and the squeals from the helm as the boats shoots off the top of another wave and they go for another speed record.
“This low pressure system has now passed over and the wind speed has dropped but it’s only 24 hours before the next low pressure comes hurtling in from the west and propels us east towards Cape Town. With any luck I hope we can ride this next system almost all the way to the end of this leg and make some great speed to South Africa.”
For the estimated arrival times, click here.
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