Clipper Race: At the most southerly point

Published on December 31st, 2019

(December 31, 2019; Day 9) – New Year’s Eve 2019 has proved to be a milestone event for the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race. In addition to taking a moment to reflect on the year and welcome in 2020, the leading teams have have said goodbye to the most southerly point of the entire circumnavigation after rounding Tasmania and heading north along the Australian east coast towards Airlie Beach.

Rich Gould, Skipper of WTC Logistics comments: “This is the most southerly we’ve been so far in the trip around the planet, and it will the the most southerly the crew will ever go on this journey of epic proportions. Almost as if to mark the occasion, we have a sunny afternoon, great swell and good speed again. All together, a fantastic final farewell to the Southern Ocean.”

For the leading teams heading north, this New Year’s Eve brought with it a host of firsts. Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper Josh Stickand reports: “We were met with the welcome sight of Tasmania and have been following it ever since; I must say it’s a pretty cool coastline, we also saw a few stragglers from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and heard our first VHF voice coming from ‘Tazzie’ Coastguard. We also saw GoToBermuda in the very far distance.”

Meanwhile, getting into the full swing of New Year, Imagine your Korea Skipper Rob Graham says: “We have a party planned at watch change, to coincide with a clock change: we’ve come so far east that on Fremantle time the sun now rises around 0230.

“There is always some confusion when we do this: will we get two New Year countdowns, maybe with an extra one thrown in for UTC, or will we miss out altogether? Personally I’m hoping we might just be close enough to see the Hobart fireworks display – I was there two years ago and it was a truly arresting spectacle. Happy New Year everyone, and see you in 2020!”

And David ‘Wavy’ Immelman, Skipper of GoToBermuda, adds: “Cheers with no beers!”

For the entire fleet, there has been a fair share of ‘kitemares’ as the cold front that passed through yesterday brought with it squally, unreliable conditions that will undoubtedly keep teams busy in the sail repair department.

Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks says: “In sail making support, Keith and Doeke have been so helpful to reduce the time until we can have the sail ready once more. The rest of the team have been great and it looks like it may even be ready this afternoon so we can try it out before heading upwind.”

And there’s extra celebrations on board Punta del Este as today as they mark Skipper Jeronimo’s birthday – his first in the Southern Ocean. He said: “It is also really convenient that they have put on New Year’s Eve the same day as may birthday for a double celebration. Every year I celebrate my birthday by doing an activity in the water – this year is extra special”


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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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