Clipper Race: Preview of Race 6

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January 20, 2020) – Race 6 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race is a 4,380 nautical mile race from the Whitsundays, Australia to Sanya, China, scheduled to start tomorrow after a delay due to watermaker issues on three of the boats.

The Race 6 route will see the teams complete the first Le Mans start of the current edition, cross the equator for a second time and navigate the varied conditions through the Solomon Sea, into the Pacific Ocean and towards the first Chinese stopover.

Currently, the fleet is making its way to the east side of the Great Barrier Reef to commence racing. The Le Mans start will set the fleet heading north and as the temperatures begin to soar and crew reach the equator, the breeze may drop. High levels of concentration will be needed as every tweak will affect the boat speed and a team with solid light wind sailing skills will use this to its advantage.

As teams cross the equator they will see the return of King Neptune and his court where pollywogs will soon become trusty shellback. And the fleet’s return into the northern hemisphere is likely to bring some spectacular and dynamic lightning storms. The crews will be busy navigating their way through the passing squalls, which can offer some much-needed relief from the heat.

The scoring gate will once again feature as the first opportunity to gain crucial bonus points for the first three teams to reach it. Set off the most direct Rhumb Line route, the gate is between SG6 West at position 02°00N, 149°30E and SG6 East at position 02°00N, 150°00E.

Then, the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint will follow, positioned off the north-eastern coast of the Philippines, between the lines of longitude 130°E and 125°E. The first three teams with the shortest elapsed time between the two designated positions will receive three, two and one bonus point respectively.

Teams will again be able to employ Stealth Mode once during Race 6. Stealth Mode will hide them from the rest of the fleet and is usually when tactically decisions are made. While the boat in Stealth Mode will be hidden from the rest of the fleet and the public, the Clipper Race Office will know the position and still be in constant contact with those on board.

Continuing north, the wind will start to build, and the teams will be looking to pull away as the fleet enters the North East Monsoon. The final rush will be rewarded as they finish at Sanya.

It has been confirmed that Clipper 2017-18 Race winning Skipper, Wendy Tuck will take over as interim Clipper Race Skipper of Zhuhai, to lead the team from the Whitsundays to Sanya. Tuck, from Sydney, Australia, has over 170,000 nautical miles in her log book, and became the first woman to win a round the world yacht race when she lifted the Clipper Race trophy in August 2018. This follows the departure of Skipper Nick Leggatt, who is leaving the role in Airlie Beach. A permanent replacement will be announced at a later date.

As Zhuhai Skipper, Wendy will be leading the team from the Whitsundays, Australia to Sanya, China (Race 6), Sanya to Subic Bay, Philippines (Race 7), Subic Bay to Zhuhai, China (Race 8) and Zhuhai to Qingdao, China (Race 9).

Race 6 is expected to take around 26 days with the fleet estimated to arrive into Sanya between February 10-15, 2020.

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, sailingscuttlebutt

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