Clipper Race: New year needs new wind

Published on January 1st, 2020

(January 1, 2020; Day 10) – The new year for the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race has seen an edgy 24 hours for current Race 5 leaders Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and GoToBermuda. Stuck in light winds, the two teams may see their gains of the past ten days at the front of the pack soon ebb away as the rest of the fleet has its sight on catching up.

But the teams have been making the most of their close proximity to each other. Says David ‘Wavy’ Immelman, Skipper of GoToBermuda: “We had a nice time with the crew on deck and cheered Happy New Year as loud as we could across the water to Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam. We had just had a five hour dogfight with them, playing with the light airs. He made, then we made, then he made and so on. Eventually we split but it was great fun last night, playing like we were doing a Saturday afternoon race in the Solent.”

Each team celebrated the start of a new decade in different ways. Seattle wore 2020 party glasses at the helm, Punta del Este and Qingdao illuminated the dark sky with disco glow sticks and WTC Logistics heaved its kite out of the Tasman Sea.

Dare To Lead Skipper, Guy Waites is predicting a riveting few days for tracker addicts. Sitting in the middle of the pack, the team has a good vantage point to how this may all play out. He says: “The climb north has begun for the front runners. A game of snakes and ladders will begin, as we sit in the cheap seats pondering their mixed fortunes. Gain or lose, the coming days are going to be interesting for all.”

There was much talk of what awaits each team in 2020 with most discussing resolutions and looking ahead to what the rest of the Clipper 2019-20 Race has instore for them all. Punta Del Este Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, said: “We all congratulated each other, discussed our New Year’s resolutions and shared how lucky we were to be spending this New Year like no other, racing across the ocean.”


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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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