Clipper Race: Life in the Corridor
Published on January 27th, 2020
(January 27, 2020; Day 8) – It was another busy day in Race 6 for the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race fleet as it continued its way through the Doldrums Corridor and across the Solomon Sea. The battle for first place remains an intriguing contest as the two front runners establish their lead while the quest for third place and mid table positions continues to be an open competition.
Each team is following its own strategy in order to improve their position in the race standings, and as it stands Zhuhai has retained its lead with Qingdao in second while newcomer Unicef has snatched third position for the first time in this race.
There is very little to separate the teams, Imagine Your Korea are enjoying a close fight with WTC Logistics. Imagine your Korea Skipper, Rob Graham says “There is a giant invisible bungee cord between us and WTC Logistics which holds firm – we gain a mile, they gain a mile, we stretch away, they reel us in.”
Clearly the proximity between the teams is reflected in the synergy as WTC Logistics Skipper Rich Gould explains: “Racing wise we have continued to trade points of a mile with Rob and his motley crew aboard the good ship Imagine your Korea; we have been in line of sight of those guys for three if not four days now.
“It’s starting to feel like there is a rather substantial length of bungee connecting our boats together, every time we start to separate we seem to end up pinging back together.”
Within the defined Doldrums Corridor, the continued decision was how best to utilize the provision which allows the teams to use their motor for prescribed amount of time and distance to in the event of light winds (details here).
Punta del Este team made the choice to start motoring with Mate Ryan Barkey commenting: “Murphy’s law almost simultaneously took effect because with a flick of my finger on the ignition to kick the donkey into gear, the breeze flickered back to life as well as you’d expect it to.
“So, our free pass of this leg’s Doldrums Corridor is now in effect and we have the next 36 hours, or 4 degrees of latitude, to motor north to aid in the navigation of this very, very, very fickle winded part of the world.”
The teams have to make an educated assumption as to which of their competitors are currently motoring, which adds an exciting element to tactics taken by each. Skipper David Hartshorn explains: “The big question is of course, at what point, if at all, do we turn the engine on so we can motor 240nm in a minimum of 36 hours? To date, albeit slowly, we have made progress but clearly other boats have started motoring in fact some will have used their allowance up by the time you read this.”
The strategic decisions taken by the teams continue to have an intriguing impact on the overall race standings.There is expectation of further twists and turns as the race for a podium finish keeps each competitor driving hard for a continued strong performance.
Delayed: Originally scheduled to begin on January 18, Leg 5/Race 6 – a 4280 nautical mile race from the Whitsundays, Australia to Sanya, China – was postponed twice, initially due to watermaker issues on three boats and then because of light winds. The 11 teams finally got underway January 22.
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