Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

Clipper Round the World Yacht - Fierce battle for podiums

by Heather Ewing on 20 Nov 2011
Fleet - Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Bruce Sutherland/onEdition
Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet continue on day fifteen of race five, from Western Australia to New Zealand.

'The sense of achievement in fulfilling such a lifelong goal is amazing and at the moment I wouldn't want to be anywhere else,' New Zealander and Gold Coast Australia crew member, Fred Tooley said as his team continued the charge for the finish of race five with a commanding lead.

The retail assistant from Auckland said that the sight of New Zealand’s South Island heralding the end of the Southern Ocean phase of the race bought a tear to his eye yesterday morning.

The 72-year-old’s participation in this race marks the realisation of an ambition held for 35 years, and seeing an advert in Yachting World magazine prompted Fred to apply to take part in leg four of Clipper 11-12 from Geraldton in Western Australia to Gold Coast in Queensland via his homeland of New Zealand.

'All I can say is that if you are thinking about fulfilling a dream or taking on the challenge of a lifetime, don’t think about it, just do it. You won’t regret it,' Fred said.

'My two main heroes in life are Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Peter Blake and I have watched many videos from the comfort of my couch about their adventures, but after watching them for years I decided that I thought I should give it a go. My theory is that I do what I enjoy and enjoy what I do,' he said.

'I am living the dream and truly believe that you're never too old to learn new tricks and take on new challenges. When this is over, it doesn't mean I have stopped looking for challenges, it just means I need to decide on the next one,' he added.

Throughout December Clipper will be holding a series of crew recruitment presentations and interviews in Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga in New Zealand and Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland in Australia for people interested in participating in Clipper 13-14.

Clipper’s Crew Recruitment Manager, David Cusworth, said, 'Berths are filling up fast for Clipper 13-14 so now is the time to act if you want to get on board for the next edition of the race. With a programme of crew recruitment presentations lined up in New Zealand and Australia next month, I’m looking forward to meeting some of the Australasians who will take up the challenge of a lifetime on our new fleet of Clipper 70s.'


Derry-Londonderry is the latest team to go into Stealth Mode as they close in on Tauranga. Mark Light and his team will be racing under the invisibility cloak until 1800 UTC today, giving the crew representing the UK City of Culture 2013 an opportunity to hide their tactics for a 24-hour period as they battle to secure a podium position.

However, Mark reveals that frustration is the order of the day as they race up the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. 'After flying across the Southern Ocean with great boat speeds taking a few batterings from the usual storms, we now find ourselves crawling rather than flying towards the finish,' he said.

The Derry-Londonderry team knows that they will have a close battle on their hands 'to outrun or outfox' their opponents for second place. 'After over 3,000 miles of ocean racing it has come down to a very subtle and tactical challenge to keep our boat moving fast and in the right direction,' he said.

Mark said his team had worked incredibly hard to get into their current position and to win two valuable bonus points for being the second boat through the race five Scoring Gate. 'Now we are all very determined not to give our position away cheaply. This ocean race may well be a marathon not a sprint, but right now it is very definitely a match race to the finish,' he said.

One of the players in that match race is set to be New York. Gareth Glover reports that his team has also been slowed down over the last 24 hours by light winds making for slow progress towards Tauranga.

'There are still five yachts that can take any of the podium spots and we are still looking for one of them,' he said.

Gareth is hoping that his move to place New York in what he believes will be the best position to benefit from the filling wind will pay off.

'After all the hard work the crew of New York has put in over this race it will be tough if one [podium position] doesn’t go to us but I know the other yachts feel the same,' he added.

On Welcome to Yorkshire, Rupert Dean’s team is not only racing against the rest of the fleet but also against time. The crew is battling to make as much progress as possible with repairs to their medium weight spinnaker which is strewn out below decks before the forecasted high winds and rough seas hit them tomorrow morning (local time).

'The crew involved are working very hard to ensure it all goes together properly with no twists in the repair, which is very difficult to do in such a cramped and confined space,' Rupert said.

He added that overcast skies and continuous rainfall are indicative of the complex slow-moving fronts over the area.

Meteorologist Simon Rowell continues to provide the teams with the latest weather information on a daily basis. This morning he informed the fleet that as they head north, or continue north in Singapore’s case, they will encounter low pressure weather modified by the land masses of the North and South Islands, in particular the gap between them, the Cook Strait.

'From about 2000 UTC today until 0600 UTC tomorrow, they will get a funnelling effect through there with gusts up to about 60 knots at times,' Simon said.

For now the wind is conspicuous by its absence and Stuart Jackson on De Lage Landen reports that his team has been getting a wet welcome to New Zealand with around 12 hours of rain and very little wind.

Conditions don't look to get markedly better for another 24 hours. 'This is due to a couple of little complex low pressure systems that have decided to go through our path, so we are looking forward to the south westerlies that are due to come in,' Stuart said.

With just over 600 miles left to run to the finish and land within sight, minds on the Dutch entry are turning to reaching Tauranga. 'Everyone is keen to have some time to do a few activities in New Zealand from relaxing to adrenaline-fuelled pursuits for those who haven't had enough in the last couple of weeks!' he said.


On Visit Finland, the focus is on pulling back a couple of places before rounding East Cape at the top of the North Island. 'Having fallen back from second into sixth during the run for the Scoring Gate earlier in the race, it would be fantastic to climb back up the leader board,' skipper, Olly Osborne, said, adding that the opportunity might present itself as the fleet encounters more variable upwind conditions.

Olly said that after rounding the bottom of Stewart Island at dawn yesterday, the Visit Finland team is now heading northward through a very different seascape towards the 'much-awaited' North Island.

'The big swell of the deep water that we have become used to is gone and it seems eerily quiet at times when the wind drops. The weather is keeping us on our toes too with the speed and direction changing rapidly. Last night we found ourselves beating into a gale and we are now ghosting along at barely four knots with our biggest sail plan up,' Olly said.

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital has emerged from Stealth Mode in seventh place and skipper, Gordon Reid, reports that the Purple Beastie is taking chunks from the rest of the fleet.

'We are chasing the breeze and seeking to maximise our sail plan at every opportunity. The crew is working harder than ever with all requests for sail changes being executed with perfect precision,' Gordon said.

'The cold front has caught up with a warm front and occluded bringing with it drizzle, rain, sea fog and light variable winds. There is wind out there and we are still moving and giving chase, whilst flying our spinnaker in a less conventional upwind configuration,' he added.

The flatter conditions have made life a little easier below decks and the Edinburgh Inspiring Capital team has been busy working through the list of the routine jobs ahead of their arrival in Tauranga.

On Geraldton Western Australia, Juan Coetzer and his team have had a 'crazy yet exciting' 24 hours with a plethora of sail changes and reefs.

'In that period we approached the continental shelf and saw the biggest rollers thus far creating some interesting surfing conditions,' Juan said.

'Close reaching in 40 knots and riding the swell at 10 to 14 knots just shows you how seaworthy and entertaining these boats can be,' he said, referring to the performance of the Clipper 68s which will be replaced by a brand new fleet of 12 Clipper 70s for Clipper 13-14.

Despite the wind disappearing forcing the team to switch to their medium weight kite in order to ghost along in light airs, spirits were boosted as the clouds lifted a little to give the Geraldton Western Australia crew a first glimpse of New Zealand.

Following their retirement from race five after a pit stop at Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne, Singapore has been taking a northerly route towards Tauranga.

'The last 24 hours has been much like sailing the English Channel or North Sea in autumn time with grey, humid, overcast skies laced with perpetual drizzle and occasional heavy rain showers,' skipper, Ben Bowley, reports.

'Instead of the wind being dead on the nose, it is dead astern, light and the confused sea state rules out the option of a spinnaker,' Ben said, adding that the gusty winds associated with cold fronts had demanded vigilance for rapidly shifting wind directions throughout the night.

Ben said that he hoped that tomorrow will bring more consistent breeze and a more ordered wave set to enable his team to hoist their newly-repaired medium spinnaker. An attempt today was aborted when a hole was spotted and the sloppy conditions raised the prospect further damage if the sail wrapped in the rigging.

The team on Qingdao has enjoyed a 'glorious sunrise and a nice 20 knot westerly' after a night spent in fog and drizzle. This gave Ian Conchie and his crew the opportunity to hoist their medium weight kite to make some good boat speed towards the finish.

'We spent the day conducting kite drills and we ended up this afternoon under our heavyweight kite. Hopefully this breeze will hold to see us past the bottom of New Zealand and on up the coast,' Ian said.

'Despite our lowly position [following medevac of injured crew member Jo Sandford] we have been receiving lots of support from our friends and family back home which continues to spur us on to the finish,' he said.

Looking ahead to their stopover in New Zealand, Ian said that although his crew accepted that it was unlikely to be their 'best rest', they deserved to be very proud of themselves given what they have dealt with on this leg in terms of wind, injuries and other challenges.


On Gold Coast Australia, Richard Hewson and his team have been experiencing the lull before the storm as they endeavour to protect their lead from the chasing pack.

'Very light winds have made sailing up the coast of New Zealand very interesting but also very peaceful and relaxing, but we must not become too complacent as a rather large blow is imminent tonight,' Richard said.

In addition to the weather information provided by Simon Rowell, the skippers are also picking up local inshore forecasts over the VHF radio. Richard said that today the announcer read out a forecast for winds of 45 knots increasing to 55 knots in the evening and 65 knots tomorrow morning.

'This is definitely the most extreme inshore forecast I have heard over VHF radio,' Richard said, adding that the winds were forecast for a location 150 miles ahead of their current position and just 50 miles off their track.

'The crew is now getting used to stowing gear ready for a storm as in these waters the drill seems to occur twice a week,' he added.

The local wildlife has been welcoming the frontrunner to New Zealand’s shores. In addition to inquisitive seals poking their heads up around the boat, Richard reports that Gold Coast Australia has been surrounded by no less than 20 albatross flying together, a rare sight for an animal known for its solitary behaviour.

With the albatross varying in size and species, Richard said his team suspects that they witnessed a gliding class in full swing as the young learn the fundamentals prior to heading down to the Southern Ocean.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Sunday 20 November
Boat - DTF*
1 Gold Coast Australia - 532nm
2 New York - 604nm (+72nm DTL**)
3 Welcome to Yorkshire - 636nm (+104nm)
4 De Lage Landen - 643nm (+111nm)
5 Visit Finland - 666nm (+135nm)
6 Derry-Londonderry - 702nm (+170nm) Stealth Mode until 1800 20/11
7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital - 780nm (+248nm)
8 Geraldton Western Australia - 812nm (+280nm)
9 Qingdao - 992nm (+460nm)
10 Singapore - 1,670nm (Retired) Position at 0600

DTF* = Distance to Finish, DTL** = Distance to Leader Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found online.

www.clipperroundtheworld.com" target="_blank">Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website

Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Barz Optics - FloatersWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - First Clipper 70 hits the UK
The first of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race’s new fleet of 12 70-foot ocean racing yachts arrived in Felixstowe. The first of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race’s new fleet of 12 70-foot ocean racing yachts arrived in Felixstowe UK last night, Monday 29 October 2012, marking the beginning of a new era for the race.
Posted on 31 Oct 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to support youth cancer charity
For the Clipper Round the World Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dame Ellen MacArthur will a launch charity initiative. For the world’s longest ocean race, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, British yachting icons Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dame Ellen MacArthur will launch a charity initiative. 'It has never been the cancer that has worried me but the depression that came with it...Of all the medicines she had, this one - the trip - was the one that made her better!'
Posted on 18 Oct 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Deputy Race Director appointed
Clipper Ventures has named Mark Light as Deputy Race Director of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Clipper Ventures has named Mark Light as Deputy Race Director of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Mark is an accomplished yachtsman and previous race skipper. 'I am absolutely delighted and feel very privileged to take on the role of Deputy Race Director,' said Mark Light.
Posted on 16 Oct 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Victory for Gold Coast Australia
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race came to an exciting end today as thousands gathered to watch the fleet’s arrival. The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race came to an exciting end today as thousands gathered to watch the fleet’s arrival in Southampton, UK. Gold Coast Australia secured the overall win, as the non-professional crews onboard all 10 ocean racing yachts marked the end of a 40,000 mile challenge of a lifetime.
Posted on 23 Jul 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet on final phase
Clipper Round the World Race fleet are playing every last card up their sleeves in a battle for final podium position Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on the third day of race fifteen, from Den Helder to Southampton. As the ten 68-foot ocean racing yachts start their final full day of racing in the series, the teams are playing every last card up their sleeves in a battle for the final podium position.
Posted on 21 Jul 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet face tightly packed finish
Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on the second day of race fifteen, from Den Helder to Southampton. Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on the second day of race fifteen, from Den Helder to Southampton. With just three days until the world’s longest ocean race concludes in Southampton, the ten strong teams of racing yachts face a tightly packed finish, as the teams fight it out for the final podium position
Posted on 20 Jul 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet head to Southampton
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet started race fifteen, from Den Helder to Southampton, at 11:00 GMT, today Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet started race fifteen, from Den Helder to Southampton, at 11:00 GMT today, Thursday 19th July. As the fleet contended with fierce winds of 20-25 knots, De Lage Landen was first to cross the line in its home port, closely followed by Gold Coast Australia and Singapore.
Posted on 19 Jul 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – Qingdao cross Race 14 finish
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - The Chinese entry Qingdao has arrived into the Netherlands Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on day seven of race fourteen from Derry-Londonderry to Den Helder. The Chinese entry Qingdao has arrived into the Netherlands after fiercely fighting the 800 mile race from Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland in the penultimate stage of the 40,000-mile Clipper Race.
Posted on 13 Jul 2012
Clipper Round the World Race - Singapore first over Race 14 finish
Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race - The final push for a podium position went down to the wire this morning Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on day six of race 14 from Derry-Londonderry to Den Helder. After a tough tussle with light winds the final push for a podium position went down to the wire this morning and crossing the finish line off the coast of the Netherlands at 0724 UTC, Singapore secured its first win in the Clipper 11-12 Race series with victory in race 14
Posted on 12 Jul 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Race 14 finish fast approaching
In the Clipper Round the World Race, Race 14 has proved to be one of the most tightly contested of the 11-12 edition. In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Race 14 has proved to be one of the most tightly contested of the 11-12 edition with places on the leader board continuing to change in the remaining hours of the 800-mile sprint to Den Helder on the northern coast of the Netherlands.
Posted on 12 Jul 2012