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Cork keeping fifth place in Clipper

2nd October 2009
Cork keeping fifth place in Clipper
Retaining their fifth place, Cork are doing their utmost to stay in the top five, and it's working, it seems. Although skipper, Richie Fearon, says "We have just got some wind after a frustrating couple of nights and day of racing. The weather information I have is not the same as the conditions we are currently experiencing so it's been extremely annoying not being able to plan a route!" 



Clipper 09-10, Race 2: La Rochelle - Rio de Janeiro, Day 11

* Spirit of Australia's skipper is 'Frustrated beyond words'
* Team Finland extends their lead as the wind fills in to the east
* Jamaica Lightning Bolt moves up the fleet

A few days ago it looked like Hull & Humber and Spirit of Australia were going to easily lead the fleet through the scoring gate, picking up the extra points and showing the way for everybody else to Rio. How a few days can change things in ocean racing, and once again the region around the Canary Islands has been the undoing, or the making, of the tacticians overall race strategy.

A few days ago it looked like Hull & Humber and Spirit of Australia were going to easily lead the fleet through the scoring gate, picking up the extra points and showing the way for everybody else to Rio. How a few days can change things in ocean racing, and once again the region around the Canary Islands has been the undoing, or the making, of the tacticians overall race strategy.

"Frustrated beyond words." says Spirit of Australia's skipper, Brendan Hall, this morning. "The scoring gate still seems an eternity away and the rest of the fleet to the east is about to leave us for dead. The temptation of three easy points may well be our undoing on this race."

As the Australian entry makes its final run at the gate, Hull & Humber is doing the same and only time will tell which team will gain the maximum number of points.

"We have been setting ourselves up for our final run at the scoring gate for the past two days now," says Piers Dudin, skipper of the English entry, Hull & Humber. "We've just tacked, hopefully for the final time, onto our course to make the gate. All along our tactics have been to stay in the fresher breeze to the west of the course and head into the scoring gate at the last possible minute. The ridge of high pressure is still sitting right over the gate and we caught a fleeting glimpse of the Australians overnight so we know they're lining up in a similar way.

Meanwhile on the east side of the course, several of the teams have decided to avoid the gate altogether, choosing instead to chase the wind with a focus on taking first place into Rio and gaining the maximum ten points. First to pick up the stronger winds off the North African coast was Team Finland who has now extended their lead to 80 nautical miles.

Skipper of the Finnish entry, Eero Lehtinen says, "We are rather pleased to have found some steady pressure although, as you know, we still have to negotiate the frustrating Doldrums. If one reads any strategy or tactical guides on how to position oneself when planning the approach to the Doldrums, west is gold. But when the wind is in the east and the confused air mass in the west, things get a bit more complicated. We are trying to consolidate our position in front by heading further west, but the temptation to dive further south while making faster progress towards Cabo Frio is huge."

Irish entry, Cork, has also kept further east and, although more than 100 nautical miles behind Team Finland, they too are beginning to enjoy the conditions as the wind fills in. "We had a plan when we left La Rochelle to go through the scoring if it was feasible and the wind was right," explains skipper Richie Fearon. "But the conditions aren't right and we're not taking it into too much consideration. After a couple of frustrating days with zero wind, we are now running down the African coast with ever increasing pressure and it is good to be making progress to Rio again!

Likewise Cape Breton Island is also enjoying the increased pressure in their sails, after sitting in a wind hole in the Canaries.

"Well we have eventually found some wind and are now sailing with a nice angle under the lightweight kite," says Jan Ridd, skipper of the Canadian entry. "I fear we have let Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Jamaica Lightning Bolt get ahead of us, so it now comes down to a drag race, which I must admit the Cape Breton Island crew are very good at. They definitely have the bit between their teeth and we are already closing the gap on the stern light that is ahead of us. There are many twists and turns in this sport and there is a very long way to go. The fat lady is still firmly in her dressing room!" he adds.

Before this race started you would have got some very good odds if you had put some money down on any of the teams having to go east of the Canary Islands. However, this is exactly what Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Jamaica Lightning Bolt have enabling them to also latch onto the building trade winds which are currently pushing the leaders towards

The Caribbean entry's skipper, Pete Stirling, says, "After two days of struggling to keep the boat moving we are finally free of the enormous wind hole surrounding the Canary Islands. The 'Lightning Bolt' is now poised in a very good position amongst the fleet and, as yet, we have not incurred any damage to the boat. By the end of play yesterday we had managed to jump a couple of places and get ahead of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Cape Breton Island, putting us in 7th place. Uniquely Singapore and Qingdao are now firmly in our sights and we hope to have moved up to 5th place ahead of them in the next 24 hours. Given that the boats at the eastern end of the fleet now have the best wind direction and speed this is entirely achievable. So the crew have been charged with their task for the day of taking two more places, at least! The wind is building, boat speed is increasing and spirits, as always, are high."

Positions at 0600 GMT, Friday 2 October

Boat – Latitude Longitude – DTF*
Team Finland   23.17.12N  17.51.16W  3176nm
Hull & Humber   26.19.14N  21.21.11W  3260nm
Spirit of Australia  26.6.53N  19.49.36W  3280nm
Cork     24.57.22N  16.24.25W 3302nm
Qingdao    26.10.53N  17.19.25W  3342nm
Uniquely Singapore  27.21.34N  17.51.51W  3392nm
Jamaica Lightning Bolt  26.20.45N  15.12.37W  3406nm
Cape Breton Island  26.23.37N  15.9.30W  3410nm
California    28.22.49N  19.1.56W
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 26.56.2N  14.54.45W  3445nm

(*DTF = Distance To Finish)

Full details of positions, updated every three hours can be found here

Published in Clipper Race Team

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About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures on the planet, also regarded as one of its toughest endurance challenges. Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

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. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.

This unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to train drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature’s toughest and most remote conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 76.

Now in its twelfth edition, the Clipper 2019-20 Race started from London, UK, on 02 September 2019.


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