HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison from Derry-Londonderry has edged out fellow Clipper Round the World Yacht Race competitor PSP Logistics for fourth place in the 5,600 nautical marathon across the North Pacific Ocean.
Some 28 days after setting off from Qingdao in China, Conall and his HotelPlanner.com team crossed the finish line off the northwest coast of the USA at 09:58:46 UTC on Friday 20 April, less than 5 minutes ahead of the fifth placed PSP Logistics.
On the result, Conall said: “This Leg across the North Pacific Ocean has definitely been one of our best.
“It is hard to know where the performance comes from but our evolutions are now smoother and known by each round the world crew member and after eight months together and almost 30,000 nautical miles, we've had the confidence to try new things like peeling spinnakers and we've been close enough to other boats, especially in the beginning, to see how it pays off when all goes well.”
The race from Qingdao to Seattle, the ninth of thirteen races that makes up the Clipper Race circuit, included the toughest conditions faced so far in this eleventh edition of the biennial ocean adventure.
Following a light wind battle off the coast of Japan, which added nearly a week onto the overall time spent at sea, the eleven Clipper Race teams experienced a ‘Phenomenal Sea State’, which saw the fleet battle waves of over 14 metres and hurricane force gusts of up to 80 knots. The skill and preparedness of Conall and his fellow Skippers ensured all emerged the front unscathed, and also set up some incredible racing, with the 70-foot ocean racing yachts reaching record speeds of up to 35 knots.
On the team’s good progress in the tough conditions, Conall commented: “Before the start, we decided to put a weather and tactics group together and this has helped to make decisions when faced with options. It seems from here that the team has made a lot of good calls.”
As well as the Skipper, there are six Irish crew members on board HotelPlanner.com, including round the world crew member and Watch Leader Roseann McGlinchey, a 24-year-old Marketing Officer from Derry-Londonderry.
Despite racing across such an immense distance across the world’s biggest ocean, the final day of racing went down to the wire, with second to sixth place separated by just 8 nautical miles.
A wind hole just over the finish line made it slow going but Conall and his HotelPlanner.com team navigated the light and variable winds brilliantly to finish ahead of PSP Logistics.
The race was won by Qingdao which crossed the finish line at 22:27 UTC on Thursday 19 April. Fellow Chinese entry Sanya Serenity Coast was second, whilst Unicef took third.
The full Clipper 2017-18 Race fleet is expected to have arrived at Seattle by Monday 22 April. The fleet will be berthed at Bell Harbor Marina until the first race of the US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7 from Seattle to Panama begins on Sunday 29 April.
Seattle is the tenth out of thirteen stops on the global 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Race circuit which began in Liverpool, UK, in August 2017. The race will return to Derry-Londonderry four a fourth time in July and will once again feature in the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival, which takes place between 14 – 22 July 2018. The Clipper Race fleet will depart from Derry-Londonderry on 22 July 2018 for the final segment of the 2017-18 edition of the race, which will officially finish at Liverpool’s historic Albert Dock on Saturday 28 July 2018.