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Battle To The Finish As Hometown Skipper Leads Remaining Clipper Race Fleet Foyleside

10th July 2018
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HotelPlanner.com has a largely Irish crew for this penultimate state of the 2017-18 Clipper Race HotelPlanner.com has a largely Irish crew for this penultimate state of the 2017-18 Clipper Race Photo: Clipper Ventures

#ClipperRace - With 13 nautical miles to go as of 9am this morning (Tuesday 10 July), Conall Morrison’s HotelPlanner.com leads the five Clipper Race boats still battling to the finish of Race 12: The LegenDerry Race.

Yesterday’s arrivals were completed at 6.12pm local time when Dare to Lead finished in fifth place — some 90 minutes after Qingdao claimed fourth, and a possible leg up to an overall podium spot, in the penultimate race of the 2017-18 edition.

“The last twelve hours were very frustrating,” said Qingdai crew member Rory Rhind on arrival in Derry-Londonderry. “We had Dare To Lead 35 miles behind us and then after hitting an area of light airs in the bay they were five miles behind, so it was tight to the finish we thought they might catch us.

“Considering we were last for a fair amount of the race, we are very happy to come through and with our final position.”

Meanwhile, Race 12 is ongoing for almost half the fleet, and some impressive battles are taking place as teams strive to join the celebrations Foyleside.

PSP Logistics crossed the finish line at 8.27am this morning, finishing in sixth place — and will have its points doubled after playing its Joker Card.

Next in line is HotelPlanner.com, skippered by Derry local Conall Morrison and crewed by a number of Irish team members who will no doubt receive an emotional welcome when the team sails up the River Foyle later this afternoon.

Among those supporters will be dairy farmer Patrick Merrick, whose wife Mary Frawley has crewed HotelPlanner.com on every leg of the Clipper Race circumnavigation.

The couple haven’t been separated for long, however, as Patrick has been there to cheer Mary on at stopovers in Liverpool, Uruguay, Cape Town, Australia, Seattle and New York.

We must be getting close to the British Isles as it is grey, very grey and a bit drizzly

The tightest match race currently stands between Sanya Serenity Coast, in eighth, and Nasdaq which is just 7nm behind in ninth.

Sanya Serenity Coast skipper Wendy Tuck, currently 30nm from the finish line, explains: “In typical race finish fashion, it will be a close finish between us and Nasdaq, they are currently a couple of miles behind us, but sometimes they are faster, sometimes we are…

“We must be getting close to the British Isles as it is grey, very grey and a bit drizzly. So, this is our last ocean crossing drawing to an end.

“It’s been a different sort of race, I don’t think I have ever reached as much as this, been tough not being fast and watching boats we normally are faster than pull away from us, it’s been a bit sad, no more days out on the big blue, I really do love just being out on the ocean. Sad to think this big adventure is nearing its end.”

The most remarkable duel is playing out between the final two teams, however. Despite its diversion to Canada, the Liverpool 2018 team has managed to cut its deficit on the tenth placed GREAT Britain from over 500nm, to just 40nm this morning, though now finds its progress in the final miles halted by a dreaded wind hole.

In his blog today, Liverpool 2018 skipper Lance Shepherd explains: “Sailing wise I would title today, Man vs Wind hole!

“We are currently locked in battle with the blue dots of doom. Both of us trying to outwit each other. We gybe, wind hole counters with an immediate wind shift. We gybe back, wind hole then shifts the wind to exactly where we wanted it on the other gybe.

“This time, we stick to our course and success, the wind bends round and starts to build. It’s a will power thing and I am stubborn and tenacious, I will not let the blue dots of doom beat us!

“However, I do fear this is not the last blog of the race. We are doing our best to hurtle towards the Guinness and our friends in Derry-Londonderry. Big congrats to Nikki, Bob, GT and your teams for the podiums, well deserved.”

The GREAT Britain team has been experiencing satellite communications issues over the past few days of the race which has meant skipper David Hartshorn has been unable to send his daily blogs through. But the team has been in contact with the Race Office and all on board are safe and well.

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

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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