Clipper Race fleet heading for China

Clipper Race fleet heading for China

After a relaxing break in the Whitsundays, the Clipper Race fleet bid farewell to Australia today to race to China; and fittingly at this halfway stage in the 2017-18 edition, it is the destination’s two team entries, Sanya Serenity Coast and Qingdao, which lead the overall race standings.

Ahead of departing for her team’s home port, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck said: “I am really, really excited about getting to Sanya. It’s going to be a tough, long race. We don’t have much of a lead in the overall standings but it is a lead nonetheless so that’s great and we are just keeping the little Joker Card up our sleeve to spring it when people least expect it.”

Going into the seventh of thirteen individual races, Sanya Serenity Coast leads the Clipper 2017-18 Race overall standings with 65 points, just head of Qingdao (63), which has already played its Joker Card (which doubles its points for one chosen race), and Visit Seattle (60), which won Race 6 into Airlie Beach.

The start line for Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya, is positioned 150 nautical miles off the coast on the other side of the Great Barrier Reef. Teams are currently making best speed to get there with the race expected to officially get underway with a Le Mans start at 1200 local time tomorrow (02200 UTC).

The first of two races which form Leg 5, the Asia-Pacific Leg, Race 7 is predicted to offer some of the most varied conditions of the entire circumnavigation. At 4,280 nautical miles long, teams will be tested mentally as well as physically as they adapt to a host of changing sailing and climatic conditions.

Clipper Race Director Mark Light explains: “The teams are now off on a pretty long race to Sanya but they’ve enjoyed a great break here in the Whitsundays and they are ready for this next challenge. Fluky winds are an expected feature in this race, meaning high levels of concentration and sail changes will be needed.”

Looking further ahead, Mark adds: “Approaching the equator, the fleet is likely to once again witness some spectacular lightning storms, similar to those experienced in this last race up the coast. The passing squalls can offer some much-needed relief from the heat, but can bring some heavy storm conditions with them.”

In a similar move to Race 1, from Liverpool to Punta del Este, a tactical Doldrums Corridor rule has been added to this race. Visible on the Race Viewer, teams will have the option to decide to motorsail for a maximum of 4 degrees of latitude within the Doldrums Corridor, situated in the vicinity of the Solomon Sea.

Continuing north past the equator, the wind will start to build as the fleet encounters Northeast Monsoon winds where teams will be looking to gain early advantage and pull away from their competition. From here, tactics will be at play as teams enter the South China Sea, setting course for the finish line outside Sanya Serenity Marina.

Though Race 7, the Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya is a long one, Race Director Mark Light is expecting some exciting racing. He says: “It’s been really close racing so far in the Clipper 2017-18 Race. There have been some very exciting and incredibly close finishes in the first four legs and the standings are also pretty tight so I’m really looking forward to see what happens next.”

Laying on the southern tip of Hainan Island, the tropical paradise of Sanya awaits and promises to give crew a taste of the ‘Oriental Hawaii’. Explaining the race name choice, Sanya Vice Mayor Zhenling Xu says: “The name Forever Tropical Paradise Race was chosen to reflect Sanya’s unique tropical climate and culture.

“As a renowned domestic and international tourism destination, Sanya has abundant tropical natural resources such as its year-round balmy climate, clean air, sunshine, lush greenery, pristine seawater, soft beaches, fresh seafood, international high-end hotels and resorts. Sanya has a very profound and rich tropical island culture. Its marine culture, resort culture, Li and Miao culture form a splendid contrast to the tropical scenery, making it a unique tropical paradise in China.”

Following the fleet’s departure from Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach, the teams competed in a short course exhibition race to determine the order for the Le Mans start line. Visit Seattle took line honours so will have the advantage of being the windward boat, with PSP Logistics and Sanya Serenity Coast to be the second and third boats respectively.

Once the fleet reaches the Race 7 start position, Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs will lead the Le Mans start as directed by the Clipper Race Director Mark Light.

The race to Sanya is expected to take between 23 to 27 days, with the fleet expected to arrive into the Sanya Serenity Marina between the 21 and 25 of February. To follow the progress of the teams, keep an eye on the Race Viewer and also the team pages for the daily Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs from the boats.

The 40,000 nm Clipper 2017-18 Race started in Liverpool on 20 August last year and will return there on 28 July this summer. The only event on the planet which trains amateur sailors to become ocean racers and complete a circumnavigation, the Clipper Race is the sailing equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.





2   QINGDAO                               63*

3   VISIT SEATTLE                        60

4   DARE TO LEAD                        56*

5   GARMIN                                  53*

6   PSP LOGISTICS                       53

7   GREAT BRITAIN                       49*

8   UNICEF                                   36

9   LIVERPOOL 2018                     34

10   HOTELPLANNER.COM             33

11   NASDAQ                               25

(* Already played Joker Card)



You can track the progress of the rest of the fleet via the Clipper Race Viewer at


About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The eleventh edition of the unique biennial Clipper Race will visit six continents and include six ocean crossings. Almost 5000 novices have been turned into ocean racers during the past twenty years of the Clipper Race, though still more people have climbed Mount Everest than circumnavigated the globe.

The eleven Clipper Race teams compete on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Around 710 crew come from all walks of life and from all around the world, with over 40 different nationalities represented. Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of the eight legs that make up the Clipper Race.

After completing the second stopover of the Clipper 2017-18 Race in Sydney, the teams are heading to The Whitsundays before continuing on to Sanya, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama and New York before a final crossing of the Atlantic Ocean towards Derry-Londonderry.

After crossing six oceans and visiting thirteen stopover ports on six continents, the fleet will return to Liverpool’s Albert Dock almost a year later for Race Finish on Saturday 28 July 2018, where one of the teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy.

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)

Sydney, 24 December 2017 – For over seventy years, Australia has stood still at lunchtime on the 26 December to mark the start of one of the world’s great sporting institutions. 2017 is no exception with 102 yachts set to embark on the 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Four 100-footers will lead the famous 628nm charge south, followed hard by the remainder of the highly competitive fleet representing some 27 countries from both northern and southern hemispheres. With two days to go, attention has turned firmly to who might prevail in the battle to be first to finish and the contest to win overall, the sought-after main prize.

Organized by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, with the support of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and partnered by Rolex since the 2002, the Rolex Sydney Hobart starts at 13:00 AEDT on Tuesday, 26 December. The current weather forecast suggests an upwind start from Sydney Harbour into a 5-10 knot easterly. Once outside the heads, the wind strength will increase to around 15 knots, and turn towards the north east later on Tuesday afternoon. This direction is set hold until early on Thursday morning. The fastest boats are predicting a quick run, although the record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds set in 2016 by Perpetual LOYAL does not appear threatened.

The four expected front-runners, all from Australia, come with some serious pedigree in both their achievements and their crews. A fierce contest is expected with the conditions likely to favour each yacht at different times. Forecast wind transitions will test the resolve and skill of these powerhouse yachts. At a press conference this morning, featuring the skippers of LDV Comanche (Jim Clooney), Wild Oats XI (Mark Richards), InfoTrack (Tom Slingsby) and Black Jack (Mark Bradford), the collective view was that LDV Comanche looks to have the upper hand. Her crew features some rare talent, including James Spithill, Stan Honey and Brad Jackson, able to push this rocket-ship hard. “There’s a period of time when we think conditions will be very good for Comanche, but I think conditions are good for all of us and there will be parts of the race where one boat will shine more than the others,” opined Clooney. “We’re looking at one of the most intense and exciting races for a long time.”

Wild Oats XI is a former two-time treble winner (line honours, course record and overall victory). Despite not finishing the last two races, undone by frustrating breakages, and a lightning strike a week ago that led to a flurry of unplanned activity to put her right, Mark Richards is confident that the boat is prepared and ready for the contest ahead: “We couldn’t ask for a more comfortable forecast and it will be an exciting race between the four fastest 100-footers on the planet.”

Black Jack is a near-sistership of Wild Oats XI in terms of design. Her race set-up, though, is different and she is in new hands since winning line honours in 2009. Mark Bradford can see real opportunities with the forecast: “We are hedged pretty heavily for light air, but everyone’s going to get their moments. The first bit is going to favour us and hopefully the last bit.”

Formerly Perpetual LOYAL, InfoTrack carries the weight of 2016 record-breaking glory. This means little to new owner, Christian Beck – embarking on his first ever Rolex Sydney Hobart – or his stellar afterguard which includes Grant Simmer on his twentieth race and former Rolex World Sailor of the Year and Olympic gold medallist, Tom Slingsby. Simmer believes that though they are perhaps the least favoured there will be some chances: “We just need to be smart. These boats are so big, so powerful and so difficult to make any sail change. You can lose a lot in a sail change. Managing and planning ahead is what’s important for us.”

Race aficionados believe the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart is set to provide conditions most suited to yachts in the 50-foot range. With close to thirty yachts around this size, it is a tough call to pick a single standout contender.

Matt Allen’s Australian TP52 Ichi Ban, launched this year, is well-regarded. The boat has proved fast and competitive in early season racing. Allen’s experience and that of his crew is substantial with over 150 races between them.

The similar-sized Quest may be older, but skipper Bob Steel has two overall wins to his name and the confidence that comes with that: “The Rolex Sydney Hobart used to be a marathon, and now it’s a sprint race. You have to change the mentality. There’s a gate every 50 miles and you have to get to that gate first. Then you start the next sprint. You cannot settle back, you have to be intense from minute one. You have to do everything well and at speed.”

The international contingent is also strong in this size bracket. A number of crews will be challenging Australian hegemony. The Italian Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino is a former winner of the 605nm Rolex Middle Sea Race. Her crew is highly-tuned and are not here to make up the numbers, according to tactician Adrian Stead: “We are here to give ourselves the best chance of winning. We think we’ve got a good boat, we’ve got a great sailing team and we’ve come here to try to win this race on handicap. We know there are a lot of others that have that same goal. Looking at the weather it’s not bad for us and we’re quite excited.”

It is not clear-cut. Smaller boats, too, see possibilities. Andrew Weiss from the USA with his 43-foot Christopher Dragon is fulfilling a life-long dream, and with the overriding ambition to perform: “We’ve done a lot of racing over the years. When we race, we try to do well. It’s a huge organizational challenge to get here and we are not here just to tick the event off the list.”

One of the smallest boats in the fleet is 35-foot Banque de Nouvelle-Caledonie, owned by Michel Quintin. In 2015 Quintin finished second overall behind a TP52. He counts among his crew 2015 Rolex Fastnet winner Alexis Loisin, a formidable sailor: “We’re good in all conditions. The forecast looks okay at the moment, certainly the start and down to the bottom of Australia. The last part looks less clear- maybe with wind, maybe no wind, even a lot of rain and with a big transition of the wind. We’ll see.”

What is certain is a rousing reception in Hobart for each and every crew participating in the race. And, at the final prize giving, on 31 December the eventual winner will have their achievement acknowledged with the historic Tattersall Trophy and a Rolex timepiece, the recognized reward for excellence.

The 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts on Tuesday, 26 December at 13:00 AEDT. Daily video highlights will be available on the Rolex Yachting YouTube channel throughout the race.

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)



Abracadabra, Allegro, Another Painkiller, Arch Rival, Ariel, Banque de Nouvelle Caledonia, Beau Geste, Black Jack, Black Sheep, Blunderbuss, Calibre, Celestial, Chancellor, Charlie’s Dream, China Easyway , Christopher Dragon, USA4304, Chutzpah , Climate Action Now, Concubine, Dare Devil, Dare to Lead, Dark and Stormy, Derucci, Dorade,
Duende, ENVY Scooters Beachball, Enchantress, Enigma, Euphoria II, Eve, Extasea, Flying Fish Arctos, Freyja, GPB Yeah Baby, GREAT Britain, Garmin, Grace O’Malley, Gun Runner, Hartbreaker, Helsal 3, Highfield Caringbah, Hollywood Boulevard,, Ichi Ban , Imalizard, Indian, Infotrack, Invictus Games, Invictus Games, Jazz Player, Khaleesi, Kialoa II, Koa, Komatsu Azzurro, LDV Comanche, Liverpool 2018, M3, Magic Miles, Maluka, Mascalzone Latino 32, Mayfair, Merlin, Merlion, Mister Lucky, Mondo, Nasdaq, Ocean Gem, Opt2Go Scamp, Oskana, PSP Logistics, PYR-ArnoldCo/Wot Eva, Patrice, Pekljus, Qingdao, Quest, Ran Tan II, Reve, Rockall, SailDNA, Sanya Serenity Coast, Seamo Racing Mahligai, She, She’s The Culprit, Smuggler, Snowdome Occasional Coarse Language Too, Sonic, St Jude, TSA Management, Takani, Triple Lindy Triton, Unicef, Vanishing Point, Visit Seattle, Warrior Won, Weddell, Wild Oats X, Wild Oats XI, Wizard, Wots Next, XS Moment

guo-chuan-by-jean sebastien-evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Guo Chuan (Photo by Jean-Sebastien-Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

China was in shock on Thursday after a search was called off for a hugely popular sailor who went missing as he attempted to break the world record for a solo trans-Pacific voyage.

Guo Chuan’s trimaran was spotted about 600 miles (1,000km) off the Hawaiian island of Oahu after he was reported missing on Tuesday.

But after finding only his lifejacket onboard, the US Coast Guard called off their search late on Wednesday.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday that “millions of his compatriots are praying for his safe return”, and officially Mr Guo remains “missing”.

Guo Chuan sailing out of San Francisco (Photo by  XINHUA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK )

But the man who led the search for the 51-year-old appeared to have given up hope.

“Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community,” Captain Robert Hendrickson said.

Mr Guo set sail from under San Francisco’s Golden Great Bridge on October 18 on his 97-foot sailboat, which is called ‘Qingdao China’, after his home city on the country’s east coast.

He was hoping to complete the 7,000 nautical mile-journey to Shanghai in 20 days.

Mr Guo was an experienced sailor, becoming the first of his countrymen to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2006, and also the first Chinese to traverse the Atlantic Ocean by himself.

He became the first Chinese sailor to solo nonstop circumnavigate the globe in 2013, when he also broke the record for doing it in a 40-foot yacht.

In this image released by he US Coast Guard on October 26, a 97-foot super trimaran is seen sailing in the Pacific, after contact was lost with the skipper Guo Chuan
Guo Chuan’s 97-foot super trimaran is seen sailing in the Pacific, after contact was lost with the skipper Guo Chuan CREDIT:  AFP/GETTY IMAGES / US COAST GUARD

Mr Guo was greatly admired in China for his love of his country and his family.

He dedicated his record-breaking achievement to his late father, and in one of his most recent reports from his voyage he spoke of how he listened to recordings of his young son laughing. He called it “the most beautiful song in the world”.

Zhai Feng, a close friend of Mr Guo and a fellow sailor, said: “I have been in shock since I heard this news.

“We know that falling into the water is certain death. If you cannot climb onto the boat within half-an-hour, you will surely be dead.

“My wife cried floods of tears when we learnt the news, and we are both praying for him.”


What happened to Guo remained unclear.

Guo’s team said they had observed his speed slowed on Tuesday and attempted to contact him, but he did not answer either satellite calls or internet communication.

The US searchers had found a broken sail in the water, they added.

The US Coast Guard said it was called when Guo’s team had not received notification from him for 24 hours.

The sailor had previously been “in constant contact” with his shore team and family and was “not likely to miss scheduled calls”, it added.

Chinese fans expressed fears for the mariner, with one writing that it was “likely he was adjusting or repairing the sail when he was struck or an accident occurred and he fell”.

Others urged rescuers to continue the search.

“Absolutely do not stop the search and rescue! It’s only 24 hours, the water is warm enough, Guo Chuan’s physical abilities are fine, if money’s an issue the shore team must immediately open a donation account… You can’t give up!”

But a tone of mourning and tribute also appeared, with one writing that sailors, like mountain climbers, embraced challenge to access a vast perspective, with “captains’ hearts always facing the sea”.


Derry~Londonderry~Doire Race 4 Start ( Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

Derry~Londonderry~Doire Race 4 Start ( Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

Derry~Londonderry~Doire is diverting to Hobart in Tasmania for a medevac of an injured crewman as a precautionary measure.

Skipper Daniel Smith contacted the Race Office at 1030 AEDT today (2330 UTC Tuesday 8 December) to report that round-the-world crew member Michael Gaskin, 54, from the West Midlands, UK, had sustained suspected broken ribs after he fell by the helming position when a wave broke over the back of the yacht in rough seas and 35 knots wind, approximately 130 nautical miles to the southwest of Tasmania.

Team Medics Ali Boeree and Jan Chatzis administered first aid while the Skipper contacted ClipperTelemed+, the Clipper Race remote telemedicine service. Doctors at the Praxes operations centre in Halifax, Canada, confirmed diagnosis and directed the provision of pain relief and anti-nausea medication.

Due to the proximity of Hobart and the rough conditions, the Skipper has decided to divert as a precaution so that Michael can be treated ashore. The team will continue the race to Sydney once Michael has been transferred to hospital.

Mike Gaskin (Photo © onEdition)

Mike Gaskin (Photo © onEdition)
Clipper crew member Mike Gaskin

“The Skipper reports that Mike is in a stable condition and is receiving pain relief,” explained Race Director Justin Taylor. “The conditions were quite challenging at the time. Mike was clipped on behind the high side helm. The low side helm took over to allow Mike to step in. A breaking wave broke over the side of cockpit and Mike says he hit the pushpit and heard his ribs crunch. He was then washed into the A frame and sustained a small cut to his head. He was stopped by his safety tether. This was the first breaking wave into the boat the team had experienced, although they had a lot of spray.”

Water breaking over the deck is very powerful. A cubic metre of water weighs a metric tonne.

This is the first medevac of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, the tenth edition of the biennial global series, the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles, taking 11 months to race between six continents. Only a handful of the 3300 amateur sailors who have participated over the last 19 years have had to be evacuated, the majority as a precaution following medical treatment aboard.

Michael’s next of kin has been informed. Everyone else aboard is safe and well.

Michael is an experienced yachtsman, holding a Day Skipper qualification and had previously sailed around Scotland, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

The yacht is estimated to reach Hobart around 1000 AEDT tomorrow (Thursday) morning 10 December (2300 UTC 9 December).

Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew in Albany (Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew in Albany (Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

 Race one of the Clipper 15-16 Race gets underway from Southend, UK to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ( Photo Copyright onEdition 2015©)

Race one of the Clipper 15-16 Race gets underway from Southend, UK to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ( Photo Copyright onEdition 2015©)

Close competitive racing in the first leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from London to Rio has been overshadowed this week by the death of a crew member in what appears to be a tragic accident.

Having safely navigated the Bay of Biscay, increasing wind speeds propelled the fleet along the Portuguese coast. But as the team aboard IchorCoal put in a reef to reduce sail area one of the crew was knocked unconscious and failed to recover despite immediate medical assistance and expert remote guidance.

Andy Ashman, a paramedic from South East London was an experienced sailor and described as being typical of the ‘Corinthian’ Clipper Race spirit. He was an inspiration to the rest of his team of amateur sailors from all walks of life.

This was the first fatality in the 19-year history of the race which has trained over 3300 people to participate safely in nine previous editions of the biennial global event.

The news of the incident was received soberly across the fleet and tributes were paid by many who had trained alongside Andrew.

Messages of support from his family and friends encouraged the team to continue as it is ‘what Andy would have wanted’.

While the team aboard IchorCoal went ashore at Porto, in northern Portugal, the Clipper Race fleet paid their respects, flew their Red Ensigns at half mast, and raced on as the most fitting tribute.

At the front of the fleet the duel continued between GREAT Britain and LMAX Exchange. But the two have now split with LMAX Exchange taking a clear lead of more than 160 nautical miles closer to the finish in Rio after taking better winds further east, racing through the Canary Islands and then close to the West Saharan coast.

The leaderboard has seen some considerable changes over the last 24 hours, as the teams made their tactical decisions on whether to pass between the Canary Islands and take more of an inshore route, or leave them to port.

Get it wrong and you are caught in the wind shadow of the huge volcanic mountains that extend for more than 100 miles out to sea, creating a major headache as the Skippers seek out the more steady Trade Winds.

The Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is neck-and-neck with GREAT Britain further west, but they could be overtaken by Qingdao and Garmin hoping to copy the LMAX Exchange manoeuvre through the Canaries.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire led the race for a time on Tuesday. Skipper Daniel Smith explained:The day was spent gybing down a narrow band of wind trying to keep the boat moving and achieve the best speeds downwind. By 1800UTC we got the result we were looking for. For the first time since leaving the Thames we were back in first place.

“This was a great achievement from the crew despite them knowing it probably wouldn’t last for long. LMAX Exchange has put itself further east, and was approaching a band of stronger steadier winds. Our plan of squeezing through west of Madeira hadn’t worked out as well as we’d hoped due to the wind strength decreasing.

“We are continuing to fight our way south into what should be an ever-increasing wind, keeping an eye on the positions of more easterly yachts and hoping that they don’t all manage to slot in in front of us.”

The fleet is spread over some 500 nautical miles with around 4000 nautical miles of racing still ahead of it.

In Porto the team of IchorCoal was met by Clipper Race officials led by founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

After time to reflect they came to the unanimous joint decision to continue racing and return to sea as soon as possible.

Andrew’s brother Keith Ashman flew out to reinforce the family’s support for the team’s decision and waved them off as they headed out to resume racing.

IchorCoal team (Photo ©OnEdition)

IchorCoal team (Photo ©OnEdition)

On the broad transom at the stern of their 70-foot ocean racing yacht the team wrote “For Andy. Roger that!” One of Andy’s favourite responses.

The team has been awarded redress for the incident to compensate the time lost. The Race Committee has decided to award a time redress of 81 hours and 1 minute to IchorCoal.  This is calculated on the time from the accident until the yacht commenced racing of 85 hours and 52 minutes, less the time the yacht gained by re-starting 41.2 miles further along the race course, which, at their average speed at the time of the accident of 8.7 knots, is 4 hours and 51 minutes.

This 81 hours and 1 minute will be deducted from IchorCoal’s finishing time in Rio de Janeiro to give the team’s overall position on Race 1.

As a lasting tribute the Atlantic Ocean Sprint, a short section of the race track off the Brazilian coast where extra points are awarded for the fastest team between two points, will be named in Andy’s honour. The fastest team will receive a special trophy, the ‘Andy Ashman Memorial Plate’ in Rio and it will continue to be awarded in future editions of the Clipper Race.

As at 1400 UTC (1500 UK/BST) the fleet positions were as follows:

1 LMAX Exchange – 3542 nM to finish
2 GREAT Britain
3 Derry~Londonderry~Doire
4 Garmin
5 Qingdao
6 Da Nang – Viet Nam
7 ClipperTelemed
8 Unicef
9 PSP Logistics
10 Visit Seattle
11 + Mission Performance
12 IchorCoal

IchorCoal team resumes racing after saying a prayer for lost crewmate. (Photo © OnEdition)

IchorCoal team resumes racing after saying a prayer for lost crewmate. (Photo © OnEdition)

Clipper Race fleet leaves New York in 2013-14 edition (Photo © OnEdition)

Clipper Race fleet leaves New York in 2013-14 edition (Photo © OnEdition)

Hundreds of amateur sailors assembled in Portsmouth Guildhall today to discover which team and professional skipper they will be sailing with later this year in the world’s longest ocean race. They will be competing in the tenth edition of the biennial Clipper Round the World Yacht Race which departs from London on 30 August.

Clipper Race crew, who will spend up to eleven months traversing the world’s most challenging oceans, came to Portsmouth from all over the world, including North America, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and across Europe, together with a strong contingent from across the UK.

The twelve teams were addressed by legendary yachtsman, Clipper Race founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, with encouraging words about the challenge and adventure that lies ahead.  He commented afterwards: “This is where final preparations for the race of their lives begins. Most of the crew have almost completed their training but now they can start to develop their strategies and dynamics as a team.”

The global appeal of the Clipper Race continues to grow, with crew joining the 2015-16 edition from Lebanon, Latvia and Colombia for the first time.  Lebanese crew member Moussa Tawil flew into the UK via Doha and Istanbul to find out who he would be sharing his round-the-world adventure with:  “I’m super excited about the whole thing.  Today is quite significant as I’m sharing thoughts on tactics and finding out more about what role I’d like to play on board.

“I see this as an opportunity to test myself and think I’ll manage well.  I’d like to be part of a really fun crew.  When I first signed up I didn’t think much about winning, but the training has made me think more about what needs to be done to win this race.”

The Clipper Race is a unique event; it is the only ocean race to give amateur sailors the opportunity to sail around the world and at 40,000 miles it’s the longest around the planet. Many are complete novices before embarking on their extensive training and over 600 international crew will sail one or more of eight legs around the world, with around a quarter achieving the ultimate sailing experience of a full circumnavigation.

Sir Robin added: “It is important to remember that Mother Nature does not make allowances and the more the crew learn about seamanship, the safer they will be and the more they will enjoy the adventure. Over the next year they will all gain more experience and mileage in their log books than the average sailor gets in years. It will be fantastic at times, frustrating at others, but overall it will be a life fulfilling experience they will never forget.”

For the first time there will be two female skippers in the race, Wendy Tuck from Australia and Diane Reid from Canada.  There will also be the first French skipper, Olivier Cardin and the first Ukrainian-German skipper, Igor Gotlibovych. At 27 years old, Igor is the youngest of this edition’s skippers and his team will represent the Chinese Olympic sailing city of Qingdao.

Igor says: “I feel very proud to be representing Qingdao.  I was born in Ukraine, grew up in Germany and have lived in England for the last eight years, so there are many places that I can call home and now I can add Qingdao to that list.

“I am thrilled to finally be allocated my crew.  I have met some of them during their Clipper Race training but of course we did not know we would be racing around the world together in the same team. We are a cosmopolitan bunch with people from all over the world who are very excited to get to know each other and to building on Qingdao’s legacy in competitive sailing.”

The crew come from vastly different backgrounds and professions but all have a thirst for adventure. The Clipper Race is regarded as one of the hardest endurance challenges on the ocean and races between six continents over eleven months. The organisers provide twelve identically matched 70-foot yachts, that made their debut to the race in 2013, and each team is allocated to avoid any one crew having an unfair advantage. It is ultimately down to how each team develops and how well they sail that will ultimately determine the winner of the Clipper Race Trophy with maximum points at the end of the race. Each team will represent a destination, organisation or brand.

Followers of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race can look forward to some exciting and exhilarating racing. The departure ceremony takes place in London on Sunday 30 August.

There is still room on board some boats.   For more information on the Clipper Round the World Yacht race see HERE

The Clipper 15 - 16 Crew Announcement.  (Photo © OnEdition)

The Clipper 15 – 16 Crew Announcement. (Photo © OnEdition)

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


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

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
Chris Hollis
PSP Logistics
Gareth Glover
Vicky Ellis
Team Garmin
View all Skipper reports