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Sanya Takes Early Lead As Clipper Race’s Fourth Leg Begins

3rd December 2017
Sanya Serenity Coast makes a break for the lead at the race start in Fremantle yesterday, Saturday 2 December Sanya Serenity Coast makes a break for the lead at the race start in Fremantle yesterday, Saturday 2 December Photo: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - After a short but welcome stopover in Fremantle, the Clipper Race fleet has enjoyed its initial 24 hours at sea in Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test.

The fleet continued to be closely bunched as it rounded Cape Leeuwin with a difference of less than 20 nautical miles separating the 11 teams.

However, Sanya Serenity Coast has stolen the early advantage once again, and skipper Wendy Tuck has added incentive to get to Sydney as quickly as possible.

“We are off racing to my home town - yippee. It was a beautiful night sailing last night, clear skies and a nearly very bright moon, and not too cold. Everyone happy on board even if it takes a few days to get back into eat, sleep, sail, laugh, repeat.”

Tuck is certainly not resting on her laurels. “We had a good start [and] it has now been a bash up wind, we have cleared the corner of Western Australia and still heading south. Some tough calls await regarding avoiding some wind holes.”

Only nine nautical miles separates the teams between second and last place, with positions expected to change regularly over the next 24 hours. is currently two-and-a-half miles PSO Logistics after leading the chasing pack this morning, but Northern Irish skipper Conall Morrison is keeping the race leader in his sights.

“After making our way around the cans and getting some gybing practice in we are close hauled on our way southwards. At present we are about 40 nautical miles south west of Cape Leeuwin and we can just about see race leader Sanya Serenity Coast,” he said this morning.

After a particularly tough and emotional Leg 3 and stopover for GREAT Britain, the team has responded remarkably well and is currently in third position.

“We had an epic start out of the blocks and around Rottnest Island. The crew all had their heads in the game, making it much easier,” said skipper Andy Burns.

“The first night’s sail under moon light, starry skies, open ocean and the view of our fellow competitors’ navigation lights was a sight to be seen and one you wouldn't quite appreciate from dry land.”

Burns also welcomed three of the reallocated Greenings crew who have now joined teams across the fleet. “[They] bring with them a wealth of knowledge and a new edge of competitiveness.”

Following close behind is Garmin in fourth and Liverpool 2018 in fifth.

In seventh position as of Sunday afternoon (3 December) Irish time, Unicef skipper Bob Beggs caught up with the close-knit pack after a difficult start, but is currently in a tough battle for position with the back half of the fleet.

“A great start for spectators yesterday although our position over the line wasn't fantastic. We are now racing in a close pack of Clipper Race yachts watching each other closely.”

Rounding the second of three famous great capes earlier today, he added: “We have all cleared Cape Leeuwin and are cracking on south awaiting a wind shift. We should then see the different strategies develop.”

It was also a difficult start for eighth-placed Visit Seattle, with skipper Nikki Henderson commenting: “The first day of the race has proven challenging. Not too sure why, but we just couldn't make our boat move very well last night and struggled to stay up with the pack. Things have improved a little this morning so hoping we can remain competitive.”

To the west of the chasing pack is Qingdao in sixth, while Nasdaq in ninth is just a hair ahead of Dare to Lead. Nasdaq skipper Rob Graham reflected on the Fremantle stopover: “The maintenance team did a great job - working flat out to get all of the issues from Leg 3 resolved, and the Clipper Race Office staff somehow managed to make the schedule work.”

Looking ahead, he added: “We still have seven other boats in sight and the other three showing on AIS. A messy, unsettled patch of wind might shake things up a bit in the next day or so, but it should be a good close race all the way.”

PSP Logistics and Dare To Lead opted for similar tactics at the start by initially heading inshore. The move certainly paid off for PSP, currently within 10nm of Sanya, while Dare To Lead remain in the thick of it.

“We went inshore last night seeking some flatter water but it definitely didn’t pay off and we are squarely at the back of the fleet,” said sipper Dale Smyth. “Anyhow a long way to go.”

With a low-pressure system moving in over the next 36 hours, positions could all change.

Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell reported earlier: “The breeze should veer and also be quite variable as the ridge moves around Cape Leeuwin. It’ll be a tactical maze for the teams, but the decent breeze to the south of it is coming in anyway, so the ridge between the south/south-east ahead of it and the south/south-west behind it shouldn’t be more than a few hours.”

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.

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


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