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#ClipperRace - After 25 days and almost 4,800 nautical miles of racing across the Southern Ocean, the finish positions for Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race from Cape Town to Fremantle will come down to the final few nail-biting hours.

It is the second straight day that Unicef has been in the number one position in the Clipper Race fleet. 

And while his team’s first podium finish is in sight, with the finish less than 5 nautical miles ahead at time of publishing, skipper Bob Beggs’ thoughts are fixed on his closest and somewhat surprise competitor, GREAT Britain – which has made a highly impressive leap from sixth to second in the past 24 hours. 

Currently in a drag race to the finish line in Fremantle Harbour, Unicef leads GREAT Britain by around 6nm, as Beggs says: “Well the race will come to an end for most of the fleet over the next 24hrs and its another frantic and exciting finish.

“Sadly, we leave one of our fellow journeymen Simon Speirs behind, but he won't be forgotten. His passing is etched in the memories of the whole Clipper Race family. The skipper and crew of GREAT Britain are sailing close by to us and will hopefully fulfil Simon's dream of a podium place today.”

There is no doubt that their beloved teammate Simon is the driving force behind GREAT Britain’s strong finish, with skipper Andy Burns saying: “Today is the grand finale for which we are all hoping for a bitter sweet ending to such a tragic crossing of the Southern Ocean.

“I just want to take my hat off to the crew onboard GREAT Britain for their grit, determination and drive in the face of adversity.”

Visit Seattle is currently in fourth position on the leader board after fighting PSP Logistics for the final spot on the podium. Both teams due to arrive between 8pm and 10pm local time (12pm and 2pm Irish time).

Fifth-placed Qingdao, which has played its Joker Card which will see its race points doubled, is right behind, and is expected to cross the finish line between 9pm and 11pm (1pm to 3pm Iriss time). 

Visit Seattle skipper Nikki Henderson commented earlier today: “This is so close! I think it must be about 8 miles separating us, Qingdao and PSP Logistics.

“We are pushing, pushing, pushing to hold them off but both boats are being sailed very well. We just need to make no mistakes and double, triple check everything.”

PSP Logistics skipper Matt Mitchell agrees: “It really could be anyone's race and we are working hard to keep the boat going as fast as possible. We tried a slightly different route to give us a higher wind angle on our way towards Rottnest Island and it's not working out too badly so far!”

Dare To Lead remains in sixth place, though Sanya Serenity Coast is just 7nm behind in seventh. After leading for the majority of the race before getting stuck in a wind hole just days ago, Sanya skipper Wendy Tuck says: “The only way to describe this race is as a roller coaster ride of positions and emotions.

“We are still chasing hard on Dare to Lead and we will not give up trying.”

HotelPlanner.com lost a few places in the rankings overnight after getting as close as 5 nautical miles from eighth-placed Liverpool 2018.

But with the Clipper Race Committee announcing that the Conall Morrison-skippered boat will be awarded a redress of 1 hour and 30 minutes for taking on six crew members of Greenings in Port Elizabeth, that position may improve in the final tally.

Ninth-placed Garmin is due to arrive on Sunday afternoon, and has come out of Stealth Mode early, due to the rule that teams are not permitted to go into hiding within 250 nautical miles of the finish line. It will be a close finish with Nasdaq, barely a mile behind in 10th place.

All arrivals at the Fremantle Sailing Club will be shown live on Facebook Live, subject to weather conditions.

Published in Clipper Race
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#ClipperRace - In the past 24 hours, HotelPlanner.com was the final boat to cross the finish line of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and, after all boat times were calculated, was declared the winner taking three points after racing the course in the quickest time of 26 hours and 44 minutes.

Despite being in 11th position at the back of the fleet, HotelPlanner.com skipper Conall Morrison and team have picked up three crucial bonus points already in Race 3: the Dell Latitude Rugged Race, the third leg of the 2017-18 Clipper Race.

“We are all very pleased with our result in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and need to thank our Greenings joiners who brought something extra to the table for us, re-stirring the desire and drive within the whole team,” said the Derry-Londonderry sailor.

Visit Seattle had the second quickest time, claiming two points with 27 hours and 4 minutes, and PSP Logistics picked up the final point with the third quickest time of 29 hours and 39 minutes.

Wendy Tuck, skipper of current race leader Sanya Serenity Coast, was quick to congratulate her rival Sskippers: “Well done Conall, Nikki and Matt on your Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint points. There’s not much sprinting going on right now - we have found the world famous Indian Ocean ‘keep you away from the cold wine’ Doldrums.

“We are here enjoying the sunshine and flat water. The ocean is an incredible blue but just one important ingredient missing, WIND!”

Yesterday’s race leader, PSP Logistics, is currently in Stealth Mode, with skipper Matt Mitchell explaining: “I opted to go for secret squirrel so that the guys behind won’t be able to gauge our progress, be it good or bad, meaning that they can’t sail around us or follow our route through if it’s successful.

“We had a good run yesterday although I am getting a bit concerned by Nikki and her team on Visit Seattle as they have been creeping up on us for the last day or two.”

PSP Logistics will re-emerge from its invisibility cloak at 6pm UTC this evening. Meanwhile, Visit Seattle is the latest team to go in to Stealth Mode and will be hidden from race reports till 6am UTC tomorrow.

Qingdao, which has played its Joker Card for this race, is therefore currently in second place on the Race Viewer standings, with Dare To Lead in third. But both are concerned about the impact of the wind hole that has caught the race leader.

Dare To Lead skipper Dale Smyth reports: “A night under our windseeker and a dying wind means we are getting sucked more and more towards the gaping hole of wind that is waiting to swallow the fleet. It will be interesting to see how it will affect the standings as it becomes a bit of a lottery.”

Skipper of fourth-placed Unicef, Bob Beggs, remains more optimistic having taken a more easterly route: “Code 2 (medium-weight spinnaker) is aloft, boat speed 10 knots plus, the sun is out and the sea is flat. It even looks as though we might just skirt around the wind hole without too much delay, fingers crossed…”

GREAT Britain is currently in fifth position, while further north, a close contest is taking place between Liverpool 2018 and Garmin in sixth and seventh position respectively.

All teams are keen to get to Fremantle as quickly as possible, with Garmin skipper Gaëtan Thomas praising his crew — nicknamed ‘the pirates’ — for their efforts so far, particularly after the successful medevac of Erik Hellstrom.

“I think we all want to arrive now, we experienced quite a few things on this leg, crew is tired, boat is tired … I am really honoured to sail here with my pirates.”

Teams toward the back of the fleet have been using the opportunity provided by lighter airs to get ahead of the jobs list before arriving in to Fremantle.

Skipper Rob Graham of 10-placed Nasdaq reported earlier: “After a very chilly clear night with magnificent stars and a new moon, the sun is out today, the sea is almost flat and it finally feels as if we are getting closer to Australia. This has brought the ‘arts and crafts’ activity back on deck - splicing this morning, trying to tick a few items off the jobs list before we arrive.”

Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell has good news for the teams once they get through the latest wind hole, reporting that the satellite image shows clouds streaming downwind from Cape Leeuwin — so there is wind going the right way once the teams get through it.

Published in Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - Thoughts of love and support for the family, friends and crew-mates of Simon Speirs remain at the forefront of the minds of the skippers and Clipper Race crew across the fleet today (Monday 20 November) as GREAT Britain skipper Andy Burns and his crew pay tribute to their lost team member.

Despite the very difficult circumstances, the fleet continues its journey on to Fremantle in varying conditions, with reports of everything from squalls and confused seas to blue skies and ideal downwind conditions.

Speaking from on board Nasdaq, skipper Rob Graham said: “There has been a sombre mood onboard Nasdaq as we try to come to terms with what has happened.

“For now, we have to pick ourselves up and concentrate on the task in hand: getting safely and quickly to Fremantle.”

Sanya Serenity Coast continued to lead the fleet before going into stealth mode today, as an area of high pressure ahead is bringing light winds which could threaten its progress.

Skipper Wendy Tuck explained: “I am currently scratching my head trying to figure out how to get past this big high that is coming to spoil the party.

“We know the fleet will catch up as we park up, that’s always hard, as long as we have a tiny breath of air the crew are awesome at keeping the boat moving and moving well in light breeze.”

PSP Logistics, now in first with Sanya hidden from the table, is leading the chasing pack some 200 nautical miles behind.

After completing the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, skipper Matt Mitchell reported that PSP Logistics had passed through squally conditions: “Well this is much more like it. Sun is out, kite is up and we are making great progress towards Freo.”

Visit Seattle was hot on PSP Logistics’ stern, trailing by as little as 10 nautical miles before the gap opened up to nearly 30nm over the course of the day.

That yacht also experienced varying conditions, with skipper Nikki Henderson reporting this morning: “We are now pointing directly at Fremantle after a sloppy night in a confused sea with not enough wind to power on through.

“Going fast in the right direction with blue sky above our heads always feels good.”

Qingdao and Dare To Lead remain closely knitted together, starting the day in fourth and fifth respectively (previous to Sanya entering stealth mode) before swapping places over the course of this afternoon.

After a slow night under white sails, Dare To Lead skipper Dale Smyth summarises the feelings on board and across the fleet.

“I hate typing the blog today as if our lives are back to normal, they are not. We are all still deeply saddened by the events of the last two days and continue to offer our love and support to the greater Clipper Race family and Andy in particular.”

In another show of support, Unicef (5th), led by skipper Bob Beggs, made the decision to sail towards GREAT Britain (7th).

“Overnight we could make out GREAT Britain on the AIS and had a quick chat with skipper Andy we offered any assistance they might need but they are self-sufficient and resuming racing, our thoughts are with them,” said Beggs.

“We have now gybed towards Fremantle and are now flying our spinnaker making good speed and now expect the weather to become warmer each day as we head north and approach Australia.”

On board sixth-placed Liverpool 2018, eighth-placed Garmin and ninth-placed Nasdaq, the Elliot Brown Sprint did not bring favourable conditions.

However, that looks to have changed for Northern Irish skipper Conall Morrison and his HotelPlanner.com in 10th, which finally embarked on the challenge earlier today.

“This morning the wind is in a favourable direction for the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and so she is flying again,” said Morrison. “Our midday watch change has gone well and crew are focussed on doing their best over the next 320 nautical miles.”

Looking ahead at weather conditions, Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that the next low is starting to push in and the fleet should see the wind veering and gradually increasing till tomorrow, which will be more noticeable on board HotelPlanner.com than the rest of the fleet.

There is also a front pushing in with this, so teams can expect more gusty conditions and more squalls but looking further ahead the big feature is the high sliding around Cape Leeuwin ahead of them.

Meanwhile, the Clipper Race has created a book of condolence for race participants to share messages with Simon’s loved ones. All messages will be gathered via the email address [email protected]. Please email your message with your full name, race edition and legs of the race you are participating in.

Published in Clipper Race
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#ClipperRace - Christmas has come early for the Clipper Race fleet, which is finally enjoying the downwind sailing conditions that teams have been hoping for – with the first half of the fleet already in the thick of Race 3’s Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.

There has been no change to the top of the leaderboard with Sanya Serenity Coast remaining in first place, almost at the end of the sprint and more than 60 nautical miles ahead of PSP Logistics.

“We started the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint last night, so have our spikes on and we are off,” said Sanya skipper Wendy Tuck.

“This morning has been a bit busy – we decided to go for a hoist of the Code 3 [heavyweight spinnaker] … All went well, until about one hour later the breeze built up again and what with chippy choppy sea was time to get it down.”

Conditions are turning in her favour, however. “Now it’s getting packed as it looks like we will be able to hold it now as the breeze has changed direction and eased. So, it will be time to drive it like we stole it very soon.”

Visit Seattle has moved up the leaderboard into third position, followed by the almost neck-and-neck Dare To Lead and Qingdao, the latter of which is playing its Joker. GREAT Britain in sixth isn’t far behind.

Liverpool 2018 in seventh and Unicef in eighth will be the next teams to cross the start line of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, followed later by Garmin — which is also preparing for the non-emergency medevac of Erik Hellstrom who is suffering from an ongoing abdominal condition.

Garmin has been instructed to continue racing, making best speed towards Fremantle, with a plan to medevac Hellstrom via transfer to a non-race vessel when closer to the Australian coast and subject to a suitable vessel being located.

Nasdaq in 10th place is 100 nautical miles further back, while the Northern Irish-skippered HotelPlanner.com holds 11th and is working hard to claw back some miles, covering the biggest distance among the fleet in the last 24 hours of some 135nm.

Unlike the Scoring Gate, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint bonus points are awarded to the three teams with the quickest times. The sprint winners therefore will only be announced once the final team has completed the challenge.

Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that today and much of tomorrow should bring a continuation of the strong WSW/SW winds that the teams currently have.

It looks like a high-pressure system will be sliding around Cape Leeuwin as the teams approach Fremantle, leading to some fleet compression and an exciting race finish.

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#ClipperRace - The Greenings team’s grounded Clipper Race yacht has still not been salvaged due to red tape around its sensitive location, as South Africa’s Times Live reports.

The vessel ran aground off the Cape Peninsula on Tuesday 31 October just hours after the fleet set out on the third leg of the round-the-world yacht race.

Two weeks on and the boat is beached near Olifantsbospunt, a protected area within Table Mountain National Park.

That means any efforts to remove the vessel are subject to environmental legislation over potential damage by the heavy equipment that would be required.

Wildfires on the mainland nearby have also delayed action on the yacht, which has had its fuel removed along with loose fittings to avoid pollution.

However, the €6 million boat remains vulnerable to looters, says local salvage diver Gary Mills, who claims government officials should have acted sooner while it was wedged on a nearby reef.

Members of the Greenings crew will be reallocated across the rest of the fleet from the start of the next leg from Fremantle to Sydney next month.

In other Clipper Race news, the Unicef team has been awarded 2 hours and 33 minutes redress by the race committee after their rescue stand-by delay at the start of Race 3.

Final race positions for Race 3: the Dell Latitude Rugged Race will be announced after redress has been applied to the elapsed time.

As of Wednesday morning (15 November) the bulk of the fleet has now passed the halfway mark en route to Fremantle in western Australia.

The sailors on Sanya Serenity Coast have extended their lead to almost 160 nautical miles over nearest rivals PSP Logistics, as fast downwind conditions have been replaced by shifting winds and lighter airs for many teams.

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#ClipperRace - Following the gruelling upwind slog which has dominated much of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race, a wind shift overnight has meant that downwind sailing conditions have kicked in for some of the most southerly teams in the Clipper Race fleet.

This was music to the ears of the skipper and crew on board Visit Seattle, which has crept up to third place in the first half of today (Sunday 12 November) after a frustrating wind hole hindered progress yesterday.

Speaking from on board, Skipper Nikki Henderson said: “When the position reports came in yesterday and we saw everyone was moving — even GREAT Britain, which was only about 25 nautical miles north of us – ah it was pretty heart breaking. But nothing we could do except soldier on and try and head south to find more wind.

“In the middle of the night we found it - queue big sigh of relief. Now we are finally, finally, cruising along downwind with a spinnaker up. Here begins some mile crushing in the direction of Fremantle.”

Elsewhere, PSP Logistics and Qingdao still hold the top two positions on the leaderboard. Sanya Serenity Coast also picked up bonus race points for the Scoring Gate yesterday, though they’ve since slipped down to fifth as they hold out for the wind to shift.

Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck commented earlier: “It’s hard to think that the boats behind and down south will have kites up now, they will be having a lovely time if the weather file is correct.

“Our time will come soon, but I can’t keep saying just 24 hours more of his on-the-nose stuff!”

For sixth placed Unicef, which is also eagerly anticipating some downwind sailing conditions, morale remains high as they head towards Fremantle. Skipper Bob Beggs said: “At last the wind has freed off sufficiently so that, although we are still on the wind, we can point to our destination. Hurrah!

“Hopefully in a couple of days the good ship Unicef will come upright as the wind comes aft, so we can enjoy some downwind sailing.”

Following Unicef is Liverpool 2018 in seventh, while GREAT Britain, which has benefited from the wind filling and backing at 4am UTC this morning, has zoomed from behind that duo up to fourth place.

Still holding out for the much-needed wind change is skipper Dale Smyth on currently ninth-placed Dare To Lead.

“We were forced right over the top of the scoring gate and we really need this wind to change or we are going to have to go backwards and tack South. We run the risk this far north of not getting Westerlies at all so we keep praying for it to change.”

On board eighth-placed Nasdaq, racing took a back seat this morning to mark Remembrance Sunday. Skipper Rob Graham hoped that “friends and followers around the world will have joined us in this important occasion, as we turn our thoughts to those fallen in conflicts past and present.”

Despite starting Race 3 towards the top of the leaderboard, Garmin holds tenth place today, but is by no means settling at the back of the fleet.

Skipper Gaëtan Thomas commented: “It is quite frustrating to be at the back of the fleet, but it is far from the finish and now is the time to keep focus, not give up.”

And for eleventh placed HotelPlanner.com, skippered by Derry’s Conall Morrison, weather should be backing and building as it progresses towards Fremantle — still trying to make up those lost miles from last weekend’s medevac.

Looking ahead, weather systems may continue to be tricky for the fleet. Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell explains: “There’s a fair amount of wind around between the incoming weather systems, which will be generally going in the right direction, but the progression of the high and then the ridge south of it in two to three days’ time will stretch the fleet’s tactics.”

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#ClipperRace - Life continues at a lean for many teams during the eighth day of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race as the Clipper Race fleet slogs it out in tough upwind conditions.

With around 3,400 nautical miles to go until Fremantle, Sanya Serenity Coast maintains its lead over the rest of the fleet, although the distance it had over the other teams has considerably reduced over the last 24 hours.

Skipper Wendy Tuck explains: “Yesterday, the wind was much higher than forecasted … so I decided to shorten sail even more.

“Needless to say, it didn’t increase and a lot of the time we were slightly under powered. Hopefully, we can hold on to our little buffer zone.”

PSP Logistics edged into second place ahead of Dare To Lead, although both teams have been frustrated by a lack of progress and have tacked southwards.

PSP Logistics skipper Matt Mitchell reports: “Although progress isn't great, it's progress none the less. We have a good solid 10 knots boat speed giving us about 7 knots VMG (Velocity Made Good).”

Qingdao, which has played its Joker Card on this race, has climbed to third place, most recently passing Dare To Lead by a hair, and is currently ahead of Liverpool 2018 to the north and GREAT Britain and Visit Seattle to the south.

All of the teams are finding life at an angle a challenge as Qingdao skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “I think I’m not the only one on board who is kind of over it now and looking forward to a change in wind direction to flatten the boat out.

“Besides the heeling we made reasonable good progress over the past 24 hours and are heading more or less in the right direction now.”

Having slipped to seventh earlier today and now standing at eighth, Visit Seattle skipper Nikki Henderson explains: “We have gone rogue — gone south — and now we are praying it pays off.

“The crew are relieved either way though as the wind has eased and therefore so has the lean. We had a tough day and a tough night. A few sail changes in bitterly cold conditions left the gang exhausted.

“Add that to a few bumps and bruises and the relentlessness of living life at 45 degrees and it's really a challenge.”

Skippers on board Unicef (now in fifth) and Nasdaq (trailing up north at 10th) have been lamenting the cold conditions that the teams are experiencing on board.

Nasdaq skipper Rob Graham reports: “Apparently, this is summer in this part of the world! With the sail plan and trim largely fixed, there isn't much to do on deck besides helming, so we have a rotation of crew spending a period below to stay warm.”

Garmin is currently in ninth position, having taken the most northerly route of the teams to the east of HotelPlanner.com, which is currently in 11th having previously diverted to Port Elizabeth for a medevac at the weekend.

The latter boat is experiencing slightly different weather conditions from the rest of the fleet, as Northern Irish skipper Conall Morrison explains.

“Today, we find ourselves beating into a South South-Easterly gale, making no progress towards the finish line on this course. However, such is sailing and we knew the last two days’ progress couldn’t last forever.

“This tack should see us into a patch of more favourable winds tomorrow and so we can tack and point the boat back towards Fremantle.”

Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell predicts strong gusts for HotelPlanner.com overnight tonight (Wednesday 8 Novembver), while there is a high-pressure system approaching the rest of the fleet, making for some interesting tactical decisions.

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#ClipperRace - HotelPlanner.com has departed Port Elizabeth in South Africa this morning (Sunday 5 November) after the successful medevac of crew member Greg Adams, who suffered a suspected broken arm.

The 59-year-old took a fall below deck on Friday (3 November) which prompted a precautionary but necessary diversion for medical treatment from the third leg of the Clipper Race.

Northern Irish skipper Conall Morrison and the onboard medic crew maintained constant contact with ClipperTelemed+ by PRAXES Medical, the races’s remote support physicians, for advice as they rerouted.

The team was met early this morning in Port Elizabeth by Clipper Race officials including deputy race director Tom Way and race office Manager Sarah Hoare, and Adams has now been transferred to hospital for X-rays.

Meanwhile, six new crew members from the grounded Greenings team joined HotelPlanner.com in Port Elizabeth before they set sail to the point at which they ceased racing early this morning to then resume their race to the port of Fremantle, near Perth in western Australia.

Elsewhere, the Clipper Race fleet enjoyed a more settled 24 hours yesterday (Saturday 4 November) after a testing Friday in the Southern Ocean.

The leaderboard was anything but settled, however, as the previously split fleet began to converge south of the rhumb line.

Sanya Serenity Coast is still leading the fleet, more than doubling its advantage over its competitors, and is nearly 120 nautical miles ahead of Liverpool 2018, which has just pipped two miles past PSP Logistics into second place – a remarkable improvement from their sixth position on Friday.

Overnight, Qingdao lost fourth place to Dare To Lead, which has been “slipping along on a flattish sea” according to skipper Dale Smyth.

Visit Seattle holds sixth place, with Garmin 9nm behind in seventh and GREAT Britain hot on their heels by just half a mile as of this morning. Unicef are another 22 miles behind, with Nasdaq trailing some 211 miles from the leaders.

Published in Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - The Clipper Race office has confirmed that the Greenings yacht that ran aground off South Africa’s Cape Peninsula on Tuesday night (31 October) is partially underwater and will take no further part in the 2017-18 race.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the boat’s interim skipper and crew were evacuated after it ran aground on the western side of the peninsula just hours after starting the third leg from Cape Town to Perth.

Clipper Race officials also confirm that discussions have taken place between interim skipper Andy Woodruff, previously injured skipper David Hartshorn and the crew regarding their future participation in this edition of the race.

A full investigation of the incident is underway, according to the race office. Meanwhile, underwriters have appointed a surveyor to attend the boat today (Thursday 2 November). Following the surveyor’s report, a decision will be made as to whether or not the boat will be salvaged.

In other Clipper Race news, atypically light winds becalmed the majority of the fleet in wind holes on day two, with frustration leading to divided routing that’s split up what had been a tight pack in the first 24 hours out of Cape Town.

First-placed Sanya Serenity Coast is some 30 nautical miles ahead of PSP Logistics, and both have been joined on the rhumb line by third-placed Unicef, making up significant ground after their Greenings rescue stand-by delay late on Tuesday.

South of the line, Dare To Lead is in a battle for fourth with Visit Seattle with barely 1.5nm between them, while just 14nm separates sixth-placed Garmin from the Irish-skippered HotelPlanner.com in 10th — with Liverpool 2018, Qingdao and GREAT Britain in train between them, and Nasdaq catching up another 11nm behind.

The spell of light winds is now passing, and breezes building over the coming days should give teams their first sense of true Southern Ocean conditions.

Clipper Race weather guru Simon Rowell says the next front is due to catch up with the fleet overnight — and with it, the fleet is likely to see wind speeds gust up to 50 knots.

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#ClipperRace - Greenings’ stand-in skipper Andy Woodruf and crew were reportedly doing well after some rest in Cape Town hours after they ran aground on the western side of the Cape Peninsula last night (Tuesday 31 October).

No injuries were reported on board when the boat hit a rocky shoal around 11.40pm local time (9.40pm Irish time) last night, not long after the fleet departed Cape Town on the third leg of the Clipper Race.

However, as a precaution, rescue boats were called to evacuate the crew to shore at Hout Bay.

Unicef, as the closest race vessel to the incident, was initially asked to stand by to assist but was later released to continue racing.

It’s the second major incident to hit the Greenings team after skipper David Hartsthorn suffered a serious hand injury in late August during Race 1 from Liverpool to Uruguay.

The crash will also bring back memories of Team Vestas Wind’s disastrous grounding in the Indian Ocean in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. That team’s new incarnation as Vestas 11th Hour Racing is faring much better in the latest edition, last week winning the first leg from Alicante to Lisbon.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Clipper fleet continues their race across the southern Indian Ocean from Cape Town to Perth in Australia.

First across the start line yesterday was Dare To Lead, which had to use all of skipper Dale Smyth’s local knowledge of the waters around Cape Town to move into second place as Sanya Serenity Coast was first to round the first mark in Table Bay.

Dare To Lead has since slipped into third behind PSP Logistics, which had been nipping at their heels all of this morning (Wednesday 1 November).

Sanya Serenity Coast is currently leading the way in The Dell Latitude Rugged Race 3, with a 35 nautical mile advantage on their closest rivals.

Visit Seattle, Garmin, GREAT Britain, HotelPlanner.com, Joker Card players Qingdao and Liverpool 2018 make up the rest of the chasing pack, in order, with only four nautical miles separating the front from the back.

Behind them NASDAQ is some 30nm adrift, while Unicef’s crew have some catching up to do after last night’s rescue detour as they currently lie some 96nm behind the leaders.

Published in Clipper Race
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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.

Competitions

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

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