Day 17 – The competition remains tight as the trade winds bring relief and average knot speed of 11 for the majority of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race teams. The lulls the fleet have been experiencing in Race 6 have become a distant memory as they get used to life at an angle.
Skipper of Unicef, Ian Wiggin reports: “And we’re off! Finally, just after dark yesterday evening, the wind finally filled in. Those elusive trade winds, which we had been waiting for for more than two days, eventually reached us.
“With 20 knots of wind on the beam, and the sea covered in white caps, we are at last sailing at over 10 knots straight towards the top of the Philippines. The sun is shining, and the sky is full of light fluffy clouds. Perfect sailing conditions.”
On board GoToBermuda, Skipper David ‘Wavy’ Immelman gives a sigh of relief, saying: “Well, my pleas for the wind to move south were ignored, so we just sailed north. That means we are finally in the wind and heading north at a reasonable speed. The boat is going nicely and although heavily healed over we are heading to our new destination at about 8 knots.”
The stronger winds bring thrilling conditions as the fleet make strides towards the Subic Bay finish line with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam at the front with an approximate 43 nautical mile lead.
Currently in sixth place, WTC Logistics’ Skipper, Rich Gould comments: “Finally in the trades, we have proper wind for the first time this leg. This changes so many things on board, Black Betty is a lot more excitable now, heeling over, and rolling with the swell as she bounces from wave to wave, so just existing on board is more of a challenge.”
Leading Skipper, Josh Stickland of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam comments: “For us on board, it’s mostly about getting everyone comfortable around the kite with this new phenomenon called ‘wind’. In light wind sailing, you can make a mistake and no-one bats an eye lid for it’s easy to correct, but when the wind picks up it becomes very apparent and very quickly can escalate into the worst of days.”
Delayed: Originally scheduled to begin on January 18, Leg 5/Race 6 – a 4280 nautical mile race from the Whitsundays, Australia to Sanya, China – was postponed twice, initially due to watermaker issues on three boats and then because of light winds. The 11 teams finally got underway January 22.
Course change: The fifth leg was to be divided into three races (6, 7, 8), with the first race to finish in Sanya, China. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, a course change was enacted and the fleet will skip Sanya and now finish where the second race was to conclude in Subic Bay, Philippines.
Motoring: In case of light winds and slow progress within the defined Doldrums Corridor, teams on Race 6 had the option to use their motor for prescribed amount of time and distance. Details.
About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race:
The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.
Held biennially, the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race gets underway September 1 for the fleet of eleven identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. This 12th edition has attracted 688 crew representing 43 nationalities for the 41,000+ nm course. The race finishes on August 8.
The course is divided into 8 legs and 15 individual races, with some of the crew in for the entire circumnavigation while others will do individual legs. The team having the best cumulative score over the entire course will win the Clipper Race Trophy.
The Clipper 2019-20 Race Route:
The fleet departs from London, UK to Portimão, Portugal; across the Atlantic to Punta del Este, Uruguay; the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Fremantle, Western Australia; around to the Whitsundays on the east coast of Australia, back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the mighty North Pacific to Seattle, USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; to Bermuda and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing to Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland; before arriving back to London as fully proven ocean racers.
Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Published on February 5th, 2020