Clipper Race: Having an adventure

Published on February 3rd, 2020

(February 3, 2020; Day 15) – The 11 teams in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race are now decidedly on a northwest course, powered by the trades which have them on a reaching angle toward the northern tip of the Philippines. However, the tactical game has not escaped Race 6 as the skippers seek the best path through the western Pacific Ocean.

WTC Logistics has gone into Stealth Mode, as Skipper Rich Gould reports: “Today is going to be a short one as we are very much in secret squirrel mode, much to the frustration of my Dad back in the UK. I have it on good authority that he is really going cold turkey without his hourly Black Betty fix, as I imagine many others of you are too!”

Teams can opt to go into ‘Stealth Mode’ for 24 hours in the race during which their progress is hidden. Meaning they are able to trial various tactical manoeuvres and their progress is hidden from their competitors and indeed the Race Viewer.

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam emerged from Stealth Mode, and whilst it retained its pole position, it has been reduced. Skipper Josh Stickland says: “Well, we are out of stealth and have lost 50% of our lead, which is not great but it’s certainly put a metaphorical rocket up our bums.”

Only time will tell if this gamble to implement Stealth Mode at this stage of the race will pay off. Zhuhai and Dare to Lead are neck and neck, with little between the two teams. Zhuhai Skipper Wendy Tuck, remarked on the close competition: “We have had Dare to Lead (hello Guy!) in our sights for 24 hours now. Its good as it helps with motivation.”

The skipper went onto say: “I’m currently reading ‘A force of nature’ by my boss and it’s stopping me from sleeping! Every time I think we are having a tough time, such as not moving and watching everyone else move, I think of all the hassles Robin went through during his 2006-07 Velux 5 Oceans campaign.”

Clearly reading of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s racing exploits and successes is providing important motivation. Elsewhere, there is a battle between Qingdao and Imagine your Korea with the teams coming to within 500km of each other.

Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks applauded its opponent’s strategy and said: “A big shout out to Rob Graham and Sam Cooper who are less than 500m away and will be giving us a challenge no doubt for the next tens of miles, whilst we are still in sight of each other. Rob and Sam skipper and AQP of Imagine your Korea, are now choosing a slightly different course.”

Talking of courses, Unicef is yet to benefit from the trade winds but are ready and waiting. Skipper Ian Wiggan says: “On all fronts we are looking good and we are ready for what promises to be a fast few weeks of sailing. The difference between an ordeal and adventure is attitude. On Unicef we are having an adventure.”

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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