Clipper Race: A tough 24 hours

Published on January 7th, 2020

(January 7, 2020; Day 16) – With just over three days to go until the first boats of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race are expected to cross the finish line of Race 5, it’s currently anyone’s guess which team tactics will pay off.

Just days ago, it seemed like the yachts heading inland, would be fastest to zoom up Australia’s east coast, but overnight, the teams furthest offshore seem to be picking up better wind conditions.

Says David Immelman, Skipper of GoToBermuda, who is currently second place in the standings: “So, we have started our sail north, behind Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, keeping a sharp eye on what the guys inshore are up to as well as the guys shooting up from behind, so an interesting last few hundred miles to the race.”

Qingdao has had a tough 24 hours, seeing the gains they’d made slip away. Says its Skipper, Chris Brooks: “Since I woke, it’s not been good news. Our eastward path was blocked by a wind hole. The boat 30 miles south, GoToBermuda, managed to head east with no detrimental effect. It’s not cricket but it’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Keep a close eye on the playing field as there’s everything to play for before the fleet begins to arrive into The Whitsundays beginning Friday, January 10.

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


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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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