Clipper Race: An unnerving punch
Published on November 3rd, 2019
(November 3, 2019; Day 11) – Mother Nature is treating the 11 teams in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race to a multitude of challenging weather conditions as the fleet battles across the South Atlantic toward the Race 3 finish in Cape Town.
Skipper on board Seattle, David Hartshorn, reports: “The team really pulled together and in the howling winds, pouring rain and sometimes even hail we were able to sort out our sails and go to a more conservative sail plan and get moving again in a pretty good direction, with not too much time lost and most importantly no damage to anyone or to the sails.”
Whilst Mike Surridge, Skipper of Imagine your Korea, who are currently placed 7th on the leaderboard said: “Reaching gusts of 50 knots, it was ‘hang onto your hat’ time, and just to make sure that Neptune made us all aware who is in charge, he threw a hail of almost ice like rain at us.
“Probably not one of the most pleasant experiences at the time, but with a little embellishment, fading of minds and rose colour memory, it will make a great tale for the pub.”
It is close at the top of the leaderboard with the top three teams within 83 nautical miles between them. Currently leading the way to Cape Town is WTC Logistics and the team is not feeling complacent with its achievement. Skipper Mark Burkes said:
“The next issue is whether or not, once the wind has veered south-westerly, we will be able to stay sailing fast towards Cape Town with sufficient speed to make it in before the high pressure behind swallows us up. Apparently, we are now first in the rankings at the time of writing this blog (we’ll enjoy that whilst we can), our southerly position on the fleet and our eastgoing course is about to be damaged but looking at the fleet they too have the same challenges.”
The Skippers have their eyes glued to the changeable weather forecasts and are carefully planning their routes to avoid tricky situations whilst making tactical racing and sail change decisions. Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell has reported the low that the teams have experienced is gradually easing but still packing an unnerving punch.
As he looks forward to arriving in his home port, Capetonian Skipper Nick Leggatt on board Zhuhai reports: “This time yesterday we were barreling along in gale force conditions and driving rain, and then just as suddenly, in the day time, the wind switched off and the sun came out. We were in the eye of the gale. Ever since then it has been a frustratingly slow game of trying to creep forward while waiting for the second part of the gale to reach us.”
And he doesn’t have long to wait with less than a week until the fleet are due to arrive into Cape Town.
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