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Clipper Race Leaders Expected In Cape Town Ahead Of Schedule

14th October 2017
Rough and ready in the middle of the South Atlantic on deck with Garmin Rough and ready in the middle of the South Atlantic on deck with Garmin Credit: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - The first boats in the Clipper Race fleet are expected to arrive ahead of schedule in Cape Town this coming Wednesday (18 October).

After some fast and furious sailing across the South Atlantic — with Greenings notching a whopping 312 nautical miles in a 24-hour period — the first boats passed the half-way point and are now well into the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint portion of Leg 2, the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms.

Greenings is now sailing under Stealth Mode until 5pm this evening Irish time, which meant Garmin were the first team on the board to cross the western gate and begin the sprint in earnest last night (Friday 13 October).

“We are flying now on the residual swell from the prevailing winds, which can give us some nice little surfs,” said Garmin skipper Gaetan Thomas this morning.

Joker Card players Dare To Lead began their Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint shortly after Garmin, and the boat is in second place on the leaderboard.

However, it hasn’t all gone to plan so far, as Skipper Dale Smyth explains: “As we crossed the line, we had an unfortunate squall, we broached, blew the tack on the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker) and recovered it, to our horror, in tatters!

“The scale of repair was to grand for our small onboard machine in the time given before Cape Town. What a disastrous way to enter the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint!

“We limped along all night under white sails and are hoping that conditions will not be too well suited to our Code 3 from here on in.”

Unlike the Scoring Gate, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint bonus points are awarded to the three teams with the quickest times. The winners therefore will only be announced once the final team has completed the challenge. And understandably, most skippers are keeping their tactics close to their chests.

Elsewhere, there have been some big jumps up the Race 2 leaderboard overnight, with Liverpool 2018 moving from ninth to third, while Qingdao from jumped from 10th place to fifth. Visit Seattle hangs onto fourth place.

Nasdaq is in seventh position, followed by the Northern Irish-skippered and GREAT Britain. Unicef is still attempting to make ground up on the main pack following a spinnaker wrap.

At the back, PSP Logistics is continuing to race hard after being forced to turn back for repairs, with skipper Roy Taylor reporting: “By the next blog, we aim to be less than 3000 nautical miles to run, which all things considered will be a pretty big milestone for us (600 miles in eleven days).”

The bulk of the fleet is expecting to slow down over the next 24 hours as the weak ridge extending from the high behind the pack rotates over the leading teams. The fleet is still expected to have some breeze, but it will be quite fickle, and teams will need to work hard to keep any good speeds consistent.

Published in Clipper Race
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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.