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HotelPlanner.com Rounds Out Clipper Race Arrivals In Sydney

17th December 2017
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It’s a photo finish! Race director Mark Light was unable to determine a winner between GREAT Britain and Nasdaq, so they finished joint eighth It’s a photo finish! Race director Mark Light was unable to determine a winner between GREAT Britain and Nasdaq, so they finished joint eighth Photo: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - HotelPlanner.com crossed the finish line in Sydney Harbour on Saturday 16 December at 20:24:50 local time (09:24:50 UTC/Irish time) to officially bring Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test — and the first stage of the Clipper Race’s All-Australian Leg 4 — to a close under a glorious sunset.

Skipper Conall Morrison said: “It was tough at times but fun. We had eight new crew joining our eight round the worlders so it was really nice to have a good mix and have the round-the-worlders do some coaching for the new crew.

“We didn’t really make any mistakes, we were just a wee bit slower going downwind. When it was quite windy, we avoided the windiest bit and that slowed us right down. And then we got stuck in a few wind holes after coming round Tasmania and a couple of times we could see the boats ahead but they just got wind before us.”

The team got off to a strong start to Race 4, and featured in the top three for the first few days of racing after leaving Fremantle. But on Day 7, after heading further north than planned to avoid some seriously strong winds, HotelPlanner.com slipped down the rankings to sit mid-fleet for the majority of the race.

HotelPlanner.com narrowly missed out on collecting points again in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint after setting the fourth fastest time but there was more bad news to come, with the team falling foul of the fickle winds off the east coast of Tasmania.

A few hours ahead of the last-placed team, the ‘Pink Boat’ of Liverpool 2018 crossed the line at at 17:17:00 (06:17:00 UTC) to officially take 10th place in Race 4.

The team finished strongly after a challenging race. Skipper Lance Shepherd said upon arrival into Sydney: “It’s been tough with all the wind shifts, the wind holes and everything else. We had total steering failure on both helms at one point, which was challenging but we were able to sort it out as always.

“That set us back a little bit but we quickened the pace towards the end. I couldn’t really believe it until I saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House and I thought ‘Wow, we’re nearly there!’”

Unicef was the first team to arrive on a second day of boat arrivals, finishing in sixth place at 09:05:12 local time on Saturday 16 December (22:05:12 UTC on Friday 15 December).

Following its victory in Race 3 it was a steady start for Unicef out of Fremantle but the team was consistent throughout, peaking in third place on Day 3, before being caught in the grasps of the light airs after rounding the south of Tasmania.

Garmin arrived into Sydney later on in the day, and crossed the finish line at 15:28:26 local time (04:28:26 UTC) to become the seventh team to finish Race 4.

Led by Skipper Gaetan Thomas, Garmin had a strong start to the race from Fremantle, and at one stage on day three occupied the top spot of the leader board.

However, like many teams in the fleet, Garmin got caught in the frustrating light airs off the coast of Tasmania, and in doing so lost its hold on the leading pack and dropped out of contention for a podium finish.

An hour later, GREAT Britain and Nasdaq arrived neck and neck in Sydney Harbour in a finish so close it was declared a dead heat — the first ever draw in the history of the Clipper Race.

“Even down in eighth and ninth position, we’ve got to get the decision correct and I think we have done that,” said race director Mark Light.

The former Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper even set out to the finish line on a RIB to compare with press photos of the finish.

“And after not being able to split it on board the boats, I think both teams are going to be very happy,” he added.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia hosted the prize giving for Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test in the early hours Irish time of Sunday 17 December.

After a night of celebration, it will be straight back to work for the Clipper Race crews as they prepare for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which begins on St Stephen’s Day.

And all eyes will be on whether home skipper Wendy Tuck of Race 4 winners Sanya Serenity Coast will play her Joker Card to double her points on what will be here 11th outing on the ‘blue water classic’.

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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