Clipper Race: Inside or outside?

Published on January 6th, 2020

(January 6, 2020; Day 15) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race finds the fleet facing tactical decisions with just around 730 nautical miles to go for the front-runners in Race 5 along Australia’s east coast.

Skipper of Imagine your Korea, currently in fifth place, Rob Graham reports: “Imagine your Korea and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam have gambled on going offshore and short-tacking northwards through a band of favorable current, whilst the other boats have gone inshore for better wind, whilst picking their way through adverse current. The next day or two will show who was right.”

On board Visit Sanya, China, Seumas Kellock likes their chances: “We are currently making fantastic speed dead north chewing up the miles between us and the front fleet. The question still plaguing my mind is, ‘Do we head out east and get favorable current but travel a greater distance or do we head in west and have a foul current but travel significantly less distance?’ Hopefully, we can see what the rest of the fleet does before we have to make the decision, allowing us some feedback from how they do.”

Zhuhai has tactically opted to go into Stealth Mode, meaning their position is hidden from the other yachts and the tracker whilst they test best position to tack.

Having lost out a little in the race to the finish, WTC Logistics Skipper, Rich Gould remarked: “After the team had pushed so hard, working our way up the leaderboard from 8th to 4th, to find ourselves sitting back in 7th is tough to swallow. With less than 1000 miles to go the opportunities to make up miles on the boats ahead of us reduces. With the previous few days being snake days, here’s to hoping the next couple are ladder days.”

It is a closely fought race, with routing decisions being made and changed as quickly as the currents change, the last few days of the racing will likely have an exciting finale.

Jeronimo Santos-Gonzalez, Skipper of Punta del Este said: “The fleet is fighting for positions on the last stretch to Airlie Beach. The course is filled with wind holes, opposite currents, wind swifts, strong gust of winds and reefs.

“Every boat is going for it, trying to get the most of the conditions and choose the best course or a less bad course to arrive first. Currents are playing a major factor, so jumping into one of then to be pro-pulsed forward or choosing another way where they don’t affect you. The next 24-48 hours are going to be decisive.”

For the estimated arrival times of the fleet, click here.

Race detailsSkipper listRace routeTrackerFacebook

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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