Clipper Race: In the holiday spirit

Published on December 25th, 2019

(December 25, 2019; Day 3) – The 11 teams in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race are celebrating Christmas at sea as they work their way to the southern tip of Australia.

Each team has been celebrating in their own way, with Zhuhai Skipper Nick Leggatt saying: “Aboard Zhuhai we have celebrated the day with a fantastic buffet meal, complete with mince pies and eggnog (alcohol free!), as well as sliced turkey and many of the other trimmings that one would expect!

“For all of the northern hemisphere crew members (which is most of the team), it has been quite unusual to spend Christmas basking in the sun on a calm and windless ocean, but nobody is complaining (except about the lack of wind!)”

On board GoToBermuda, the yacht is festooned, with Skipper David ‘Wavy’ Immelman reporting: “Well, we might not have a Christmas tree on board, but Heather and her team have done a job below deck and made the entire boat into a Christmas tree. Tinsel, hanging things, shiny things everywhere.

“The beanies have been traded in for Santa and elf hats and the crew are in a festive mood. The food has started with Christmas flavoured scruffians, which Callum made before his watch and the lunch has been defrosting ready for the oven!”

The Unicef team is very happy to be back racing, after departing 48hrs behind the first eight with Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China. Skipper Ian Wiggin said: “It is great to back out racing! Not quite ’round the island’ this time but we will be sailing around a pretty good chunk of this island they call Australia.

“What a great way to be spending Christmas. Out here loving life, in good company, and with perfect conditions. I could not wish for anything better.”

Reports Seumas Kellock, Skipper of Visit Sanya, China: “It’s Christmas Day although it doesn’t feel very Christmassy down here, we have a Christmas tree with a koala climbing on it, some decorations under the boom, the temperature must be over 20 degrees celsius and some albatrosses are flying around us.”

Imagine your Korea skipper Rob Graham signed off with an important message: “Finally, a request that those of you reading this in safety and comfort remember that Unicef helps thousands who aren’t so fortunate. The Clipper Race Charity Partner does amazing work around the world, and is collecting donations via Justgiving, which can be linked to each boats total raised.”


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Eight of the 11 teams set off on December 22 for the Leg 4/Race 5 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, which takes the fleet 3415nm from Fremantle, Australia to The Whitsundays, Australia. The absence of three teams was due to their delay in Leg 3/Race 4 (see below) with issues requiring them to return to port, finally finishing between December 19 and 20. The three remaining teams will begin Leg 4/Race 5 on December 24. The eleven teams are expected to arrive at the Whitsundays between January 9 and 12.

Delayed: After starting Leg 3/Race 4 from Cape Town, South Africa on November 17, 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. They finished in Fremantle, Australia on December 20 (12:24 UTC).

Collision: Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China were in Cape Town, South Africa for repair after an incident at the start of Race 4 on November 17 resulted in significant damage. Their race finally got underway on November 28, finishing in Fremantle, Australia on December 19 (07:50 UTC) and December 20 (03:11 UTC), respectively. A review of the facts found 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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