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Sombre Mood Across Fleet As Clipper Race Continues Towards Australia

20th November 2017
Sombre Mood Across Fleet As Clipper Race Continues Towards Australia Photo: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - Thoughts of love and support for the family, friends and crew-mates of Simon Speirs remain at the forefront of the minds of the skippers and Clipper Race crew across the fleet today (Monday 20 November) as GREAT Britain skipper Andy Burns and his crew pay tribute to their lost team member.

Despite the very difficult circumstances, the fleet continues its journey on to Fremantle in varying conditions, with reports of everything from squalls and confused seas to blue skies and ideal downwind conditions.

Speaking from on board Nasdaq, skipper Rob Graham said: “There has been a sombre mood onboard Nasdaq as we try to come to terms with what has happened.

“For now, we have to pick ourselves up and concentrate on the task in hand: getting safely and quickly to Fremantle.”

Sanya Serenity Coast continued to lead the fleet before going into stealth mode today, as an area of high pressure ahead is bringing light winds which could threaten its progress.

Skipper Wendy Tuck explained: “I am currently scratching my head trying to figure out how to get past this big high that is coming to spoil the party.

“We know the fleet will catch up as we park up, that’s always hard, as long as we have a tiny breath of air the crew are awesome at keeping the boat moving and moving well in light breeze.”

PSP Logistics, now in first with Sanya hidden from the table, is leading the chasing pack some 200 nautical miles behind.

After completing the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, skipper Matt Mitchell reported that PSP Logistics had passed through squally conditions: “Well this is much more like it. Sun is out, kite is up and we are making great progress towards Freo.”

Visit Seattle was hot on PSP Logistics’ stern, trailing by as little as 10 nautical miles before the gap opened up to nearly 30nm over the course of the day.

That yacht also experienced varying conditions, with skipper Nikki Henderson reporting this morning: “We are now pointing directly at Fremantle after a sloppy night in a confused sea with not enough wind to power on through.

“Going fast in the right direction with blue sky above our heads always feels good.”

Qingdao and Dare To Lead remain closely knitted together, starting the day in fourth and fifth respectively (previous to Sanya entering stealth mode) before swapping places over the course of this afternoon.

After a slow night under white sails, Dare To Lead skipper Dale Smyth summarises the feelings on board and across the fleet.

“I hate typing the blog today as if our lives are back to normal, they are not. We are all still deeply saddened by the events of the last two days and continue to offer our love and support to the greater Clipper Race family and Andy in particular.”

In another show of support, Unicef (5th), led by skipper Bob Beggs, made the decision to sail towards GREAT Britain (7th).

“Overnight we could make out GREAT Britain on the AIS and had a quick chat with skipper Andy we offered any assistance they might need but they are self-sufficient and resuming racing, our thoughts are with them,” said Beggs.

“We have now gybed towards Fremantle and are now flying our spinnaker making good speed and now expect the weather to become warmer each day as we head north and approach Australia.”

On board sixth-placed Liverpool 2018, eighth-placed Garmin and ninth-placed Nasdaq, the Elliot Brown Sprint did not bring favourable conditions.

However, that looks to have changed for Northern Irish skipper Conall Morrison and his HotelPlanner.com in 10th, which finally embarked on the challenge earlier today.

“This morning the wind is in a favourable direction for the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and so she is flying again,” said Morrison. “Our midday watch change has gone well and crew are focussed on doing their best over the next 320 nautical miles.”

Looking ahead at weather conditions, Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that the next low is starting to push in and the fleet should see the wind veering and gradually increasing till tomorrow, which will be more noticeable on board HotelPlanner.com than the rest of the fleet.

There is also a front pushing in with this, so teams can expect more gusty conditions and more squalls but looking further ahead the big feature is the high sliding around Cape Leeuwin ahead of them.

Meanwhile, the Clipper Race has created a book of condolence for race participants to share messages with Simon’s loved ones. All messages will be gathered via the email address [email protected]. Please email your message with your full name, race edition and legs of the race you are participating in.

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.

 

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