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Clipper Yacht Fleet Face 'Violent Storm'

9th March 2016
The Clipper teams battled to reduce sail plans when the storm hit The Clipper teams battled to reduce sail plans when the storm hit

It has been a tumultuous night, with the Clipper Race fleet experiencing a violent storm which delivered some of the worst conditions of the entire circumnavigation.

Gusting winds of 70 to 80 knots tested the teams’ will, with extended periods at 55 to 60 knots and a very rough, steep sea state, sending gallons of water over the cockpits, making it exceptionally hard to helm a course upwind.

The teams battled to reduce sail plans, with evolutions taking much longer than usual in the wild conditions, but Skippers praising the stoic nature of their crews in the weather, which was much worse than forecast.

Plummeting temperatures in the Yellow Sea - some 200 nautical miles from this Sailing City • Qingdao Cup Race Finish into China - also brought hail, sleet and rain to challenge the crews further.

The wind has now decreased, with speeds of around 20 to 25 knots, but rough sea states are still being reported.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire is leading the fleet again, with Garmin close behind 11 nautical miles away, and LMAX Exchange, which was first yesterday, is now in third 76 nautical miles behind the leader.

In today’s blog Ash Skett, Skipper of Garmin, said words can't describe the ‘violent and extreme’ conditions that his team sailed through last night.

“There was spray everywhere, gallons of water being thrown over the bow and the deck as the boat crashed into a huge, steep sea. If we had been cruising on almost any other type of boat, we would have been in survival mode. However, as the Clipper 70s are so robust, we were able to continue to race, albeit with a very limited sail plan,” Ash added.

Greg Miller, Skipper of Mission Performance, in fifth place, a former Soldier with vast experience of sailing different vessels in varying conditions, said it was one of his worst days at sea.

“There was Force 8-9 massive short seas and full cloud cover. Falling off of massive waves and crashing sideways into the trough beside it is not very much fun, and the tacking angle we got was absolutely shocking.

“Onwards towards Qingdao in our sturdy steed that will see us through thick and thin, the hard and the easy times. We are back to where we were this time yesterday, so I am not going to enjoy looking at the race positions today!” Greg added.

With 100 to 400 nautical miles to go until a warm Chinese welcome in Qingdao, China’s Sailing City, who will be victorious?

Due to the rough conditions, the ETAs into Qingdao have been pushed back slightly.

Published in Clipper Race
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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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