Clipper Race: Variety on the menu
Published on December 7th, 2019
(December 7, 2019; Day 20) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race fleet is facing a mixed bag of conditions as they push forwards in the marathon to Fremantle. The competition is hotting up for the front-runners, who have been stumped by windhole shaped obstacles to tackle in the final stages of the race.
Whilst Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China at the back of the fleet are riding out the low pressure system they have been in the company of for some time, reports from mid-fleet share tales of champagne sailing in the sunshine as they hope for the wind to strengthen.
Speaking of the low pressure system, Jeronimo Santos-Gonzalez, Skipper of Punta del Este reports: “It covers most of the region and we have been flying with it for a week. When this one finishes, in a couple of days, we’ll jump into another smaller low system traveling east and Fremantle here we come. Getting close to Australia means high pressure systems and light winds but I will wish for a bit of luck and maybe we’ll get to Fremantle on time.”
Making gains towards the finish line, Imagine your Korea’s skipper Dan Smith comments: “Champagne sailing to the finish today – the sun is out, the white horses are running on utterly blue water and we’re going fast towards Virtual Mark Brooks and Rottnest Island.
“Conditions like this are pretty easy on the helm, but provide plenty of fun factor too, as we surge and surf off the waves. Baby surfs only, not the screaming 20 knots plus variety that come with bigger winds and waves, but enough to hint at the high speed hum that starts in the nav station when we’re really flying.”
Mark Burkes, skipper of WTC Logistics comments: “Whilst we have made some gains, we have had a very frustrating time through the night with squall cloud after squall cloud taking us north, south, east (for a short while) and sometimes even west!”
Guy Waites, skipper of Dare To Lead reports: “The temperature continues to rise, clothing on deck is noticeably lighter, woolly hats have been exchanged for wide brimmed sun hats, hatches and portlights opened for ventilation, the deck baked dry from its salty past.”
It’s currently neck and neck between Qingdao and Joker-playing Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam. Josh Stickland, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam’s Skipper has a special day at sea and to celebrate, has said: “For now, the wind has picked up and we are sitting happily at 12.5 knots, so… any guesses what my birthday wish may be?”
Will Josh get his birthday wish or will Qingdao clinch their third race win in a row? The finish line is getting close for the front of the fleet with arrivals expected early tomorrow morning.
For the arrival ETAs in Fremantle… click here.
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