Clipper Race: Sprinting to the turn

Published on December 29th, 2019

(December 29, 2019; Day 7) – On the seventh day of Race 5, GoToBermuda and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam continue to lead the charge as the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race fleet begins to converge ahead of rounding the southern tip of Tasmania.

Whilst race points are a long way off being decided, the first bonus points, the scoring gate points, have been announced. Five teams went for the gate, which was positioned approximately 130nm due south of the rhumb line, but only three will add precious bonus points to their overall tallys.

Due to Race 5 being raced on elapsed time, the Scoring Gate results have also been calculated as such and the fastest to reach the gate was Punta del Este in a time of 77 hrs 49 mins and therefore takes the maximum three bonus points. Followed by Visit Sanya, China which crossed in the second fastest elapsed time of 78 hrs 54 min, taking two bonus points and crossing with the third fastest elapsed time and claiming the final bonus point was Zhuhai in 92 hrs 56 mins.

Punta del Este Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, said: “It is official, we have won the Scoring Gate after a great fight with Visit Sanya, China. We pushed the boats flying our kites in challenging conditions, Visit Sanya was ahead for most of the way and we tried to overtake, first to windward next to leeward, managing in the end to sail at a good speed the shortest distance to the gate.

“Well done Seumas and Jorge for putting such a fierce opposition. Three welcome points that help our climb to the top position, every little counts!”

Narrowly missing out on points Imagine your Korea Skipper, Rob Graham, reflects on the disappointment reporting: “We pushed hard for Scoring Gate points, but Zhuhai got there just ahead of us, and we now know that Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China have beaten our elapsed time. That’s disappointing, but there’s no shame in it: we tried our best, and congratulate those teams that managed a little better.”

With the fleet continuing to make good progress towards Tasmania Guy Waites, Skipper of Dare To Lead summarizes what is still to come: “For now it’s a straight line drag race to the turning mark south of Tasmania, the gains and losses minimal barring any unforeseen hiccups, the real opportunity lies along the east coast as we ascend the relative complexity of weather and the predominantly south flowing East Australian Current.

“But there is some hope for the climb ahead of us, back eddies spinning off the current that can reverse our fortunes for the better and help propel us north, the gains and or losses could be many?!”


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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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