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Race To Sanya Is On For Clipper Fleet

30th January 2018
The Clipper Race fleet departing the Whitsundays earlier today The Clipper Race fleet departing the Whitsundays earlier today Photo: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - The Clipper Race fleet had a Le Mans start for Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya, China, which officially got underway early this morning Tuesday 30 January at 4am Irish time/UTC (2pm local time).

After transiting the Hydrographers Passage, which allowed the fleet to cross the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef, Unicef’s Bob Beggs was appointed as the lead skipper who organised the teams into position on the start line, set the timing for the start and ran the countdown.

More about the Le Mans start can be found in the course instructions for the 2017-18 Clipper Race.

The finish order of the teams during Monday’s short race course in Pioneer Bay set the order for the start line, with winning team Visit Seattle awarded the advantage of being the windward boat.

Reporting on the start, Beggs said: “Race 7 got off to a good Le Mans start. Light winds, 6-8 knots, sunny with light cumulus clouds. Ten minutes after the start when yachts are allowed to change their sail configuration we saw a split decision, between yachts hoisting Windseekers and those hoisting Code 1 (lightweight spinnakers).

“Unicef took an initial lead for five minutes but after the first two hours of sailing, Dare to Lead is in fact in the lead with Liverpool 2018 in second place.

“This was the first start for the Leg 5 joiners and was exciting with all the yachts lined up with just three boat lengths between them on the start line. Now on our way to Sanya after completing the All-Australia Leg, it is due to get hot and humid as we approach the doldrums.”

As the teams now head north towards the Solomon Sea and then west over the top of Papua New Guinea and across the equator, temperatures are expected to soar — along with the intensity of the racing.

The race to Sanya is expected to take between 23 to 27 days, with the fleet arriving into the Sanya Serenity Marina between 21 and 25 February.

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