Clipper Race: Jekyll and Hyde weather
Published on November 27th, 2019
(November 27, 2019; Day 10) – The leading teams in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race are reaching the midway point of Leg 3, and with Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, calling the weather ‘fruity’, there were lots of individual sail battles for the skippers and crew to contend with.
“Quite tricky sailing these past 24 hours, with the wind varying from 15 knots to 50 knots in short bursts of intense squall activity, necessitating a lot of sail evolutions, and really making it awkward to find a good steady pace,” reports Nick Leggatt, Skipper of Zhuhai. “Nonetheless the team are rising to the challenge and working tirelessly, day and night.”
The squally Jekyll and Hyde weather conditions and high wind speeds have meant some teams have needed to carry out maintenance. Seattle experienced a tear in its mainsail, which needed to be repaired in 30-35 knots of wind, while Dare To Lead also had to deal with repairs.
“So here we are now, riding the storm with our boom lashed down to the traveller track, the mainsail lashed to the boom as we ride the gusts of 50 knots under Yankee 3, with surfs to 20 knots,” says Dare To Lead Skipper, Guy Waites. “The sky scuds with cloud bringing rain, sleet and hail stones, interspersed with brilliant blue skies and crisp sunshine.”
One team was definitely enjoying the surf that was whipping up around them. Currently sitting in third place on the Race 4 leaderboard, Skipper of GoToBermuda, David ‘Wavy’ Imelman, said it had “been a busy, wet and exhilarating 24 hours.”
Describing the feelings on board he said: “As the wind built, the boat speed increased and the excitement on and below deck increased. As usual cheers followed each good surf. It never gets old. A 70 foot beast flying down a wave, spray coming out the sides, the hull humming and the crew holding their breath. Helm desperately trying to prolong the surf, while also reading boat speeds. It really never gets old!”
And Skipper of Imagine your Korea, Dan Smith, celebrating a special day on board, reported in with a squall report of 70 kt gusts. He says: “With the boat screaming along at 18 knots on a trail of glowing plankton lighting up the sea, this is a good place to spend my birthday.”
Unicef is now back racing, after safely getting crew member, Andrew Toms, to shore in Durban last night. The Clipper Race office expressed its gratitude to the National Sea Rescue Institute for all its support over the past few days and also to Clipper Race crew member, Rob Stewart, who kindly arranged Unicef’s gas and food supplies so they could turn around quickly and head towards Fremantle.
Collision: Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China remain in Cape Town for repair after an incident at the start of Race 4 resulted in significant damage. After a review of the facts, Sanya, China was deemed to be at fault after a clear breach of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) 10 ‘On Opposite Tacks’. Details.
The 11 teams set off on November 17 for the Leg 3/Race 4 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, which takes the fleet 4750nm from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The majority of the fleet is due to arrive in Cape Town between December 9 and 14.
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