Clipper Race: Hammer time to Fremantle

Published on December 5th, 2019

(December 5, 2019; Day 18) – As the Race 4 leaders of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race have just a few more days remaining before the finish in Fremantle, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and Qingdao remain jostling neck and neck for that all important first position.

Skipper Chris Brooks, of Qingdao states: “You can feel the end of the race approaching and everyone is engaged in the racing. It’s great fun. We are trying to keep up with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam who are storming away! Wish us luck in the last 500 miles of the race.”

With just 0.62nm separating the leading teams, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, First Mate Hugo Picard likes having rival Qingdao in close proximity: “When I enrolled with the Clipper Race as First Mate, one of my fears was there wouldn’t be much competition, everyone crossing the finish at their own pace. So even if our boats are not as competitive as IMOCA 60s and even if we don’t push our crew as hard as on the Volvo Ocean Race, it is still pretty close racing!”

In third position, Imagine your Korea has entered Stealth Mode to keep their close competitors guessing. Skipper, Dan Smith, said: “We have now entered Stealth Mode, making our move for the finish and trying to eat up the miles between us and the leaders, while keeping a buffer between us and the boats behind. It isn’t over until you cross the line and we must make sure we are in striking distance should the boats in front make a mistake.”

For the arrival ETAs in Fremantle… click here.


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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

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