Belfast Telegraph Breidge Boyle Day 9

Belfast Telegraph Breidge Boyle Day 9

 

The Clipper Race fleet will now arrive in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland from 23-24 June.

The synoptic situation is very complicated for the fleet, currently in the middle of four different weather systems of weak pressure gradients and light winds that need to be negotiated.

Amidst the changeable conditions, this kind of weather is very hard to predict meaning that a lot of the current tactical play is gut instinct combined with guesswork to try and cross the ridge.

There is also a blocking high pressure system sitting just west of Ireland that remains in place and will cause the fleet a significant detour either north or east.

Current leader Jamaica Get All Right, who has came out of Stealth Mode still in first position, has headed further north with a north/south divide starting to occur amongst the fleet as the boats try and get in the best position to deal with the difficult conditions.

Jan Ridd, skipper of Team Garmin, currently in sixth, said: “The next few days will be very interesting in this race as we see the different boats’ tactics as we all leave one weather system and face decisions of the best course to follow as we will no longer be able to sail directly towards the finish. Already you can see boats taking different courses, trying to be in the best position when the wind shifts.”

Matt Mitchell, skipper of Mission Performance, in tenth, added: “Our easterly course saw us plummet down the leaderboard which coupled with not going very far over the last few hours is slightly depressing, though the whole fleet should have light airs to contend with at some time or another over the next 24 hours.”

 

The Clipper Race fleet will now arrive in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland from 23-24 June.

The Clipper Race fleet will now arrive in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland from 23-24 June.

The Clipper Race fleet will now arrive in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland from 23-24 June.

Due tofour differentweather systemsaffecting the fleet in the 2850 mile transatlantic crossing, the current leader Jamaica Get All Right, if it maintains an average speed of 7 knots, is expected to arrive in Derry-Londonderry midday on Monday 23 June. The rest of the fleet is expected to arrive by late Tuesday 24 June.

Race Director, Justin Taylor, explains the synoptic systems which are affecting the fleet’s progress:The weather is very complicated at the moment with four different weather systems affecting the fleet.  There is low pressure over the Iberian Peninsula and also a low north west of this centred south of Greenland.

“There is high pressure south west of the fleet and of course high pressure to the north east over Ireland which is giving the UK warm weather at the moment.  The fleet is generally sandwiched between all four systems where there is light fluky wind and probably will be so for at least a further 24 to 36 hours.  This will produce low boat speeds.  As they head further

PSP Logistics San Francisco to Panama 100 Race start  leg 7 Race 11

PSP Logistics San Francisco to Panama 100 Race start leg 7 Race 11

AFTER A SPECTACULAR SEND-OFF FROM SAN FRANCISCO, USA THE 12 STRONG FLEET COMPETING IN THE CLIPPER 2013-14 RACE PULLED NO PUNCHES AS THE 3,300 MILE RACE TO PANAMA GOT OFF TO A FLYING START. 

With Derry~Londonderry~DoireHenri Lloyd and Old Pulteney first across the start line for Race 11, it wasn’t long before PSP Logistics made its move eager to make an impression and secure a win in its title race. Skipper of PSP Logistics, Chris Hollis which currently lies in second place behind Old Pulteney knows all too well the pressure is on: 
“Today see’s us on our way to Panama in Race 11, which has being named by our sponsor, the PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup. Needless to say, we want to do very well in the race for obvious reasons. By the time we were under the Golden Gate Bridge and heading out to sea we had over taken four boats.”Although the Northern Irish entry took an early lead, skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire Sean McCarter was far from impressed by his teams initial start in Race 11. Sean explains in today’s skipper report:“Our departure today was less than straight forward. With crowds cheering from the dock, we proceeded to bounce our way out of the marina in a very erratic manner. I was worried the Coastguard might want to breathalyse me but I can honestly confirm that as the tide was fully out, the keel was gently ploughing through the muddy bottom and making manoeuvring very tricky!”
“After the embarrassing departure, we knew we had to redeem ourselves at the start. The largely new crew (11 joiners) pulled together really well with the seasoned round the world crew and we managed to win the start and lead out under the Golden Gate Bridge which was fantastic for all aboard (and all our fans who were unlucky enough to witness our departure!)”

Team Garmin at the start of Race 11 in San Photo by Francisco_Abner Kingman Abner Kingman 2014©

Team Garmin at the start of Race 11 in San Photo by Francisco_Abner Kingman Abner Kingman 2014©

With just four miles now separating the top three leading boats, Old PulteneyPSP Logistics and Derry~Londonderry~Doire respectively, all eyes will be on the Race Viewer to see how the tactics in Race 11 will play out over the next few weeks. To read all the skipper reports click here

SKIPPER REPORTS
Sean McCarter
Derry~ Londonderry~ Doire
Simon Talbot
GREAT Britain
Simon Talbot
Henri Lloyd
Rich Gould
Invest Africa
Pete Stirling
Jamaica Get All Right
Matt Mitchell
Mission Performance
Patrick van der Zijden
Old Pulteney
Olly Cotterell
One DLL
Chris Hollis
PSP Logistics
Gareth Glover
Qingdao
Vicky Ellis
Switzerland
20clipper.jpg.article.jpg
Team Garmin
View all Skipper reports
VIEW LATEST RACE STANDINGS

 

 

VIEW THIS BLOG VIEW ALL CREW BLOGS

Henri Lloyd arrives into San Francisco

Henri Lloyd arrives into San Francisco


It’s been one of the toughest legs of the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, but crossing the finish line, even in the dark, under San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, is a moment to savour after 5600 miles of ocean racing across the mighty Pacific

GREAT Britain crossed the finish line of Race 10 in the 16 stage global series at 21:42:56 local time (UTC-7) on April 9 to take line honours ahead of rival Henri Lloyd who slipped back into second place around 1.30pm local time today.

Henri Lloyd crossed the line two hours later at 23:45 local time. A battle had ensued for the last five days between Henri Lloyd and GREAT Britain with the teams both alternating between first, second and third place on the leader board.

Invest Africa crossed the line at 05:26am local time on April 10 taking the third line honours place.

All results are provisional and the final positions will be confirmed by the race office after redress is applied. Simon Talbot, skipper of GREAT Britain, said: “We have had a very good race with Eric and Henri Lloyd, its always great to have someone to spar against. It’s no fun if you are 500 miles ahead. It’s a real sense of achievement battling it out. Coming out of the windhole yesterday I just couldn’t see how we would claw it back.

“They managed to pull 15 miles on us by running inshore, then we pulled it back by running deeper and came in first under the bridge. I know Eric will be very pleased with his team’s performance and he has had a very fine race with a crew of 13. We had a crew of 18 and we worked really hard.

“This was not the Pacific crossing that it was billed to be. We had no storms, we had no frontal systems passing over but the wind was gusting at 50 knots at times and we love sailing in that. We had a very fast downwind race and had 20 days of sunshine – that is what you call luck.

“There is a constant battle in a long race like this to keep performance up, but the crew like winning so it is easy for my crew to get out of bed each watch.”

Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden said his team had fought with GREAT Britain right to the bitter end for several races in a row now.

“It was their turn this time and they got the better of us. We tried as hard as we could but we just got a little tired towards the end. It was a long race and you can’t push full on the whole time, so you have to pick when you really go for it and when you sit back a bit. You could tell a lot of boats did that and we found the right times.”

GREAT Britain celebrates San Francisco line honours

GREAT Britain celebrates San Francisco line honours

Derry~Londonderry~Doire at the start of Race 4 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in Cape Town, South Africa

British Man Rescued after falling overboard on Derry~Londonderry~Doire

A British man was rescued from the Pacific Ocean in the early hours of this morning after falling overboard during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew member, Andrew Taylor (46) from London went over the side at 00.43 BST last night in rough weather and was sighted again at 01.55 BST before being recovered at approx. 02.13 BST this morning (13.13 local time, 30 March).

The incident happened in rough weather with 35 knots of wind and clear visibility, during a sail change in daylight on day 14 of Race 10 in the 16 stage Clipper Race which is currently heading for San Francisco, USA from Qingdao, China.

The yacht’s professional Skipper Sean McCarter (32) from Derry Londonderry reported that he was working with Andrew on a sail change near the bow when he went over the side. Sean immediately went back to the helm, stopped the yacht and initiated the MOB (man overboard) procedure.

Race Director Justin Taylor explained: “In these conditions a man overboard is swept away from the boat very quickly and visual contact can be lost in the swell. We have a well-rehearsed procedure to mark the position, stop racing and engaged the engine to search for and recover the crew member as quickly as possible.

“An hour and a half is a very long time to be in the water in these conditions but a combination of his sea survival training and seven months at sea as well as wearing a life jacket and dry suit will have contributed enormously to his survival.”

Nearly 4,000 people have taken part in the event which includes an extensive pre-race training programme and the organisers are fully committed to safety and maintaining their excellent record.

“The sea can be a harsh environment and we rehearse every eventuality including a man overboard (MOB),” stated Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “The MOB procedures were put into practice flawlessly by the crew in difficult conditions. It is a tribute to their training and determination that Andrew was successfully recovered. It is always a concern when we have a major incident and we will want to analyse the circumstances in detail to see if there is anything we need to learn or review as a result.”

Following his recovery, Andrew was taken below decks for treatment by the on board medic, crew member Susie Redhouse (42) also from London, who is a paramedic clinical tutor. She reports he is suffering from shock and may have hypothermia. His condition is being monitored closely, but he appears to be in relatively good spirits and is talking with fellow crew members.
A competing team in the fleet of twelve identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts OneDLL responded to the mayday call and diverted course to render assistance as the closest yacht to Derry~Londonderry~Doire.  Falmouth and US Coast Guard services were contacted and have now been stood down. Both boats have resumed racing.

This is only the fourth ever incident in the Clipper Race’s eighteen year history that someone has had to be recovered from the water. In both previous incidents, the crew members were recovered within minutes.

Sea safety is a fundamental practice of the Clipper Race. Before joining their boats all crew members must complete an extensive, four stage sailing and sea safety training course, including sea survival. This includes highly detailed instruction and practice of man overboard (MOB) procedure. All yachts are equipped with special MOB dummies and regularly rehearse search and recovery practice throughout the race.

The Pacific leg, between China and the US, is the tenth of sixteen stages which comprise the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles. The fleet is just over the half way stage of the 5,600 mile race to San Francisco. The first boats are expected to finish under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge on 11 April. The Clipper 2013-14 Race left London on 1 September 2013 and returns to St Katharine Docks next to Tower Bridge on Saturday 12 July 2014.

AndrewTaylor

LD YACHT RACE
The Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race started Sunday, 1 September from St Katharine Docks London, and will return almost a year later after completing the 40,000 miles route, making it the world’s longest ocean race.

The event was established in 1995 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to discover the exhilaration of ocean racing. 670 people representing more than 40 nations will compete in the Clipper 13-14 Race on twelve brand new 70-foot yachts designed by renowned naval architect Tony Castro.

The overall race is divided into sixteen individual stages. Since leaving London, teams have raced via Brest, France, Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, Albany in Western Australia, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane, Singapore, Hong Kong and Qingdao, China. After completing a brief stopover in San Francisco, the fleet will continue to Panama, Jamaica, New York, Derry Londonderry and Dan Helder, The Netherlands. Points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total points at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.
www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Gold Coast Australia at the start of Race 5 from Geraldton, Western Australia to Tauranga, NZ,  (Photo by Karl Monaghan/onEdition)

Gold Coast Australia at the start of Race 5 from Geraldton, Western Australia to Tauranga, NZ, (Photo by Karl Monaghan/onEdition)

At first light this morning in Queenscliff, Australia, Singapore’s crew slipped lines and headed back out through the Port Philip heads and into the Great Australian Bight after successfully repairing their steering quadrant. Happy to be helming with a wheel again and not a tiller, skipper Ben Bowley has sent a note of appreciation at today’s 0600 position report.

“I would like to extend a hearty thanks to all those who presented a wonderful reception committee for us in Queenscliff yesterday afternoon,” he says. “Especial thanks to Kate Parbury and family for proving such wonderful hosts. A delicious barbecue and some cool refreshing beverages were served to us almost as soon as lines hit the dock!”

Kate is the mother of round the world crew member and Singapore watch leader, Will Parbury, who lives a stone’s throw from Queenscliff in Victoria and regularly sails and dives in the area.

Ben continues, “Many of Will’s former colleagues, friends and ex-crewmates were on hand with an array of tools and advice. It really served to remind me how many supporters we have and how far they are willing to go out of their way to help us. Once again, we were truly grateful to see so many welcoming, supportive faces waiting for us on that small dockside. Many thanks also to Queenscliff Harbour Marina and pilot station for accommodating us at such short notice and allowing us full use of their excellent facilities.”

Now back at sea and making best speed towards New Zealand, Ben and the Singapore crew are determined to turn around their run of bad luck and make the most of the time they have together on board.

“Reading the other boats’ updates I fear that we are missing out on a bit of a sleigh ride down south! Much is the shame as we are having to nose our way out of the Bass Straits under iron top-sail [engine]. We did have an excellent hour’s close fetching under full main and Yankee 1 after leaving Queenscliff this morning.  However, as we rounded Cape Schanck, the wind veered to almost exactly our desired course, forcing us to motor at a conservative RPM for probably the first 24 hours of our training/passage sail to Tauranga. Things look a little rosier for the following 72 hours though; we should have a nice fast fetch across to New Zealand, assuming we can keep pace with the weak front sweeping across the Tasman Sea. We intend to use this period as an opportunity to ensure that the knowledge base of all members of the crew is improved by concentrated coaching sessions not just delivered by myself. We have some key (halfway round the world) crew members leaving in Gold Coast and we want to ensure that the knowledge they have gained in the last four months is passed on to new and remaining crew members. We intend to be as well trained and focused as possible for the short sprint leg back to Gold Coast. Time to gain back some cruelly snatched points I think.”

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital looks set to claim the bonus point on offer for the Race 5 Ocean Sprint between the longitudes of 150 and 154 degrees east. The Ocean Sprint is a time trial rather than a first past the post contest, which means every team, no matter their position in the fleet, has the chance to pick up an extra point if they cover the distance in the quickest time.

Welcome to Yorkshire had been the yacht to beat, with a time of 21 hours and 22 minutes for the sprint of approximately 240 miles. But the team representing Scotland’s capital city have declared a time of 19 hours and 10 minutes to complete the trial, meaning Qingdao needed to finish by 0820 UTC today to beat them. The results are provisional until the Race Committee verifies them in New Zealand but it looks like they’ll be celebrating on the deck of the Purple Beastie at happy hour tonight.

Gordon Reid, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital’s skipper, says, “The Purple Beastie is doing some fierce 12-hour runs in these strong winds she thrives and carries a lot of momentum (kinetic energy), so for now we stay the furthest south, closing on the fleet and pushing ourselves and the yacht as hard and fast as we dare, ensuring we keep a little in reserve for when it all gets fruity again.

“After our wild, crazy ride in 60 knots plus, 40 to 45 knots seems a bit pedestrian. The sea is still wild, with some of the swells as big as a two-storey building, but it is amazing how quickly you become used to conditions which are, to be fair, pretty extreme. The crew are loving it and so am I. We spent the day surfing monster wave after wave to see who could top the highest speed of 26 knots. We initiated a squall watch and a few of us took turns at seeing who could ride the wave mid-squall for the longest. A few months ago that would have seemed like a totally crazy thing to aspire to, but on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, sailing in the beautiful fury of the Southern Ocean, it’s just another day at the office.

“With New Zealand approaching fast I’ve got a feeling we are about to face our biggest challenge yet with the forecast predicting up to 60 knots as we surf all the way on to the continental shelf of New Zealand.”

The conditions are certainly challenging all of the teams – they are further south than on the previous leg and the Southern Ocean is making sure they have something to remember her by.

Mark Light, Derry-Londonderry’s skipper describes the “fantastic sailing conditions” his team has been experiencing.

“We are flying along with some really excellent boat speeds: averaging 12 knots and surfing between 15 and 23 knots,” he explains. “The swells are huge with a lot of power behind them; things are very physically demanding and it takes a lot of skill and nerve to helm one of these Clipper 68s powered up in these conditions. My crew have done exceptionally well. We have managed to look after our boat and equipment very well.”

Just the second and third reefing lines have broken. These are the ropes attached to the mainsail which allow the sail area to be reduced or increased according to the conditions.

Describing how it happened, Mark says, “We were reefing down the main just before a series of dark clouds arrived over us and unfortunately one of the mainsail cars jammed on the mast track between the first and second spreaders. While we tried numerous ways to free it, the second and third reefing lines managed to flog, snap and tangle with each other and the existing first reefing line. This resulted in a huge bundle of very tightly knotted line right at the end of the boom which prevented us from grinding in reef one – the whole purpose of the operation in the first place!”

A heave-to and 25 minutes of hard work later and the team was back on track, holding on to third place. Could Tauranga be where the ‘LegenDerrys’ claim their first podium place?

While the Northern Ireland team has been lucky to avoid any worse breakages than a few snapped and tangled lines, second placed New York has not escaped so lightly.

“Just over 12 hours ago, I was thinking it was ‘race over’ for New York,” reveals the US team’s skipper, Gareth Glover.

“While we were putting a second reef in the main as the wind was building and an unseen squall hit us with gusts of over 50 knots, the mainsail got pushed though the rig, breaking three battens and putting three rips along the batten reinforcements.

“The first was about half a metre above the second reef and the two others about 30cm above the third reef.  We quickly went to three reefs to make sure the biggest rip did not get bigger and called all hands on deck. As we do on New York, we got on with the job of taking down the Yankee 3 and putting up the Yankee 2, taking the mainsail down on the deck and our storm sail went up in its place. We have been racing under this sail plan now for over 12 hours and have only lost a few miles to De Lage Landen and Derry-Londonderry.

“We have had all the crew working in teams on different parts of the mainsail. The hard bit is that you’re hand sewing though four pieces of sail cloth in 30-knot winds and breaking seas. We’ve got about four more hours of work to be done, taking the full repair to about 13 hours.  And then we will put the main back up and chase down Gold Coast Australia.”

With New York in second place, De Lage Landen is running neck and neck with Derry-Londonderry, jostling for third place. After two and a half thousand miles of racing, just a couple of miles separate them but although the racing is red hot, the weather is decidedly not.

“It doesn’t look like the weather is going to give us any reprieve until we are past the southern point of New Zealand,” comments De Lage Landen’s skipper, Stuart Jackson, this morning. “It has also got a lot colder with the south westerly winds bringing cold air up from the Antarctic, so everyone is looking forward to the conditions improving as we make our way up the New Zealand coastline. It’s just all a bit repetitive, putting reefs in and out as the squalls come through.”

Rupert Dean, skipper of Welcome to Yorkshire, echoes Stuart’s comments about the cold, explaining, “These 30-knot winds have been accompanied by enormous, vicious squalls, demanding rapid evolutions to shorten sail and/or bear away. Consequently the crew are working hard in some arduous sailing conditions.

“Race 4 has, for us, been a far truer reflection of what the Southern Ocean should be than Leg 3. Since leaving Geraldton there has hardly been a day when we haven’t been sailing in gale force conditions. To perform day in, day out in winds ranging from Force 8 to 10, in mountainous seas under racing conditions, is no small feat. It demands courage, determination and teamwork of the highest order and I thank my crew for it. In particular, I wish to praise my watch leaders, Hannah Richards (Management Consultant) and Jim Stamp (Plant Operator), along with their deputies, James Charlesworth (farmer) and Richard Williams (accountant), for their sterling efforts in keeping our boat and crew motivated, happy and safe.

“As we near the southernmost point in our round the world adventure, we look forward to turning north again, towards warmer climes (and cold beer). The crew has come a long way since their training days in the English Channel, in more ways than one. They are doing themselves proud.”

Clipper 11-12 is raced by people like you – people from all walks of life who put their everyday lives on hold to fulfil a long-held ambition or take on the challenge of a lifetime. Hannah, a management consultant, Jim, a plant operator, James, a farmer, and Richard, an accountant will have completed the sailing equivalent of climbing Mount Everest when they return to the UK in July 2012 – a circumnavigation under sail. There are presentations taking place in New Zealand and Australia in the next few weeks – go to www.clipperroundtheworld.com for more details.

Geraldton Western Australia’s having a pretty good day as well, according to skipper, Juan Coetzer, whose team will be more refreshed after being allowed to shower instead of the standard wet wipe wash during the rough weather of the last two days.

“For the first time since leaving Geraldton, we have got our Yankee 2 up and a first reef in the mainsail. Being short numbered one has to take seamanship into consideration and choose the best sail plan for the long term.”

The team does appear to have an extra body on board – but not a helpful one, says Juan. “It looks like the electrical gremlin is back again, as our instruments have gone bonkers. Even our deep water anchor alarm has been going off.”

On board mid-fleet Visit Finland, Olly Osborne is in reflective mood as they prepare to head north and begin the first stage of their climb back towards the northern hemisphere.

“With a little more than two days to run to the Stewart Island waypoint our time in the Southern Ocean is drawing to a close. It has not been without its adventures and over the last few days we have seen some of the most challenging conditions yet. Indeed for the first time this year we made good use of our storm trysail which allowed us to weather gusts of up to 60 knots through the night, and the sea state would at times certainly be referred to as ‘high’ if it were given over the shipping forecast,” he says.

“But we are making good speeds none the less and, despite the frustrations of living in a constantly pitching environment, everyone is well rested and in good spirits. The sun shines between towering cumulus clouds and when the boat is lifted onto the crest of a wave you can see for what seems like miles over the surf streaked glittering surface.”

While the rest of the fleet has been experiencing winds of up to 60 knots and more of the same is predicted in the next 72 hours, Qingdao has been slowed down by the high pressure system that they were hoping to avoid.

“It is amazing to watch the barometer down here,” says Ian Conchie, ‘down here’ being right below ‘Down Under’.  “In the UK it is rare to get a change of more than one millibar per hour unless there is a strong weather system around. But here, due to the stream of low pressure systems that revolve around the bottom of the globe the pressure goes up and down all the time like a yoyo!”

Currently racing at between seven and eight knots, the team is hoping to stay ahead of the weather to avoid being becalmed as they were on the way in to Geraldton. The crew is anxious to push as hard as they can to arrive in Tauranga in time to enjoy a longer than expected stopover and fully recharge their batteries.

“In the meantime we have been using the gentler conditions today to inspect and repair sails, do our routine maintenance and tidy and clean up the boat,” says Ian. “In rough weather it is hard to keep everything spick and span due to the motion of the boat, so we have to use these days when we can to keep our beloved purple dragon in top shape.”

At the head of the fleet Gold Coast Australia is having a wild and windy ride.

“Some would say it is a bit breezy down here,” comments skipper Richard Hewson. “Yesterday conditions were nearly perfect as we ran downwind towards Stewart Island. Today we have throttled back a bit as the wind has increased to a steady 32 knots, gusting 50 knots. This may sound a little extreme to some, however to make it even more interesting the gusts sometimes last for up to an hour. Gold Coast Australia is handling like an absolute dream and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t acknowledge these yachts as being the most seaworthy I have ever sailed.”

If you think the conditions are hairy, you should see the faces of the crew – the men, at any rate.
They are growing moustaches for Movember – the charity movement that raises funds and awareness for male cancers and mental health issues – and there are some fine sets of whiskers being cultivated on board many of the boats. Styles range from Errol Flynn to Tom Selleck as well as hommages to the facial stylings of Chopper Read and Merv Hughes on the Australian yachts.

“Today we took our half time photos for Movember. No doubt it will be one of the most extreme Movember photos in history as at the time it was blowing over 50 knots and with five-metre swells and two-metre seas,” writes Richard.

As the teams approach the waypoint to the south of New Zealand, all ten are preparing for a change in conditions – and perhaps a shake-up in the rankings. Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, a former winning Clipper Race skipper and Assistant Race Director who sends wind and weather forecasts to the yachts each day, has been looking ahead and has today told the skippers and navigators, “There’s a big spread in wind strength locally as you get further north.”

The depth of the ocean floor will also have an impact on the sea state.

“What is going to be very interesting is the increase in sea and swell in the shallow water to the south of Stewart Island where the depth decreases from 1,000 to 140 metres as we go over the continental shelf,” explains Richard. “I gather that the sea is going to be quite treacherous and we will be battened down and ready to rumble when we go over the shelf.”

Positions at 1200 UTC, Thursday 17 November

Boat                                DTF*
1 Gold Coast Australia 1,052nm
2 New York 1,130nm (+78nm DTL*)
3 Derry-Londonderry 1,153nm (+102nm)
4 De Lage Landen 1,161nm (+109nm)
5 Welcome to Yorkshire 1,179nm (+127nm)
6 Visit Finland 1,238nm (+186nm)
7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1,305nm (+254nm)
8 Geraldton Western Australia 1,330nm (+278nm)
9 Qingdao 1,507nm (+455nm)
10 Singapore 1,975nm (Retired)

 

Clipper Round The World Race Start (Photo by onEdition)

 

* Slow progress as wind drops for first night at sea
* Qingdao caught on foul tide
* Crews thank HMS Illustrious for support in parade of sail and
flotilla for stunning turn out on the water

After the magnificent send off from Southampton yesterday the ten teams
taking part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race have spent
their first night at sea, settling into new routines that will become
second nature during the course of the next year.

Crowds See Off The Clipper Round The World Fleet (Photo by onEdition)

As the sun set on race start day, the wind died and by the early hours
there was barely a breath of air to fill the huge windseeker sails.

 

Gold Coast Australia was first out of the starting blocks, first around
the mark in Stokes Bay and pulled out a good lead over the rest of the
fleet but as skipper, Richard Hewson, explains, light winds overnight
have thrown a bit of a spanner in the works.

“After a cracking start Gold Coast Australia led the fleet out of the
Solent and we hoisted the medium weight spinnaker beautifully as we
rounded Bembridge Ledge. We carried the spinnaker throughout the first
part of the night but then suffered big losses stuck without wind as the
fleet caught up and now draws abeam. The crew is now working hard in
light and fickle winds to maintain boat speed and get through shipping
lanes in the Channel. All is well and buzzing on board as we settle into
the watch system and first day of an epic 12-month journey around the
world.”

“Good morning from the mid channel mill pond,” says Singapore skipper,
Ben Bowley. “It’s been a long time coming but finally we’re off! Our
procession down Southampton Water yesterday was quite awe inspiring; a
huge thanks to the Captain and crew of Lusty for providing such a great
send off. Seeing such a large flotilla of spectator boats really
brought home to us the enormity of what it is we are about to undertake,
huge thanks and a fond farewells to those who came to show their
support.

“We had good (albeit very cautious) start aboard Singapore with only
Gold Coast ahead of us on the line. I was initially lamenting my choice
of headsail (Yankee 2) as we seemed a little underpowered compared to
the majority of the fleet. However, as the Yankee 2 is non-overlapping
we were able to climb higher than those carrying the Yankee 1 and
subsequently held good position making it round the first mark still in
second place. As we approached the forts with the wind easing we
changed up to the Yankee 1, a flawless change (quite surprising for the
first one!) all credit to the crew and watch leaders. The headsail
change cost us only one place and some close cross tacking ensued, the
yachts all feeling different tidal effects from one side of the Solent
to the other.

“The last 12 hours have been quite frustrating with a distinct lack of
breeze. We elected not to fly a spinnaker last night for two good
reasons: firstly, I’m keen to sail the rhumb line and it was too tight
for the kite as several of the other yachts have proved by having to
sail almost due west. Secondly, the idea of wrapping the kite on the
first night at sea in fluky wind conditions with heavy wash from
shipping was not my idea of fun. On refection, the Yankee 1 and main
alone have set us fairly well and although it is hard to judge positions
at present, I believe we are in the front group, still fairly on the
rhumb line, exactly where we wish to be.

“Now it is time for some strong coffee, porridge and a look at whether
the light kite would be advantageous now the sun is up and we are all
well rested and alert…”

After all the excitement and emotion of yesterday’s spectacular send
off, sunrise on a new day has also brought some a new emotional
atmosphere to Visit Finland, which didn’t have the best of starts in the
Solent but whose crew have worked hard overnight to pull into the lead
by the 0600 UCT report this morning. Skipper, Olly Osborne, sums up what
a difference a day makes, saying, “A night of little or no breeze has
kept us busy trimming and trying to keep the boat on the move. The dawn
is hazy and the sea appears glassy in the morning light, and the quiet
stands in sharp contrast to the noise and emotion of yesterday.”

A lot of that noise came from the flotilla of more than 300 spectator
boats which turned out to give the fleet a fantastic send off. Gareth
Glover, skipper of New York, says, “The boats of the flotilla gave us
great support. Individual cheers from friends and family had the crew
jumping from their hike-out seats to identify themselves and shout back
fond farewells.”

New York was up with the leading pack at the start and has maintained
pressure at the front despite the lack of wind.

“The wind started slowing down and died completely around 0230 just as
the second watch came on deck. All that our attempts to coax some boat
speed with the wind-seeker would get us was a bit of bobbing around and
just the tide speed. It is morning again and we are moving along at
about four knots with the mid weight spinnaker flying, Welcome to
Yorkshire for company and Visit Finland south of us,” Gareth continues.

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital’s skipper, Gordon Reid, says, “After an
amazing but emotional race start the team is working hard to keep the
boat moving in the very light breeze and strong tides of the English
Channel. Tactically Edinburgh Inspiring Capital is in a strong position
having already crossed the northern shipping lane and heading towards
Casquets. At this early stage in the race, it is very much all to play
for.”

That is a fact that will be reassuring to the Qingdao crew who, as you
will see from their track on the race viewer, appear to be heading back
to Southampton, so good was the welcome there this weekend.

In fact they were in the wrong place when the tide turned and are being
pulled east, in the opposite direction to the one they wish to travel
in. They have two knots of breeze but the speed of the tide against them
is more and therefore they are effectively moving backwards. They are
trying to use their sea anchor – known as a kedge – to hold them in
position off Portland until the tide turns and they can shake loose.

Juan Coetzer, Geraldton Western Australia’s skipper, says “Today it is a
drift-a-thon. It has been sail change after sail change – Yankee 1 up,
then down, spinnaker up and down. The crew are settling in well and
giving it their best. Yesterday was an amazing start, so many boats,
supporting us all on the start line.”

Derry-Londonderry’s crew is also settling in and, according to skipper,
Mark Light, they’re all relaxed, settling in to the watch system, even
enjoying a chicken curry and home-made fruit cake for dinner.

“It was a great start to the race with beautiful conditions. We need
some more wind now though – it dropped overnight and we’re making slow
progress under full main and spinnaker.”
Positions at 0600 UTC, Monday 1 August

Boat DTF*
1 Visit Finland 1249nm
2 Welcome to Yorkshire 1250nm (+2nm DTL*)
3 New York 1251nm (+2nm)
4 Singapore 1254nm (+5nm)
5 De Lage Landen 1257nm (+8nm)
6 Gold Coast Australia 1257nm (+8nm)
7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1257nm (+8nm)
8 Derry-Londonderry 1257nm (+9nm)
9 Geraldton Western Australia 1258nm (+9nm)
10 Qingdao 1260nm (+12nm)

Geraldton Western Australia crew onboard before starting the race at Ocean Village, Southampton  (Photo by onEdition)
Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started on 31 July 2011
from Southampton on the UK’s south coast and will return to the Solent
in July 2012 after 40,000 miles of ocean racing – the world’s longest
ocean race. The event was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give
everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to
experience the exhilaration of ocean racing. More than 500 people
representing more than 40 nations will compete in Clipper 11-12. They
can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs.
The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 – there is
no upper age limit. The overall race is divided into individual stages
and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The
yacht with the highest total at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.