Clipper Race: Keep calm and pray

Published on January 31st, 2020

(January 31, 2020; Day 12) – Another day, another wind hole during Race 6 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race as life at sea had ground to a halt for the majority of the fleet over the course of the past 24 hours. And with the light wind looking to continue for the next few days, the teams have resigned themselves to “bobbing around” as what Skipper Rich Gould of WTC Logistics has called a “painful rinse and repeat cycle of Staysail up, Staysail down.”

Dave Hartshorn, Skipper of Seattle: “A low pressure system has moved NW leaving a ‘wake’ of light airs behind it, which has prevented the trade winds coming south. That leaves two options, stay south and wait for the trades to come to us or head north to get to the trades as they come south.”

First Mate on board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Hugo Picard, much like any other ocean racer, is a self-confessed loather of light wind and describes his team as “just floating like a log of wood in the middle of nowhere. We have lost track of time. Airlie Beach seems like a distant mirage, and based on our current speed, we should reach Sanya around mid-March. So everybody just floats, our small community bobbing around.”

Four of the teams have now crossed the equator, a rite of passage for a sailor and a greatly anticipated feature of both Legs 1 and 5 in the Clipper Race. Punta del Este saw Queen Neptuna hold court in front of the Pollywogs on board (those who have not yet crossed the equator at sea).

Says its Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez: “From today, they will have something that separates them from common land lubbers and they can stand proud knowing Neptune has welcomed them. They paid with a few scoops of an undetermined mix of cooking ingredients and a drink of equally revolting ingredients. We all had some fun and celebrated an important moment for all sailors that venture the oceans.”

News surrounding other planned ceremonies to honour this occasion are still being kept under wraps by the Skippers but photos and videos are expected in the next few days.

Explains Qingdao First Mate, Rhiannon Massey: “We have a good few crew members who will be sailing across the equator for the first time. No doubt there will be some celebrations and tasks for both the first time crossers and those now already initiated crew members on board. But you will have to find out tomorrow what King Neptune brings for us.”

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.

Quarantine: Due to the coronavirus battle in China, all activities planned for the stopover in Sanya have been cancelled. Details.

Race detailsTeam listRace routeTrackerFacebook

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

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