(July 10, 2018; Day 14) – The penultimate stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race is ongoing for the back of the fleet with some close battles still taking place as teams strive to join the celebrations in Derry-Londonderry.
Two more finishers yesterday – Qingdao in fourth and Dare To Lead in fifth – were followed today by PSP Logistics crossing the finish line today at 0727 UTC in sixth place and will have its points doubled after playing its Joker Card. HotelPlanner.com, skippered by Derry local Conall Morrison and crewed by a number of Irish team members, claimed seventh place at 14.56 UTC.
The tightest match race currently stands between Sanya Serenity Coast, in eighth, and Nasdaq which is just behind in ninth.
Wendy Tuck, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper, is next in line to cross: “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.”
However, the most remarkable duel is playing out between the final two teams. 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 Dave has been unable to send his daily blogs through however the team has been in contact with the Race Office and all on board are safe and well.
Note: The detour reflected on the tracker by Liverpool 2018 to Newfoundland was due to an ill crew member needing medical attention.
The 11 teams began the final Leg 8 which carries the fleet across the North Atlantic from New York, USA, to Liverpool, UK, via Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
Leg 8 is formed of two races, with the first being the 3000nm Race 12 from USA to IRL that got underway June 26. The fleet is expected to arrive between between July 10 and 14.
Then it will be one final race, Race 13, when the teams depart July 22 to return to the UK almost a year later for the final finish on July 28.
Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve* identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. The race concludes in Liverpool on July 28.
Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.
* Twelve teams began the first leg but one yacht (Greenings) ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.
Source: Clipper Ventures