Clipper Race to cross South Atlantic
Published on October 24th, 2023
The 11 teams in the Clipper 2023-24 Round the World Yacht Race began the third race which extends 3555 nm from Punta Del Este, Uruguay to Cape Town, South Africa, with the fleet expected to arrive by November 6-10.
It was a light-wind start for the fleet with Our Isles and Oceans (skippered by Max Rivers) as the first yacht across, followed by Yacht Club Punta del Este (skippered by local Nano Antia) second over, and then Zhuhai in third.
With two teams, PSP Logistics and Dare To Lead playing their Joker in this race, it’s definitely set to be an even more intense battle for the top spots. The Joker enables teams to double the number of points scored, and can only be played once in a circumnavigation.
Yacht Club Punta del Este will be looking to hold onto the top spot on the race leaderboard. Race Skipper Nano Antia, who won the previous race into his hometown, said ahead of leaving the dock: “It’s been such a special stopover for me – I was born and raised here, so it’s truly inspiring for me. I’m very very proud of my team and all of the effort we put in as this really paid off.
“Now I’m a little sad that we are leaving, but we need to keep going. We are looking forward to the next leg. We set a high competitive mindset and we are going to try and keep this throughout the next leg. Half of the team are new, which is great as they bring a lot of fresh energy, and they all want to experience how it feels to be on the podium.”
Currently second on the leaderboard is Perseverance. Ahead of the race, Skipper Ineke Van Der Weijden said: “We are currently second, one point behind Yacht Club Punta del Este. We have seven new crew joining on board.
“Following the team on the Race Viewer has got them super excited to join the team. I think the crew is in a really good state, they are happy, they had some extra rest because we got in early, and it’s such a great port to come in to! Everyone is ready to come back on board with a really different rhythm!”
While this race typically features fast, downwind conditions in huge swells, the current forecast means that the yachts will first have to battle some tough headwinds.
“This will be a tactically challenging leg as the normal, strong downwind conditions do not look like they will materialize, certainly in the first part of this race,” noted Clipper Race Director Mark Light.
“Big decisions await, as the teams desperately search for the favored downwind conditions to be able to fly their powerful asymmetric spinnakers. However, with this thrill comes the responsibility to ensure that it is not overpowered, as a blown spinnaker can cost valuable time and race standings.
“It really is everything to play for in this race, and previous editions have seen podium places decided by just 15 minutes.”
A change in the fleet has Qingdao Race Skipper Greg Hunt unable to sail from Punta del Este to Cape Town due to a muscular lower back condition. Deputy Race Director, Dale Smyth, will be stepping in as Skipper of Qingdao for this race, supported by First Mate, Steve Westwood.
Smyth, who is from South Africa, sailed around the world as a Race Skipper on the 2017-18 edition where he completed the South Atlantic crossing from Punta del Este to Cape Town. He has also sailed from South America to Cape Town approximately eight times.
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 2023-24 Round the World Yacht Race got underway September 3 for the fleet of eleven identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. This 13th edition has 24 crew aboard each yacht, coming from 63 different nationalities (105 sailors from the USA) for the 40,000 mile circumnavigation of the world.
The course is divided into 8 legs and 14 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.
2023-24 edition will take the following route:
Race 1. Portsmouth, UK – Puerto Sherry, Spain (1200nm) – 3 Sept Race Start, arrive 9 Sept
Race 2. Puerto Sherry, Spain – Punta del Este, Uruguay (5300nm) – 15 Sept Race Start, arrive 12-16 Oct
Race 3. Punta Del Este, Uruguay – Cape Town, South Africa (3555 nm)- 22 Oct Race start, arrive 6-10 Nov
Race 4. Cape Town, South Africa – Fremantle, Australia (4750 nm) – 16 Nov Race Start, arrive 8-13 Dec
Race 5. Fremantle, Australia – Newcastle, Australia (2510nm) – Race Start 19 Dec, Arrival 1-4 Jan 2024
Race 6. Newcastle- Airlie Beach, Australia (985nm) – Race Start 10 Jan, Arrive 16-17 Jan
Race 7. Airlie Beach, Australia – Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam (4515nm) – Race Start 22 Jan, Arrive 16-21 Feb
Race 8. Ha Long Bay– Zhuhai, China (645nm) – Race Start 27 Feb, Arrive 2-3 March
Race 9. Zhuhai, China – Qingdao, China (1370nm) – Race Start 9 March- Arrive 18-19 March
Race 10. Qingdao- Seattle, USA (5580nm) – Race Start 25 March, Arrive 19-24 April
Race 11. Seattle, USA – Panama Canal (4200nm) – Race Start 2 May, Arrive Panama 27 May-1 Jun
Race 12. Panama-Washington, DC, USA (1990nm) – Race Start 5 June, Arrive 17-19 June
Race 13. Washington, DC, USA – Oban, Scotland (3340nm) – Race Start 25 June, Arrive 12-16 July
Race 14. Oban – Portsmouth, UK (815nm) – Race Start 21 July
Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race