Clipper Race: On the eve of Christmas

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December 24, 2019; Day 2) – All 11 teams in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race are now on the Race 5 course as the remaining three crews departed Fremantle today at 15:00.

Their delay, due to issues in the previous race (see below), had them starting exactly 48 hours after the first eight boats departed. The first team to cross the line was Unicef, shortly followed by Punta del Este and then Visit Sanya, China.

Meanwhile for all other teams, it’s been a mixed bag of success with weather frustrations hampering progress. Most have been battling their way through wind-holes and trying to use the challenging conditions to their advantage to get ahead of the game. Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has taken the early lead, with GoToBermuda and Zhuhai hot on its heels.

“Dawn broke, with the boat gliding along at a gentle pace, not a sound but the gentle hush of the sea beneath her hull and the sea an inky black flecked with the burning gold of the rising sun,” noted Zhuhai First Mate, James Finney. “We then realized that we were in fact not racing and the gentle pace were doing had in fact come to a grinding halt! It was all hands on deck to try garner something from the becalmed situation.”

Zhuhai are not alone in their plight. WTC Logistics too has been thwarted by the weather but has also been utilizing the conditions to its advantage.

“These slightly lighter conditions are an ideal environment to learn things like engine checks, and a great opportunity for crew to get familiar with the nav station,” reports WTC Logistics Skipper Rich Gould. “The big question that remains on Christmas Eve is will Santa be bringing us a lovely present of wind from the west?! I seriously hope so.”

All teams have been celebrating Christmas Eve in their own ways, and there is much talk of Christmas trees, lights and tinsel. Josh Stickland, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper spoke jovially of its attempts to bring in some festive cheer: “I just had the idea making snowflakes (where you fold the paper four times and cut chunks out) can you imagine the mess? I have also been fore-warned, about the fake snow (sigh)…”

The Clipper Race teams will spend their Christmas Day aboard their 70s with their crew, and will make the most of the experience whilst racing against each other.

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

Eight of the 11 teams set off on December 22 for the Leg 4/Race 5 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, which takes the fleet 3415nm from Fremantle, Australia to The Whitsundays, Australia. The absence of three teams was due to their delay in Leg 3/Race 4 (see below) with issues requiring them to return to port, finally finishing between December 19 and 20. The three remaining teams will begin Leg 4/Race 5 on December 24. The eleven teams are expected to arrive at the Whitsundays between January 9 and 12.

Delayed: After starting Leg 3/Race 4 from Cape Town, South Africa on November 17, 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. They finished in Fremantle, Australia on December 20 (12:24 UTC).

Collision: Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China were in Cape Town, South Africa for repair after an incident at the start of Race 4 on November 17 resulted in significant damage. Their race finally got underway on November 28, finishing in Fremantle, Australia on December 19 (07:50 UTC) and December 20 (03:11 UTC), respectively. A review of the facts found 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

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