Clipper Race: And now there are five

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(December 9, 2019; Day 22) – Following the nail-biting finale for Race 4 podium positions, arrivals in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race continued into Fremantle overnight with GoToBermuda taking fourth place and WTC Logistics scooping fifth.

The close result was fitting for the two teams that have spent most of the 4,750 mile-long race battling it out against each other in just one of a series of mini match races playing out across the fleet. Both teams achieved personal bests on the leader board, with GoToBermuda finishing late yesterday with WTC Logistics finishing eight hours later this morning.

Meanwhile, the six remaining Clipper Race teams are concentrating their efforts to find the speediest arrival into port for the all-important remaining race points. The other long-standing tête-à-tête of Race 4 continues between Dare To Lead and Seattle.

“For now the weather is playing along with the forecast, which provides a little comfort from the impending windhole,” notes Dare To Lead with Skipper Guy Waites. “Whomever emerges first from the hole could well become the winner of our race within a race.”

This windhole is something that the Zhuhai team has been particularly affected by in its closing stages. The frustration was absolute, with Skipper Nick Leggat exclaiming: “Aargh! 215 nautical miles to go and we have been becalmed for the last 12 hours, creeping along at less than 4 knots. At least we now know how Qingdao felt at the end of Race 1!”

The challenges were of a different nature on board Unicef, as the team made a gallant effort to repair their Code 3 Spinnaker, maintenance was required as a result of weather damage. Skipper, Ian Wiggan praised his crew for their hard work: “It took fully eight hours to finish the four rows of stitches required to properly fix the repair in place. Most are now nursing muscle aches in places they never thought existed, but are justifiably proud of the monumental effort.”

It’s game on indeed and elsewhere, the battle continues between Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China. Skipper of Punta del Este, Jeronimo Santos Gonzales said: “We are continuing making good speed, extending our lead over from Visit Sanya, China and we are around half way through our crossing.”

The 11 teams set off on November 17 for the Leg 3/Race 4 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, which takes the fleet 4750nm from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The majority of the fleet is due to arrive in Cape Town between December 9 and 14.

Delayed: After starting, Unicef diverted course on November 22 to Durban for crew member Andrew Toms to disembark and receive medical treatment for a suspected appendicitis, with the team returning to the race on November 27.

Collision: Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China were in Cape Town for repair after an incident at the start of Race 4 resulted in significant damage. Their race finally got underway on November 28, with a review of the facts finding Sanya, China to be at fault after a clear breach of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) 10 ‘On Opposite Tacks’. Details.

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, sailingscuttlebutt

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