Clipper Race: Chase and be chased

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(December 1, 2019; Day 14) – After two weeks at sea Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has retaken the lead from close rival Qingdao in Race 4 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race. Eighteen nautical mile separates the two leaders who are currently also competing for the bonus points on offer in the Dell Rugged Ocean Sprint.

Rhiannon Massey, AQP on board Qingdao said: “We are pushing hard to go as fast as possible, but the wind isn’t really in the best direction. It’s a bit too far forward to make it a particularly fast run across, but we are still trucking along pretty well and making good progress towards Fremantle, nevertheless.”

Looking ahead to the next 24 hours Simon Rowell, Clipper Race Meteorologist and weather guru reported: “The westerly squadron should have a reasonably benign day, possibly a bit too benign for Unicef as the high starts to catch up – the light patch shouldn’t last long though. Out east it’s more low pressure driven.

“The westerly boats are in a gap between systems at the moment, which should fill in as the next low catches up, and the easterly ones are ahead of a rather big secondary low. Definite head out of the boat conditions as this circulates through – the front looks quite strong.”

Keep an eye on the tracker to see whether Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam can maintain its lead, whether the incoming low pressure system could see the chasing pack close down the gap to the leaders, and monitor the progress of Unicef, Visit Sanya, China, and Punta del Este.

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.

Race details – Skipper list – Race route – Tracker – Facebook

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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