Clipper Race: Varying weather conditions

Published on February 29th, 2020

(February 29, 2020; Day 6) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race is most definitely on as the fleet sails around the western most cluster of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands with a view to race back to Subic Bay in the Philippines. The fleet is looking at the weather conditions to ascertain the best strategy for the second half of Race 7.

Continuing to lead the fleet on day six is Qingdao which carved out a lead over second place Unicef and the chasing pack of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Visit Sanya, China, Punta del Este and Zhuhai.

After making a bold decision to take the most easterly route winners of Race 6 WTC Logistics is now bringing up the back of the fleet. Skipper Rich Gould says, “The crew are continuing to push WTC Logistics as hard as we can as we approach the north of the course, before turning south and heading back towards Subic Bay.

“The weather looks like it may be helping us out in the next day or so, with the lead boats being slowed by the prevailing conditions, hopefully causing some fleet compression, which could play in our favor, only time will tell.”

Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, Skipper of Punta del Este is also thinking about the weather and the impact this will have on his race. He says, “This kind of weather is going to send us the same upwind conditions that we had on the way up, back to the 30-35 boat degree angle.”

Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks is also in agreement explaining, “Things have been going well so far but with a change in direction of breeze and the first wind hole of the race we are yet to see the impact of the last 6hrs.

“We now approach the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint on the way South. We will face this upwind where as boats at the back of the fleet, including our competitor for the sprint WTC Logistics, will have a down wind sprint. We will take the two points it would seem. There will be a transition from the Southerly we are experiencing to the wind setting from a strong Northerly.”

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Course change: The fifth leg was to be divided into three races (6, 7, 8), with the first race to finish in Sanya, China. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, a course change was enacted and the fleet finished in Subic Bay, Philippines.

Additionally, Races 7 and 8 were combined to avoid the Race 8 finish port of Zhuhai, China. Starting on February 25, the course now takes the fleet north from the Philippines, across the Luzon Strait and around the western most cluster of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands before returning to Subic Bay for the finish. The combined race is expected to take 8-10 days.

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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