New York claims victory in Race 6 - Clipper 07-08

New York claims victory in Race 6 - Clipper 07-08

New York has claimed a Valentine’s Day victory at the end of Race 6 from Singapore to Qingdao, China, arguably the toughest race so far of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race.

By crossing the finish line at the East China Sea Gate at 0348 local time on 14 February 2008 (1948 GMT, 13 February 2008), the US team has notched up their third victory to date and the provisional result catapults them up the overall leader board, putting them in serious contention for a final podium position.

Skipper of New York, Duggie Gillespie, said: “We’re very relieved to have crossed the line in first place. It has been physically hard race for us all and the crew have learned and experienced conditions I don't think many will want to see again. We persevered throughout and I’m really pleased for the crew that we have won this different but very tough leg.”

Following a fierce battle for the remaining two podium positions, Durban 2010 and Beyond just managed to sneak ahead of their closest rivals Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper. Providing there are no protests when the fleet reaches Qingdao, their second place result in Race 6 means the South African team will hold onto their overall position at the top of the leader board.

Skipper of Durban 2010 and Beyond, Ricky Chalmers, expressed his relief at the end of the race and praised his crew on their efforts: 'We are delighted with our podium position, but I am much happier with the fact that we have managed to sail this very difficult race and come out at the finish with no injuries to the crew. We have had a few breakages, mainly to ropes – five Yankee sheets, one staysail halyard and a reef 2 line. But, on the whole, it is to be expected on a tough upwind leg like the one we’ve have just had. All the sails and the boat itself are still in good shape and the way in which the team has adapted and coped with the difficult conditions has been magnificent.”

The skipper from Durban went on to congratulate the other teams who finished in podium positions and gave a special mention to Jamaica, following their outstanding performance. Ricky said: “Special congratulations to Jamaica who pulled out an impressive lead at the beginning of this race and held onto it for all but the last few days. Well done to everyone onboard.”

Due to the particularly gruelling nature of the race from Singapore, with relentless headwinds and rough seas, the fleet made slower than expected progress to the finish in Qingdao. The conditions have taken their toll on both the boats and the crews, who have also had to cope with extreme temperatures ranging from tropical heat to freezing wind chill. Based on reports coming back from the boats a decision was made yesterday by the Race Committee to shorten the course, using provisions provided within the Clipper sailing instructions and the International Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

Clipper Race Committee Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “The main consideration in this decision is to allow sufficient time for the skippers and crews to carry out routine in-port maintenance in preparation for the next race to Hawaii. The Race Committee believes that this is the best course of action to ensure the overall safety and well-being of the fleet.”

All of the teams were instructed to finish either when they passed through the ‘East China Sea Gate’, approximately 230 nautical miles south-east of the original finish line, or at 0000GMT on 14 February, whichever was sooner. The finishing order for Race 6 is therefore calculated based on the elapsed time of the race when a boat crossed the pre-determined gate or on the distance to this shortened finish line, whichever is appropriate.

As New York was the only boat to cross the finish line prior to the 0000 GMT deadline the remaining team positions were calculated on their DTFs at that time.

Subject to any protests when the fleet arrives in Qingdao, the provisional results for Race 6 are as follows:

1 - New York
Finished at East China Sea Gate at 1948 GMT, 13 February 2008

2 - Durban 2010 and Beyond
Position at 0000 GMT: 32 33.280N 123 29.841E
Distance To Finish (DTF) = 5.8 nautical miles

3 - Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper
Position at 0000 GMT: 32 22.810N 123 16.180E
DTF = 11.1 nautical miles

4 - Hull & Humber
Position at 0000 GMT: 31 19.804N 123 07.548E
DTF = 67.2 nautical miles

5 – Jamaica
Position at 0000 GMT: 31 18.584N 123 09.078E
DTF = 68.7 nautical miles

6 -
Position at 0000 GMT: 31 36.208N 124 06.500E
DTF = 70.2 nautical miles

7 - Uniquely Singapore
Position at 0000 GMT: 31 07.490N 123 25.700E
DTF = 85.1 nautical miles

8 - Liverpool 08
Position at 0000 GMT: 31 20.500N 125 27.333E
DTF = 109.3 nautical miles

9 - Nova Scotia
Position at 0000 GMT: 30 42.620N 124 36.240E
DTF = 130.2 nautical miles

10 - Qingdao
Position at 0000 GMT: 28 02.330N 123 29.490E
DTF = 288.9 nautical miles

The fleet is now motor-sailing to the brand new Olympic Sailing Marina in Qingdao, which will host the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The first boats are expected to arrive during the day tomorrow, 15 February, and it is hoped that the final boat will be alongside by the end of the day on Sunday 17 February.