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Clipper Race: The sprint is on

Published on November 4th, 2019

(November 4, 2019; Day 12) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are recovering from intense weather conditions as they gear up for a chance to gain extra points in the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint towards Cape Town.

David Immelman, Skipper on board GoToBermuda, reflected on the latest conditions: “We are now 110 degrees off the wind and flying along. The boat is heeled over, but not something stupid. I keep hearing cheers on deck again as the surfing speed increases, and now a surf at 17 or 18 is just considered slow. So long may it last, especially going into the ocean sprint.”

Seventh placed team Visit Sanya, China’s Skipper, Seumas Kellock, paints a picture of the past 24 hours, saying: “The wind has come around behind us now and we’re going downwind which is much more comfortable but sailing in 60 knots of breeze, downwind, with 6 metre waves is not to be sneered at. Now try doing it at night. However the crew of the good ship Visit Sanya are always up for a challenge and we have got through the night safely and securely, even if I am a little sleep deprived.”

On board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Hugo Pickard, the AQP (Additional Qualifying Person) described what it has been like at sea: “We have been beating into increasing winds, Reef 1, 2, 3, Yankee 2, 3, Staysail only, and then the storm jib when wind settled over 50 knots. At those wind speeds, the rain doesn’t fall, it travels at a vertical angle and hits you like gravel.

“Spray from the waves crashing on the bow doesn’t soak you, it shoots you in the face and tries to take your hood off. The sea state is so sharp that you have to remain on your knees to travel any distance and you hold onto the wheel as much for steering as for not being ejected down to the low side.”

The race to Cape Town for South-African born Nick Leggatt, Skipper on Zhuhai, has been a journey home to remember, he commented: “Gosh. That was a bit windy. We sustained 64-70 knots for a while in the evening. Force 12, the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane. Something to talk about in the pub.”

Two yachts have now declared their wish to enter Stealth Mode, meaning their position is hidden for 24 hours from the other yachts and the Race Viewer so they can try out various tactical possibilities.

While the public will be left questioning the locations of Seattle and Imagine your Korea, the Race Office will be aware of their position at all times, until 1800UTC today for Seattle and 1800UTC tomorrow for Imagine your Korea, who are enjoying a good position, currently in third place on the leaderboard.

The last report from Seattle described a challenging scene, so will the decisions made whilst in Stealth Mode result in a favorable position come this evening? Skipper David Hartshorn reported: “Since dawn (approximately 0500UTC yesterday) we have been battling to keep the boat going in the light windhole that is the centre of the low pressure system, again costing us valuable time and distance towards Cape Town.”

The Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint marks the final stretch towards the end of Leg 2 and the fleet’s arrival into Cape Town. Looking forward to reaching their destination, Skipper onboard Punta del Este, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez reflected: “We have 1000 nautical miles left in this race and everybody is thinking about meeting family and friends in Cape Town, to have a rest and to recover from this exciting Leg 2. However, before the celebrations there is a lot of race to play.”

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.

Race detailsSkipper listRace routeTrackerFacebook

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

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