Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - It’s been a busy 24 hours in the Clipper Race onboard, according to Derry-Londonderry skipper Conall Morrison.

“As the wind has freshened significantly we are now on Yankee 3, staysail and reefs in and out of the mainsail,” said’s Sailor of the Month for Seamanship in December earlier today, Wednesday 7 March.

“The night also saw quite a bit of commercial traffic as we passed 70 miles south of Hong Kong (hello to sister Ruth, nephew Kieran and brother in-law Simon!). We have also encountered a fair few fishing vessels.

“Today the sun has poked its head out again and we find ourselves the most northerly boat of the fleet. Here’s hoping the wind backs as forecast and helps us make up a few miles to the boats ahead.” was part of the chasing pack this morning though it was slipped from seventh to ninth place as its northerly bearing puts it further away from destination Qingdao.

Elsewhere, there’s been a reshuffle at the top after the fleet spent another busy night avoiding fishing vessels and dealing with strengthening winds.

PSP Logistics regained the lead on Day 3 of the 1,700 nautical mile Race 8: The Sailing City Qingdao Cup, with Skipper Matt Mitchell enjoying the change in conditions.

“During the day and overnight last night, the wind picked up nicely giving us a little taster of things to come. At one point we were even down to three reefs!

“Our northerly route seems to be paying off, tacking just outside Hong Kong was quite interesting as it was pretty busy up there, however we've had a nice lift and are more or less making the little virtual mark that we have to leave to port, before making our way up to Taiwan.”

Sanya Serenity Coast, which in contrast to PSP Logistics has deviated south of the rhumb line, dropped from first to second place after experiencing an action packed last 24 hours.

Skipper Wendy Tuck explains: “We just used up two more of our get out of jail cards. Eagle eye young Michael Davis just noticed that the top two slides on the main sail had just come off.

“A second get out of jail card was used whilst Michael and I were up sewing and sitting on the main. We saw a fishing boat acting strangely, and before we could do anything, we saw his drift net. Somehow we managed to sail straight over the top of it and not pick it up. Huge sigh of relief by all on deck.”

GREAT Britain made the most of the arrival of the Northeast Trades to cover the most nautical miles overnight Irish time and retake third place, with Liverpool 2018 dropping to fourth.

However, Liverpool 2018 skipper Lance Shepherd is more concerned about the conditions, reporting: “It would seem at present the weather is pretty much doing as forecast if a little breezier than expected at times.

“However, we are heading as planned to waypoint ‘Howard’ then across to the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.”

The leading pack is approximately 100 nautical miles from beginning the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, which will earn the top three fastest teams up to three crucial bonus points.

Nikki Henderson, skipper of the fifth placed Visit Seattle, is feeling good about where her team is at after seeing how the crew handled the building breeze.

“We had our first taste of upwind sailing with gusts of 40 knots - not forecast - and quite a shock. It was good fun - great to have some action after quite a mundane race from the Whitsundays in Australia. Wind has now subsided and we are making good ground to the next waypoint.”

Unicef is in sixth place again today but did make some gains overnight, climbing as high as fourth place at one point. Dare To Lead is just a mile behind in seventh, while Garmin and continue their duel some 25nm behind them.

Qingdao in 10th and Nasdaq in 11th are around 100 nautical miles behind the lead boat. After a day spent battling a confused sea state, Nasdaq skipper Rob Graham comments: “We had originally planned to make a long tack north before heading east, but with more fishing boats the closer we came inshore, we felt we were losing too much hard-earned ground by having to dodge around them.

“So instead we’ve made some shorter tacks further south where there is less fishing activity and the deeper water seems slightly less lumpy.”

The upwind battle is set to continue for some time yet. While the winds are expected to ease over the next 24 hours, Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell is predicting the Northeast Trades to begin building tomorrow afternoon, local time.

As they approach the southern tip of Taiwan, the teams can expect strong gusts of between 40 knots to the low 50s, particularly if they are in the midst of a north-going current.

Published in Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - Skippers in the Clipper Race were reporting relief this morning (Tuesday 6 March) as winds and boat speeds picked up — though with the high level of fishing fleets around, teams are also on high alert in this opening stage of Race 8: The Sailing City Qingdao Cup.

Moreover, with the entire fleet headed north of the rhumb line in search of the best conditions, the key decision this morning focused on when to tack and which teams would go first.

Unicef started the day in sixth place despite being one of the most northerly positioned teams as it was one of the furthest west — but has since jumped into pole position thanks to its hard turn to starboard, a move in which it was joined by Dare to Lead.

Unicef skipper Bob Beggs reports: “The last 24 hours have been idyllic, flat seas, sunny, with just 10 knots of wind. The spinnaker run came to an end overnight as the wind started to back easterly and head the fleet. We now have perfect Yankee 1 conditions, with a gentle 25 degrees angle of heel.

“Some evasive action was taken during the night to avoid a ten-mile-long fishing net. Skipper Matt Mitchell on PSP Logistics called up on VHF radio to warn the fleet behind him (unfortunately all of us) of the danger, as the team was caught up in it. They were however able to free themselves from the net with little effect on their lead.

“Matt is no stranger to these waters, it’s his third race to Qingdao and he knows a trick or too when escaping these massive nets. Thanks for the warning Matt.”

PSP Logistics led the push north this morning but lay in fifth place. By virtue of their position further east and closest to Qingdao, Sanya Serenity Coast were second with Liverpool 2018 in third and Visit Seattle in fourth.

Skipper Matt Mitchell onboard PSP Logistics reports: “Another day goes by and it’s actually been quite pleasant with a light headwind and warm sun. The breeze is starting to pick up now though and life is definitely on the lean again!”

GREAT Britain was in sixth this morning, on the same heading as PSP Logistics, and with a more positive report from skipper Nikki Henderson: “The wind finally came — with PSP Logistics and Sanya Serenity Coast reappearing on the AIS which was a boost for the crew.

“We are now sailing upwind in a smooth sea and bright sunshine — both things that I expect won’t last for long, so we are soaking it in and enjoying the day. Liverpool 2018 are just ahead of us and sailing very well. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be able to quite keep up with them but we are definitely trying our best!”

Conall Morrison’s and Garmin were neck-and-neck in line with each other, in eighth and ninth place respectively. On Garmin, skipper Gaëtan Thomas reports today that his team are feeling frustrated in seemingly lighter winds, doing all they can to increase boat speed.

“The pirates (Garmin crew) are trimming and trying different things to see if our speed will increase but we are still going slower than all the fleet. We checked if our keel and rudders are trawling some nets which would explain our lack of speed, but it is all clear down there.

“The race is just at its beginning though so we will keep sailing and see the result later but for the moment, it's all in the same direction, same wind, same angle, so we will find out why we are so slow … hopefully!”

At the back of the fleet, a boat-to-boat transfer took place this morning, as Qingdao skipper Chris Kobusch, in tenth, explains: “This morning we finished our first fresh water tank, wanted to start the watermaker and discovered that the bleed screw on the pump was missing. Without it the water maker can’t build up the required pressure and therefore we would not be able to make any fresh water.

“Luckily Nasdaq, who had the required spare on board was close by and we deviated from our course to meet up with Rob and his team to do the transfer a few hours ago. All went well and we now have a working watermaker again. Thanks to the Nasdaq team for helping us out!”

Eleventh-placed Nasdaq skipper Rob Graham adds: “Everything went smoothly and I think both crews enjoyed the novelty of putting into practice something which we had trained for. Both boats have now resumed racing, and (in our case at least) dodging trawlers as we go. We managed to safely pick our way past an oil field overnight — the huge platforms look like a scene from Blade Runner when they are lit up at night.”

The race committee will convene to decide on the awarding of redress and an announcement will be made on this shortly. Meanwhile, the wind is forecast to build further today before easing off tomorrow, before coming in pretty strong on Thursday into Friday as the fleet approaches the south end of Taiwan.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

The final section of the Asia-Pacific Leg 5, officially known as Race 8: The Sailing City Qingdao Cup, has got underway following the inaugural Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Stopover in Sanya, China.

Sanya, which made its debut on the Clipper 2017-18 Race route, lived up to its reputation for putting on a spectacular show with a final departure ceremony for the Clipper Race fleet that included three performances, including the lion dance, and a speech from Sanya’s Deputy Mayor, Mayor Xu. She said: “Sanya’s tropical climate and clean, warm waters make it the perfect place to host large international yacht races like the Clipper Race and these events will help the popularity of sailing flourish.

“The Sanya Government has spared no efforts to ensure the Clipper Race partnership is a big success and we look forward to welcoming the Clipper Race back in the future!”

After slipping lines at Sanya Serenity Marina, the only Asian Marina to hold the Marina Industries Platinum Five Gold Anchor status, and the highest possible level of accreditation, teams geared up for the race start in a steady breeze in front of Sanya’s iconic Phoenix Island., Skippered by Irish Yachtsman Conall Morrison, who was recently named the Irish Sailor for December by, got off to a solid start to the 1,700 nautical mile race to Qingdao.

Speaking shortly before Race Start, Conall said: “I’m really looking forward to this race to Qingdao though the crew probably doesn’t enjoy upwind conditions the best, so there are a few changes we’ve made from the last race, which was largely downwind light conditions, to accommodate that.”

After completing a short inshore route, which passed the Nanshan statue, the Clipper Race fleet raced away from Sanya and will navigate the Kuroshio Current as it heads north, where the scorching heat will be replaced by freezing conditions.

ClipperRace Director Mark Light said: “The majority of Race 8 is likely to be upwind conditions, certainly as they race off the East coast of Taiwan, and there is the North flowing warm Kuroshio current as well.

“The predominant north-easterly winds combined with the Kuroshio Current heading in the opposite direction, there will be wind over tide and that can create quite heavy seas and short but sharp waves.

“As the teams head further north, the heavy weather tends to be replaced by fog and that will provide a different challenge for the fleet.”

The race to Qingdao is expected to take between ten to twelve days, with the fleet expected to arrive into the Wanda Yacht Club between the 13 and 16 of March.

This will be the seventh time the Clipper Race has included Qingdao on its global racing route, with the city the longest serving partner of the race. For the first time, Clipper Race crews will berth at the newly constructed Wanda Yacht Club, a state of the art facility in western Qingdao which demonstrates how the sailing industry continues to expand in China’s Sailing City in the ten years since hosting the Beijing Olympic Games Sailing Events.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is unique in that it is the only event on the planet which trains non-professional sailors to become ocean racers. Approximately 40 per cent of crew members have never sailed before they sign up. 40,000 nautical miles in length, the circumnavigation is divided into eight legs.

Around 200 people representing 22 different nationalities and all walks of life are taking part in the race to Qingdao, including four Irish crew on board

Since the Clipper 2017-18 Race began on August 20, 2017 in Liverpool, Roseann and her team have crossed three oceans and taken part in seven races, the highlight being a win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Clipper 70 Class, which doubled as Race 5.

Following the Qingdao Stopover, the Clipper Race fleet will depart again on March 23 for the Mighty Pacific Leg 6, a 5,600 nautical mile race across the world’s biggest and remote ocean to Seattle. From there, the teams will race on to Panama, New York, Derry-Londonderry, and Liverpool, where the Clipper 2017-18 Race will finish on July 28 2018.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

#ClipperRace - The full Clipper Race fleet is now berthed at Sanya Serenity Coast Marina following an exciting finish to Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya, in China.

All 11 teams came into port within 21 hours, led by leg winners PSP Logistics, with Dare to Lead taking second place from Qingdao after redress for its diversion earlier in the leg; home team Sanya Serenity Coast in fourth; and Unicef and Visit Seattle completing a busy night.

Liverpool 2018 kicked things off in the daylight hours, crossing the line at 10:41:22 local time (02:41:22 Irish time/UTC) on Friday 23 February.

Skipper Lance Shepherd said: “Race 7 was very technical – lots of wind holes but we enjoyed it. Crew morale was high, so it was good overall. It was a little bit frustrating watching the fleet catch us up from behind but we kept all but Nikki and her Visit Seattle team away. She played a blinder in coming round the outside.

“Sanya looks beautiful and I’m looking forward to enjoying all the activities it has to offer.”

Two hours later, Nasdaq and Garmin both rounded the peninsula at virtually the same time. Both teams had eighth place in their sights but in the end, it was Nasdaq which crossed the line first, five minutes ahead of Garmin.

Nasdaq skipper Rob Graham said: “That was great, exciting right down to the last three-and-a-half minutes or so. It was very close for the last 20 miles. We had an issue with getting our spinnaker down so we sent our hobbit (Tom Boys) up the mast and we got the kite down and we just made it over the line ahead of Garmin.

“We’re really pleased with the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint result – we did get lucky with the weather. Some of the earlier boats had very light winds. We managed to time it just right for the best winds. And shot across the sprint. We had to work really hard to make the most of the luck with the weather but we’re really pleased with the result."

Graham added: “Having my face up at Times Square for my birthday was a huge surprise – I’ll have to take a look at the photos once we’ve got the boat sorted out.”

The inshore victory capped off what has been a very solid race for Nasdaq, with the team going from 11 to eighth in the final 24 hours of racing, and it also adds four crucial bonus points to its overall total after being the quickest in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, and the third team through the Scoring Gate.

Nasdaq’s nine total race points equals its previous best haul from when the team came fourth in Race 5, from Sydney to Hobart.

Garmin also earned two bonus points in Race 7 after being second through the Scoring Gate. The bonus points were a welcome reward for the team after what was a tough race.

Arriving into port, Garmin circumnavigator Gerardo Injoque, from Peru, spoke of his thoughts on the race: “It was really good, we had great weather, really nice sailing most of the time but the heat was something really hard to cope with. In my opinion it was the hardest challenge it was really tough, even when you try to get to sleep it was so hot down there.

“We made it though, we are here, I am thrilled. My first time in China so really looking forward to it here. I thought we were just arriving to a small island a few beaches and buildings, but this is huge. The skyline is huge, and with all the boats it looks very nice. I’m really looking forward to walking around the city and seeing everything.”

Forty-eight minutes behind Garmin was, which crossed the finish line in 10th place at 14:17:46 local time (06:17:46 UTC) with novice sailor Roseann McGlincheyRoseann McGlinchey among its celebratory crew.

Skipper Conall Morrison said: “It was really tough. We didn’t have the best start but we are all here in good health and happy to here. We had a nice race there at the end with Nasdaq, Garmin and GREAT Britain so it was pretty close, pretty tight with that.

“Over the last couple of days bringing the wind with us and catching the leaders, closing in the miles, was fun. It’s nice to be here in Sanya all at the same time. It’s really cool, I love the mountains and the big city.”

Greg Glover, circumnavigator, added: “It was tough, you know it was hot but it was beautiful sailing. The weather was fantastic. It was great we had a lot of fun.

“I was really impressed by the coastline as we came up here, it was quite a rugged skyline then the high-rise buildings started popping up around the place. Sanya looks a bit like Hawaii, it feels really cool to be here.”

GREAT Britain completed the arrivals, crossing the line at 09:07:21 UTC (17:07:21 local). While the team will only collect two race points for the 11th-place finish, it will finish with a respectable four points after setting the second fastest time in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.

Next up for the Clipper Race crew will be the official Race 7 prizegiving on Monday 26 February. As well as the presentation of pennants and awards, the crew will be entertained by traditional dancers and treated to dinner on the lawns of the Sanya Serenity Coast Marina Club Garden. Weather permitting, the prizegiving will be shown on the Clipper Race Live page on Facebook.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

Before setting sail from Liverpool on August 20, 2017, Clipper 2017-18 Race round the world crew member Roseann McGlinchey’s total sailing experience only consisted of three levels of Clipper Race training. Seven months and over 20,000 nautical miles later, it’s fair to say a lot has changed.

Since the Clipper 2017-18 Race began on August 20, 2017 in Liverpool, Roseann and her team have crossed three oceans and taken part in seven races, the highlight being a win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Clipper 70 Class, which doubled as Race 5. But still the 24-year-old, who is from Lifford, Ireland, and studied in Derry-Londonderry, has trouble believing what she has already accomplished at the half way point of the race.

“It hasn’t sunk in on how far we’ve sailed!” says Roseann.

“Some days it feels like we haven’t even left Liverpool. How did I make it half way round the world from not even being able to sail before?

“At the start, I was quite nervous moving around the boat, and getting used to everything and learning where everything was and the process was quite difficult to understand. But the more we’ve done it, the more we’ve improved and my Skipper, Conall Morrison, has been great explaining and coaching us through everything. So, I feel my skills have definitely developed.”

Roseann’s skills have developed to the point that she is now one of the Watch Leaders on board, a position she has found really rewarding.

She explains: “It’s been really nice to be so young and being able to lead teams. It was something I had never done before the Clipper Race. I think we did a really good job this race teaching the new crew, helping them learn to be just as good as the round the worlders. They were all really confident by the end and could do everything that we could which was really nice to see.”

Another sign of how far Roseann has come since she first began her Clipper Race journey is her reaction to the Southerly Busters that hit the fleet in the race from Hobart to Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays. Of the 80 knot winds and electrical storms, Roseann says: “We couldn’t even see the difference from the sky and the sea, it was so pitch black after the lightning. I’d never seen anything like that before so it was really cool!”, led by Derry-Londonderry Skipper Conall Morrison, is currently expected to arrive in Sanya between 0700 and 1300 local time Friday February (2300 UTC Thursday 22 February and 0500 UTC Friday 23 February)

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

#ClipperRace - For the sixth day in a row, Qingdao maintains its lead over the rest of its competitors at the front of the Clipper Race fleet, as the leading pack turns to the west for the final 700 nautical miles to Sanya.

On Day 19 of Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race, the teams are concentrating on maintaining focus, working hard and holding their spinnakers while navigating the busy waters of the South China Sea.

On board Qingdao, skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “PSP Logistics is hot on our heels though and Sanya Serenity Coast plus Dare To Lead are closing in too. 640nm to the finish and again the racing is incredibly tight. Every little mistake can cost a position, but hopefully we can stay focused and concentrated on the home stretch and, with a little bit of luck, a podium position might be in sight. Fingers crossed!”

PSP Logistics is close behind and less than 50 nautical miles is all that separates the two teams after 19 days of racing.

Despite reporting that the team faced some interesting conditions last night, including a lumpy sea state, skipper Matt Mitchell said: “Progress is good and we are pointing in more or less the right direction. The next few days will tell though as I don't think any of the leading boats can sail directly to Sanya, meaning both gains and losses will be made on the gybe angles that we choose to take.”

Dare To Lead retains third place and a potential podium finish. Skipper Dale Smyth said: “Well a good fast night under spinnaker after the wind came through from the north east. We are currently approaching the north end of the Philippine Islands and nightfall should see us through into the China Sea and around 700 nautical miles left.

“It feels like it’s getting close now but we still need to keep concentrating and keep our focus up for the last few days.”

For Sanya Serenity Coast, currently fourth, the hope for a podium finish into its home port is still within reach. Skipper Wendy Tuck said: “We are now on that final run for the finish. We do have our work cut out for us to catch those boats in front of us, but we never give up and the team is pumped to give it their best shot. Morale is great on board, everyone is working well and the boat is sailing well.”

The steady winds from the north have meant settled conditions for the most northerly yacht, fifth-placed Unicef. Only the next few days will tell whether its positioning pays off for the downwind run to Sanya compared to that of Liverpool 2018 over 100nm to the south but only 17nm behind on the leaderboard in sixth.

The chasing pack is still in the midst of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. Visit Seattle, though leading the charge in seventh, is only just breaking free of the wind hole that hampered progress yesterday. Skipper Nikki Henderson said: “Another sprint - aka another driftathon. We have just started edging forwards after 12 hours in a hole.”

Garmin has opted to activate Stealth Mode and so is hidden its position from its competitors until 6am Irish time/UTC tomorrow morning (Monday 19 February) and means Conall Morrison’s moves into eighth on the leaderboard.

For Nasdaq at ninth and GREAT Britain at 10th, however, the later start to the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint has meant that they are experiencing better conditions than some of the fleet.

Nasdaq skipper Rob Graham said: “We’ve been having a good run across our Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint: we started last night under Code 1 (lightweight spinnaker), then the wind filled in from the north east for us and we’re trucking along under the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker).”

GREAT Britain skipper Dave Hartshorn is also pleased with his team’s progress and is holding hope to pick up some of the bonus points on offer.

“Now on an athletics track, you would not want to be last out of the blocks for a sprint, however beginning the last boat over the start line on this occasion may have its advantages,” he said. “Time will tell, as the winds look pretty consistent for the next 30 hours or so with good wind speeds and angles.”

Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that the north-easterlies are coming through now and over the next 24 hours they should veer and ease.

For the yachts still east of the Luzon Strait, they will see this affect more so than those to the west. Then as the high-pressure system that is driving the wind goes further east, it will leave less steady breeze for two to three days before the next batch fills in again.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

#ClipperRace - The two Chinese teams in the 2017-18 Clipper Race continue to lead the race to their home country on Day 15 of Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya.

Shifting winds have meant that many in the fleet have had to take down spinnakers, but the teams are continuing to maintain excellent speeds towards the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.

Qingdao maintains its position on top with some 1,465 nautical miles to go as of noon Irish time/UTC. Skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “The wind has shifted to the north and we are now sailing upwind at our preferred angle of 45 degrees heel.”

While he jokes about what living at an angle means for living conditions below deck, Kobusch adds: “At least we are still sailing into the right direction at good speeds and the on-deck sailing is great fun.”

It has felt like Groundhog Day as opposed to Valentine’s Day for second-placed Sanya Serenity Coast skipper Wendy Tuck, but less than 40nm further back in third, PSP Logistics skipper Matt Mitchell is enjoying changing weather conditions.

“Progress has been great and we are rarely below 12 knots at the moment with white sails up, sailing a slightly higher wind angle as we negotiate the next weather system making its way across the fleet,” he says.

Demonstrating how localised the conditions appear to be, fourth-placed Dare To Lead skipper Dale Smyth is feeling frustrated with his progress, commenting: “We have been caught up in a massive rain squall and it has now left us drifting in a huge windless hole while we can literally feel the competition sailing away from us.”

Further north in the leading pack, sixth-placed Unicef has progressed much better and moved up as high as fifth place earlier today, though with the wind a little far forward and strengthening, the team is proceeding under white sails without spinnakers.

Liverpool 2018, meanwhile, had slipped a position to sixth before reclaiming fifth, and had a strange encounter with a long line buoy, although it did not cause the team any problems.

Visit Seattle is currently leading the chasing pack in seventh place, 200nm behind the lead boat, but skipper Nikki Henderson reports: “Unfortunately we have just slowed right down — the trades are weakening. Doing our best to stay ahead of Garmin [in eighth] which is sailing excellently. It’s feeling less and less likely that we are going to be able to catch the guys ahead but — hey ho — it’s not so bad out here anyway.”

Another team struggling with the weakening winds is ninth-placed, with skipper Conall Morrison explaining: “Last night we got caught in a patch of light winds that does not seem to have affected the rest of the fleet and so have lost some ground. We've been through our suite of spinnakers today and have settled on the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker) for now.”

Further back in 10th place is Nasdaq, though skipper Rob Graham is pleased that his team is settling into a well-established routine.

“Just helming and trimming for small fluctuations in the wind, and sail changes according to larger changes. We have safely crossed the Mariana Trench (the world's deepest patch of water) without being gobbled up by any of the weird creatures that live down there.”

Having taken a more easterly route, GREAT Britain is in 11th position and is back on track after retrieving one of its spinnakers from underneath the boat.

Skipper David Hartshorn explains: “After some brilliant team work and some lateral thinking and a good hour and a half’s hard work, the Code 2 (mediumweight spinnaker) was back on board. It will sadly not be joining us for the rest of this race -- the damage is just a bit too much to repair while at sea.

“The best part of this whole event was the debrief, which was really positive with five different learning outcomes and, most importantly of all, the “why” of each outcome was nailed.”

While the veering east-southeast to southeast winds will decrease steadily over the next 24 hours, the good news for the fleet is that the northeast monsoon winds are expected to return around the Luzon Strait in the coming days to help push the teams towards Sanya.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

#ClipperRace - Relief is the overriding emotion among the Clipper Race fleet on Day 12 of Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race as the trade winds which continue to boost progress at the front have now also kicked in for the western-positioned teams, bringing a change of gear and mentality boost in this hot, testing race.

PSP Logistics came out of Stealth Mode overnight in the lead position, positioned furthest north in the fleet. Skipper Matt Mitchell explains: “We’ve been making great progress in secret squirrel mode, with speeds in the low teens constantly. Once the squalls were out of the way yesterday we had a brilliant run with clear sky and very stable wind. It definitely made all the light wind and waiting worthwhile!”

“Today has been another fast-paced day although we have just had a squall pass overhead that had a little over 30 knots of wind under it,” he adds. “We kept the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker) up and rode the boost that it gave us, an hour of 15 knots plus boat speed to really push us on our way! We are expecting the wind to remain as it is until we get to the Philippines so fingers crossed there will be nothing to slow us down too much.”

Qingdao, positioned in the centre of the fleet is now second, and Sanya Serenity Coast is third. Sanya skipper Wendy Tuck explains that it’s not only the trade winds progress that has brought relief over the past 24 hours.

“Yesterday after the blog was sent off, we started to get into squally land. The first one didn’t bring much, the second one bought a heap of rain, a little increase in wind but rain, glorious rain, the deck was awash with soapy suds and general splashing around, it was truly glorious. It got to the point that I was a little cold, never thought I would say that on this leg, and it was a treat.”

The best progress continues to be made by the teams in the central and eastern positions of the fleet, where boast speeds are currently averaging 11 knots. Unicef is in fourth, Dare to Lead in fifth and Liverpool 2018 in sixth.

However, the three teams that went west to get the Scoring Gate points have now finally joined in the trade winds party.

Visit Seattle in seventh leads the western trio where boat speeds have picked up to almost 9 knots, with skipper Nikki Henderson reporting: “This morning the wind finally filled in. Not from where it was forecast to (we are getting pretty used to that around here) but near enough. And it's been consistent - and it came with no rain!”

Another skipper enjoying the relief that squalls bring, Henderson adds: “Every other wind we have had for the last — what is it — four days has come with torrential downpours. They are absolute bliss. We had one yesterday afternoon just before dinner and dusk. You have no idea how fantastic it feels after baking all day in the sun, and sleeping in pools of sweat, to have 8/8 cloud cover, cool breeze and rain.

“I've got to say though, despite the wind holes and the heat we are all well aware that in a month's time when we are in Qingdao about to cross the Pacific and it's minus something degrees, we will look back at this fondly.”

Garmin skipper Gaëtan Thomas, positioned just behind Visit Seattle in the west, in ninth position, is pleased to be finally making progress.

“Since a few hours ago we are finally moving! I thought our destiny was to stay around here forever! The race isn't finished yet, so we still hoping to get some positions back, a bit of breeze definitely would help. At least we are less suffocated with a bit of air circulating inside the boat.

“I am impressed how well the team is working together in this heat, when sleeping is difficult, when losing positions can affect the morale, my pirates are still joking, still fighting, still smiling and I am proud of them.”

Conall Morrison’s is up one position in eighth place and Nasdaq is 10th, but with their first Clipper Race bonus point from the Scoring Gate. GREAT Britain, meanwhile, is currently in Stealth Mode following a 247-nautical-mile run in the past 24 hours. Skipper David Hartshorn says: “The sailing this end at the moment is GREAT. It’s been worth the wait and the long slog over the last fortnight. Code 3 (heavyweight kite) is up, still a pretty flat sea, squall activity has significantly died off in the last 24 hours.

“The Velocity Made Good (VMG) towards Sanya is at last beginning to start spinning at nearly the same rate as the boat speed. The crew are really working hard at helming and trimming, which is beginning to pay off for us. The development of the crew has been impressive, lots of support between themselves, it’s been exciting to watch their confidence and skills grow.”

With the reefs and islands north of Papua New Guinea now out of the way, teams are aiming for the next waypoint of this race, north of the Philippines, some 1,600nm ahead of the leading team, and will pass over the Mariana Trench — the deepest area of ocean on the planet, greater than the highest mountains in the Himalayas.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

#ClipperRace - It’s still tight at the top on Day 8 of Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race, with only seven nautical miles separating the lead between the top three teams Qingdao, Dare to Lead and Sanya Serenity Coast.

The latter had been in the lead for much of Day 7 in the race to its home port, but had to settle for third place as of 6pm Irish time/UTC.

Nasdaq’s decision to stay west, close to the rhumb line, payed off initially as it headed the fleet earlier today with Garmin close by, but both teams have since slipped down the table as they and Visit Seattle chose the Scoring Gate over position. The latter is at the front of that three-boat pack, with Garmin and Nasdaq behind in that order.

The Clipper Race fleet has now the equator into the Northern Hemisphere, with various King Neptune ceremonies playing out turning the novice Pollywogs into Honourable Shellbacks.

In keeping with the race, Sanya Serenity Coast opted for a Chinese theme featuring a Chinese sea dragon and Magu, a Chinese goddess.

Nasdaq, meanwhile, was looking to keep things more traditional, as skipper Rob Graham reported: “We gave King Neptune the traditional libation (Australia's finest liquid export this time) for allowing us through His realm, and invited him and his Court onboard later this evening to sit in judgement over our slimy Pollywogs for their landlubberly crimes.

"Given that most of the Clipper Race fleet are crossing today, Neptune is going to be busier than Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.”

Turning to the race, Graham went on to explain: “Nasdaq is sailing well - vying closely with Visit Seattle (hey Nikki!) and even closer with Garmin (salut GT!) in sight for the Scoring Gate, whilst most of the fleet continues on a more northerly course further to the east of us.”

Garmin has been holding its own equator crossing ceremony — featuring a ‘Neptune looking like Spiderman’ and a ‘crazy mermaid’ — and skipper Gaëtan Thomas believes it brought the team some luck with the libations quickly followed by some breeze filling in.

Visit Seattle, the first team to enter Stealth Mode this leg, emerged back in fourth place. It appears that the proximity of the other teams was making it hard for the team to conceal its position, with skipper Nikki Henderson reporting: “Somehow, we let our guard down for a second when skipper Rob from Nasdaq radioed us — despite our suits and our invisibility cloak — and we nearly gave the whole game away.”

Unicef made their decision to forego the Scoring Gate early, heading northeast before entering Stealth Mode around noon Irish time.

Skipper Bob Beggs reported earlier: “Conditions are good as we head north, however the weather forecasting tends to be very variable in accuracy in this part of the world. This enables race skippers to roll our dice to choose a route until we are far enough north to be positioned in the East and North-East trade winds.”

Liverpool 2018 also went east, and joined Unicef in Steath Mode six hours later. Skipper Lance Shepherd said: “Having shot out past Papua New Guinea like a cork out of a bottle having made the decision to go north and get into the west going trades, only time will tell if this has worked out.

"But at the moment we’re doing OK and catching up after a disastrous Doldrums Corridor.”

With those two teams going dark till tomorrow, Conall Morisson’s takes eighth position on the table a little over 40nm behind the current leader.

GREAT Britain makes up the fleet in ninth position, 100 miles behind, and sailing hard after what they called a “Wondering Wednesday” as they watched the different tactics of the teams in front play out.

Skipper David Hartshorn explains: “As we make good speed north and make gains on the boats in front, the big strategic question is: how to break through to those strong north easterly winds that will power us to Sanya.”

Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that the forecast shows the low-pressure moving off west but quite erratically, although conditions are variable, but behind it the Trade Winds should be on the way.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under

#ClipperRace - And they’re off! Much to the delight of the majority of Clipper Race skippers and their crews, the fourth day of Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya, China has brought about some long-awaited breeze which has allowed the pack to start making some good progress towards its destination.

With the wind speed and direction not mirroring the forecast, teams are currently experiencing much faster conditions than expected as they enter the Doldrums Corridor, and will now have to think more carefully about which tactics to use.

The upcoming moves are weighing heavily on Sanya Serenity Coast, which remains in first place and holds a 10-nautical-mile advantage on the fleet.

Sanya skipper Wendy Tuck explains: “The next big decision will be whether we use the Doldrums Corridor to motor four degrees and 36 hours, this means just an average of six knots or do we just keep sailing, where we may be able to sustain higher speeds, or may end up in a windhole. Will wait for the next weather before we make a decision, much head scratching will be taking place.”

Visit Seattle has worked up to second place today and, although the team is further east, it is more-or-less neck and neck distance-wise with third placed PSP Logistics, which is keeping the former team on its toes.

PSP skipper Matt Mitchell reports: “Progress is great at the moment. We lost a bit of ground earlier as I had the guys sail a slightly higher course than those around us meaning we were a little off the pace, however we seem to have sorted that out now and are holding our own.”

Garmin, in fourth place, continues to make steady progress and has been quietly working its way up the leaderboard during Race 7. Skipper Gaetan Thomas reports today that the team is working well and enjoying the faster paced ocean racing.

Having held podium spots for the first four days of racing, Dare To Lead is in fifth place today, and is expected to slip down the leaderboard over the coming hours.

Following a water maker issue on board ninth placed Liverpool 2018 which poses no immediate problems to crew, and under the guidance of Clipper Race director Mark Light, Dare to Lead is set to rendezvous with the pink boat today to hand over a fleet spare part.

Speaking from on board Dare To Lead, skipper Dale Smyth says: “We were happy to break free of the clutches of the windless zone. We are carrying a spare water maker onboard and are needing to stop and wait to give it to Liverpool 2018 as it is having a couple of issues with the current one.

“This is a pity as we are sitting high up in the fleet but our absolute first priority out here is to look after each other and race second. We will rendezvous with them at first light tomorrow and give them the replacement part.”

Nasdaq has also been working its way up the leaderboard and now holds sixth place ahead of Unicef, which slipped into seventh place. Qingdao has also struggled to keep its podium place and has dropped from second place yesterday to eighth.

The only two teams yet to join the party in the Doldrums Corridor are in 10th and GREAT Britain in 11th. 

Both teams have become separated from the main pack after getting caught in a wind hole yesterday and missing out on the stronger breeze. However, as the teams head further north through the Doldrums Corridor, they will be hoping to accelerate away into the stronger winds.

Despite this, skipper Conall Morrison reports that team morale is high and crew remain focused on the task at hand.

“Starboard Watch has done a great job going through evolutions and we now making good speed towards the southern Doldrums Corridor gate,” he says.

Looking ahead, the upcoming decision on whether to utilise the Doldrums Corridor rule will be a difficult one for teams to make but will be a tactically fascinating watch from home.

The unexpected stronger wind speeds could offer teams the advantage over a steady six knots of motor-sailing, but the fickle winds of the Solomon Sea could see some teams becalmed as competition accelerates ahead.

Published in Clipper Race
Tagged under
Page 6 of 12

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating