Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet is on the eighteenth day of race ten from Oakland, California to Panama. With this morning’s confirmation of Gold Coast Australia’s eighth victory, the battle for the final podium positions in race ten continues.
Gold Coast Australia - The Clipper Race fleet left Jack London Square in Oakland on 14 April to start Race 10, to Panama - Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
'I am ecstatic with my crew’s performance in light fickle winds and extreme heat,' reveals Gold Coast Australia skipper, Richard Hewson, after his team crossed the finish line at 0844 UTC.
'Gold Coast Australia sailed like true professionals over the past few days making the most of wind shifts and squeezing every drop of speed that Gold Coast Australia had to offer.
'I would like to congratulate the other yachts on their performance in such challenging conditions. The last few hours of the race dolphins guided us towards the finish line as we left a long trail of phosphorescence in our wake making it a near perfect finish,' continues Richard.
On Saturday, the Race Committee sent every skipper of the ten-strong fleet revised instructions for Race 10 which contained an anticipated shortening to the course.
'The Clipper Race Committee, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, shortened the course for Race 10 by selecting one of the pre-existing gates within the Course Instructions as the new finish line,' explains Race Director Joff Bailey.
'This line is perpendicular to the route and is long enough so that it does not adversely affect any team tactics.
'The Race Committee has taken this decision after it was advised by the Panama Canal Authorities that there would be shutdown period on the Panama Canal locks over the coming weeks and the lighter than expected wind strengths on this section of the race and the need to maintain the overall race schedule.'
Further to Saturday’s developments and after careful assessment of each team’s position the Race Committee decided yesterday (Monday) evening to finish the back markers of the fleet; Derry-Londonderry, Geraldton Western Australia, Singapore, New York, Qingdao and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, using one of the earlier mandatory gates.
Derry-Londonderry beat Geraldton Western Australia to fifth place with just four minutes separating the two teams, while seventh and eighth place were secured by Singapore and New York respectively with Qingdao grabbing ninth place ahead of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital.
With Gold Coast Australia claiming victory the race for the final remaining positions of Race 10 are still up for grabs as Welcome to Yorkshire, De Lage Landen and Visit Finland continue to battle it out.
'We’re very excited about coming up to the finish line,' reports De Lage Landen, skipper Stuart Jackson.
'We have enjoyed the enthralling cat and mouse race we have been having with Visit Finland, Welcome to Yorkshire and Gold Coast Australia. Our thoughts will soon be turning to Panama and transiting the canal, a first for all on board. In the meantime the final push is on to make sure our position is maintained for the next few hours.'
Hoping to come out on top in the final drag race to the line is Welcome to Yorkshire’s skipper, Rupert Dean.
'The suspense is palpable as Welcome to Yorkshire approaches the finish line. With just three yachts left in the race, precious little separation exists between De Lage Landen, Visit Finland and Welcome to Yorkshire.
Welcome to Yorkshire at the start of Race 10 from San Francisco to Panama - Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
'At the 0000 UTC report, Welcome to Yorkshire had taken third position from Visit Finland, by virtue of the stronger winds found in her southerly position. Can she do the same to De Lage Landen?'
After securing seventh place, Singapore skipper, Ben Bowley, is more than pleased with his crew’s performance.
'We had excellent breeze throughout the night which was a welcome respite from the windless day we'd endured yesterday. We made good progress thanks to this, and accurate trimming and helming, with the crew maintaining its focus throughout.
'Spirits rose considerably when we discovered that we were sixth after the other yachts (apart from
Welcome to Yorkshire) came out of Stealth Mode, and the sight of New York astern of us was a real boost to morale,' continues Ben.
'Both watches redoubled their efforts and gradually we watched New York recede into the horizon.
'The email from the Race Office announcing that we had finished, and that we were seventh, was greeted with jubilation when it came in - and not a moment too soon as the wind almost as if on cue dropped away.
'After our time in tenth place and the struggles we had with the heat and windless conditions we are all pretty pleased to have kept going and got into seventh, and feel rewarded for our efforts.'
Gareth Glover, skipper of New York, was hoping to reduce the gap between his team and their Singapore rivals but had to settle with equalling their points haul for Race 10.
'After winning the Ocean Sprint we will come out of this race on the same points as Singapore, which will help on the overall standings. We now don't need eight people for each watch and have put in a three watch system whist we are motoring and the next five days to Panama will be filled with maintenance and cleaning.
'After ourselves and Singapore went further north to pick up more wind we managed to overtake Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Qingdao, but we were unable to hold off Singapore in the last six hours and in the night they just got a little more wind and crossed the line less than a few hours after 15 days of racing.
It was a photo finish in the battle for fifth place as Derry-Londonderry crossed the finish line just four minutes ahead of Geraldton Western Australia.
Derry Londonderry - The Clipper Race fleet left Jack London Square in Oakland on 14 April to start Race 10, to Panama - Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
'A very good result, bearing in mind that we had slipped way back to tenth (from second) and fought our way back up in light and fluky wind conditions!' explains Mark Light, skipper of Derry-Londonderry.
'Now our concentration is switched to getting our boat safely and efficiently into Panama all ready for our transit thro the canal from the Pacific Ocean and into the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean)...yet another milestone!'
After a furious fight to the line Geraldton Western Australia, skippered by Juan Coetzer, had to settle for sixth place after a valiant fight with the Northern Ireland entry.
'After a slow days sailing and a beautiful sunset, the wind disappeared again. We sat stationary with our sails just flapping from side to side,' reports Juan.
'We even got the wind seeker out. Eventually some breeze filled in and we got ready to hoist a kite. ‘Ready on the bow, Ready at mast, Ready on sheets- Hoist away.....Aah that looks like the heavyweight... oops.’'
'So down came the heavyweight and up went the lightweight kite. Soon enough we were gliding through the water again. The race was shortened today and we reckon it may have been a photo finish; we were about 70 miles south of Derry-Londonderry.
'So engine checks were done, sails lowered and then we notice a bird sitting on the mast light. So Ian Geraghty was sent up to scare the bird away. This bird had some attitude and would not budge, but after some encouraging words, it flew away.'
The first teams are expected to reach Panama later this week where they will await their slot to pass through the canal before commencing Race 11 to New York.
Positions at 1200 UTC, Tuesday 1 May 2012
1 Gold Coast Australia - Finished
2 Welcome to Yorkshire - Racing
3 De Lage Landen - Racing
4 Visit Finland - Racing
5 Derry-Londonderry - Finished
6 Geraldton Western Australia - Finished
7 Singapore - Finished
8 New York - Finished
9 Qingdao - Finished
10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital - Finished
Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found online.
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website