Clipper Race: Grinding to a halt
Published on November 30th, 2019
(November 30, 2019; Day 13) – Lighter winds and sunshine greeted the teams towards the front of the pack in Race 4 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race. It is time to be sprinting as the teams compete in the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint but has Mother Nature got other ideas?
Reports from the leaders show the days of high speed winds pushing the teams forward has come to an end for now. Whilst it is a welcome break for some, it’s a little too much of an extreme change when the close competition is heating up.
“It is the most beautiful day; blue skies and fluffy white clouds, the sun bathes the deck, the sea is gentle and Dare To Lead rolls gently with it. Were it not for the race it would be ideal, we are once again on the go slow, not for any lack of desire to move swiftly along,” Dare to Lead’s Skipper Guy Waites says.
Maintaining third place position, Imagine your Korea’s Skipper Dan Smith said: “We knew it was coming, but after a good run building up some decent mileage we are grinding to a halt. The guys have been saying they could not wait for it to calm down but everyone on deck would rather have 50 knots of wind than two just now.”
Meanwhile on board sixth placed WTC Logistics, Skipper Mark Burkes reports: “We are now making sedate but efficient progress pretty much directly to our next waypoint. Breeze is forecast to drop (which has largely already happened) and then we hope to catch the northern sector of a new low passing north to south in front of us over the next 36 hours.”
It’s squall watch for Unicef which is in an area of more mixed conditions. Skipper, Ian Wiggin,explains: “The wind gradually built yesterday as expected. We reduced sail throughout the day which allowed us to keep sailing close to the wind. After a fast night of power-reaching in calm seas, the wind is now going more northerly which means that we will be able to sail a little more directly towards Australia. It is great to be clear of the coast and to be making better mileage now.”
Looking ahead, he said: “We are expecting heavy squalls later today as a front passes over us. We must try and maintain a 10 knot average speed in a south-easterly direction over the next few days to avoid being swallowed by a large, slow moving area of light wind.”
Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China are getting back used to both racing and routine after their extended period ashore. Having now overtaken Visit Sanya, Skipper of Punta del Este, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez says: “After three weeks on land, it is getting harder to get accustomed to the watch system routine. Waking up in the middle of the night to be on deck sailing for 4 hours is not the most natural thing to do.”
Visit Sanya,China’s Skipper Seumas Kellock reports: “After the Le Mans start yesterday, we made great progress under our Code 2 Spinnaker pushing down the western edge of the Agulhas bank which is famed for its rough sea state, so we stayed well clear. Just as evening approached, the wind became a wee bit too much for our Code 2 and in the interest of saving our kit we changed from the Code 2 to the Code 3. For the first kite drop with a new team, it went amazingly well.”
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.
Delayed: After starting, Unicef diverted course on November 22 to Durban for crew member Andrew Toms to disembark and receive medical treatment for a suspected appendicitis, with the team returning to the race on November 27.
Collision: Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China were in Cape Town for repair after an incident at the start of Race 4 resulted in significant damage. Their race finally got underway on November 28, with a review of the facts finding Sanya, China to be at fault after a clear breach of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) 10 ‘On Opposite Tacks’. Details.
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