Clipper Race: These are the days
Published on January 30th, 2020
(January 30, 2020; Day 11) – After a day which saw a total shake up in the current overall race standings, the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race teams are striving to assert themselves in Race 6 by making the most of the changing weather conditions.
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam seem well established race leaders and boast a 57 nautical mile advantage over it’s nearest rival WTC Logistics. However, the lead hasn’t come without its challenges and the team has had to fight for every advantage in this race.
“Well, we’ve been stuck in a wind hole for the last 3 hours, but we had a ruddy good sprint up to then, so well done to the crew, they were at the top of their game, pushing each other on,” notes leading Skipper Josh Stickland.
The quest for third place is being held by Visit Sanya, China who appear to be edging away from the rest of the competition. Despite still being in close quarters with Imagine your Korea, Unicef and Zhuhai, Skipper Seumas Kellock spoke of the challenge being set by the continual changes in the weather:
“As the wind shifted north from west and started to increase, we got our Staysail up and our Code 1 down, luckily without any damage to the sail. At this point we were also only a few hundred metres from Imagine your Korea and crossing paths as we each changed sails to compensate for this squall. Now that we were under full main and Staysail the rain came, in the night with the wind and rain the crew set up the cockpit for a reef, true to form just as we were ready to reef the wind dropped enough to hold the full main.”
Very little separates fourth and ninth place, expect another day of changes as each team tries to maximize every possible advantage they can from the conditions they’re given. Seattle Skipper, David Hartshorn explains the highs and lows of sailing against the competition:
“We managed to get some breeze, but the wind angle was such that we were being pushed much further north, another slight kick. But, you must play what’s in front of you. The wind picked up and our speed increased and we made the most of what we had, sailing the apparent wind angle, as the wind slowly backed.”
The 2019-20 edition is fast approaching the half-way point as WTC Logistics Skipper Rich Gould reflects on the experience at sea:
“Driving from the low side, the boat fully powered up, cutting through a flat sea under a blanket of what felt like a trillion stars, the temperature was perfect, the sound of Black Betty cutting through the water was all that accompanied me.
“As I soaked in all that surrounded me I pondered on how, once again, I’m back in charge of a team, and a boat making its way around the entire planet in the Clipper Race. Looking up at the sky, enjoying the moment for what it was, magical, how lucky am I, to be able to have this experience?”
Motoring: In case of light winds and slow progress within the defined Doldrums Corridor, teams had the option to use their motor for prescribed amount of time and distance (details here).
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