News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – Downwind dramas

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – Downwind dramas

'The Clipper 11-12 fleet with Corcovado in the background ahead of the start of Race 3 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.'    Daniel Zeppe/onEdition

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011-2012 third race, from Rio De Janeiro to Cape Town, is currently underway. A day of downwind sailing has resulted in gear damage and torn sails across the fleet after the long-awaited wind filled in.

With the spinnakers flying again, frustration has turned to excitement and in some cases drama, as a number of teams have reported damage overnight on the fourth day of race three.

Stuart Jackson and his team on De Lage Landen continue to hold onto a narrow lead in their easterly position. After sailing under the medium weight kite all day yesterday, the Dutch team changed to the heavy weight spinnaker at sunset.

'We were romping along and I was having a little sleep in my bunk when I was called on deck as the spinnaker halyard had snapped. We had to quickly retrieve it from the water to avoid damage. On the down side there was no fruits de mer in our catch!' Stuart reports.

On Gold Coast Australia, high octane surfing turned to drama when the spinnaker pole snapped in half.

'There are times in ocean racing when things do not go as they should, and last night we experienced one of those moments when our spinnaker pole snapped in half, shearing the spinnaker pole end clean off in the process,' skipper Richard Hewson reports.

'The crew handled the situation very well and we dropped the heavyweight spinnaker intact, hoisted the Yankee 2 as a replacement and re-wooled the heavyweight spinnaker in preparation for the next hoist at dawn if the conditions are suitable,' he added.

For the Gold Coast Australia crew, Singapore is their nearest rival with just a mile separating the two boats at the latest position report. The crews are still hoping to find more wind down south, but skipper Richard Hewson offered another clue as to why he has opted for a southerly course in this morning’s report.

'My home is at 42 degrees south, and the further we head south the more I feel closer to home and in my element. Though we are not in the Southern Ocean, the remoteness, beauty and energy of this environment is incredible,' he said adding that had a pod of pilot whales or false killer whales surrounding the boat yesterday. 'One dived just under the bow and I had to yell for everybody to hold on as I thought we were going to hit it,' Richard said.

Rupert Dean also reports that it has been a big night for the crew on Welcome to Yorkshire. After a day of running deep downwind under the medium weight kite, the team hoped to wait for daybreak to change down to the heavyweight kite on double halyards.

'Alas it was not to be. On easing the pole forward the beak [holding the guy rope] at the end of the pole exploded. Something up the rig caught the collapsed kite, causing a simple but major tear down one side. To the crew's credit, we got it down quickly without panic, before hoisting the Yankee 2, staysail and hardening up onto a beam reach to head south east again,' Rupert reports.

'Having sustained no kite damage since leaving Southampton back in July, to have a major repair to do on the medium weight is a major blow and, following a quick debrief on the situation, we allowed ourselves a group scream which certainly made us feel better,' Rupert added.

Derry-Londonderry at the start of Race 3 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race -  Daniel Zeppe/onEdition  

Welcome to Yorkshire was not the only team to have snapped off the spinnaker pole beak end fitting, with Mark Light on Derry-Londonderry reporting the same damage.

'Just before dinner and completely without warning the cast beak end fitting on our working starboard pole snapped clean off, leaving the pole swaying around and clattering twice into our forestay,' Mark said.

'As usual, the Derry-Londonderry crew leapt into action and we managed to lower and secure the pole, collapse the spinnaker behind the mainsail so that we could get to spike it and carried a faultless conventional drop before any sail damage occurred. All in all, a great effort,' he added.

In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams are penalised for avoidable sail and equipment damage sustained during the race. Penalty points are awarded for damage to sails and other onboard equipment such as spinnaker poles and deck gear according to the rules set out in the Clipper Sailing Instructions. For example, four points are deducted when a spinnaker needs to be replaced and the points are taken from the team’s overall tally.

Race Director Joff Bailey explains, 'This is an important element of the Clipper Race as it encourages skippers and crews to take care of their boats for the long haul, after all it is a marathon and not a sprint. The rules have been developed over the previous seven Clipper Races and they are aimed at encouraging caution and promoting good seamanship.

'We’ve seen reports of equipment damage from a number of boats overnight and if required penalty points will be awarded to the teams involved after the Cape Town stopover in accordance with the Clipper Sailing Instructions. Following the Rio stopover several teams are very close to having penalty points awarded due the amount of professional sail repair undertaken and the Clipper Race Committee is currently deciding what actions to take but it is looking like no team will be penalised from Race 1 and 2,' Joff said.

Sightings of whales have been reported across the fleet. On New York, round the world crew member Raghu Gopalakrishnan, said high spirits onboard now that the team is making good progress to the Scoring Gate were further lifted by a close encounter with a humpback whale.

'The highlight of the day was a humpback whale breaching clean out of the water about 50 metres off the port side and making the biggest splash I have ever seen. We could see the water mark where it landed for almost a minute!' Raghu reports.

Singapore at the start of Race 3 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. -  Daniel Zeppe/onEdition  

On Singapore, the relief felt when the wind finally filled in was tempered by the knowledge that the boats to the north were getting the same conditions.

'Sunrise brought bad news in terms of new Grib [weather] files showing that the northerly boats had not suffered with light fickle winds for any longer than we had,' skipper Ben Bowley said.

However, the crew of Singapore breathed a heavy sigh of relief when they hoisted their heavily-repaired heavyweight kite, dubbed ‘Sticky Vicky’ due to the amount of spinnaker repair tape that has been used to patch it together.

'After we hoisted her, we held our breath and sheeted on, half expecting her to fill then pop, but so far so good!' Ben said.

Juan Coetzer, skipper on Geraldton Western Australia, reports that his team has also been flying its heavyweight spinnaker. With a distance of 110 miles logged in the last 12 hours, Juan will be relieved to be making good progress towards the port where he lived and worked for many years.

'We had a big wind shift in the early hours of the morning that meant we were heading north east. So down came the spinnaker and up went the Yankee 2 and stay sail, and now we’re power reaching and maintaining a good course,' Juan said.

Although the team on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital has had their fair share of drama overnight, they have managed to avoid any costly damage.

'We found the wind and everything was going beautifully until one of the spinnaker sheet snap shackles decided to pop open during a twin pole gybe. We found ourselves screaming downwind with two poles up and the medium weight spinnaker flapping like a good ‘un attached to only one pole.'

The team managed to get the flapping sail down between the two poles and down the forward hatch without sustaining any damage.

'They talk about the luck of the Irish but on this occasion the Scottish yacht was lucky, and we managed to get it down without a scratch on it!,' Gordon said, adding that his crew was waiting for daybreak to climb the mast to inspect the spinnaker sheaves to ensure nothing was damaged.

Qingdao in the Clipper 11-12 Race fleet parade of sail in Rio de Janeiro. -  Daniel Zeppe/onEdition  

Qingdao continues to chase down De Lage Landen and Visit Finland at the head of the pack with the Chinese team logging the highest 12-hour run of 119 miles. Ian Conchie reports that a morning of downwind sailing under the medium weight spinnaker was interrupted by a snapped halyard.

'We started off by hoisting our medium weight spinnaker as the wind filled and moved to the west giving us a morning of beautiful sailing under the spinnaker in the sunshine. Then our trusty spinnaker halyard broke dropping the kite into the sea. Luckily this happened during our dog watch at lunchtime so the whole crew was on deck to help gather the spinnaker really quickly,' he said.

A switch to the heavyweight proved beneficial as the wind built before another shift forced a change to white sails, Ian reported.

'Then, just to top it all off, the kicker broke but yet again this crew showed how far they have come in that all the day’s problems were dealt with calmly and quickly,' Ian said.

'We continue to hold third position which is boosting crew morale. We know we’ve yet to see the full extent of all the different strategies played out so we wait on each update like kids awaiting exam results!'

Positions at 0900 UTC, Wednesday 14 September
Boat - DTF*
1 De Lage Landen - 2680nm
2 Visit Finland - 2683nm (+3nm DTL**)
3 Qingdao - 2692nm (+12nm)
4 Welcome to Yorkshire - 2715nm (+35nm)
5 Derry-Londonderry - 2721nm (+41nm)
6 Gold Coast Australia - 2725nm (+45nm)
7 Singapore - 2726nm (+46nm)
8 New York - 2741nm (+61nm)
9 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital - 2768nm (+88nm)
10 Geraldton Western Australia - 2773nm (+110nm)

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

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website

by Heather Ewing


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

11:27 AM Wed 14 Sep 2011 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Related News Stories:

31 Oct 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - First Clipper 70 hits the UK
18 Oct 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to support youth cancer charity
16 Oct 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Deputy Race Director appointed
23 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Victory for Gold Coast Australia
21 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet on final phase
20 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet face tightly packed finish
19 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet head to Southampton
13 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – Qingdao cross Race 14 finish
12 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Race - Singapore first over Race 14 finish
12 Jul 2012  Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Race 14 finish fast approaching

News - USA and the World

Overall race leader, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker) has had an eventful few days since the start in Cape Town on Wednesday. Their goal is to be first home in their home port of Abu Dhabi - six other boats willing. ... [more]  

Usual skipper Seve Jarvin and for’ard hand Sam Newton were joined in the team by James Wierzbowski for today’s race and led from shortly after the to defeat defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor, Dave Ewings) by 38s. Coopers 62-Rag and Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) was a further 21s back in third place. ... [more]  

Brian Carlin, On Board Reporter for Team Vestas Wind reports on the delights of using the 'bathroom' while clocking along at 20kts plus in the Southern Ocean. ... [more]  

At the RC44 Oman Cup the 10 competing teams enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of the 2014 Championship Tour. Racing started in a seven-knot north-westerly breeze which built steadily throughout the day. ... [more]  

The world’s largest sailing media group,, held its first continental group meeting at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) this week. METS is the world’s largest B2B Marine show and this year it had a record 1358 exhibitors and more than 21,000 Marine industry representatives. ... [more]  

At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 2013 World Champion Florian Gruber is expecting the Open Formula Kiteboarding event to be the, 'strongest fleet this year.' ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Fleet heads into the Southern Ocean + Videos *Feature by Richard Gladwell,
At the latest report, Volvo Ocean Race Control, reported Dongfeng Race Team as being the leader in the second leg to Abu Dhabi. Winds were reported to be 18-25kts, with Team Vestas Wind and Team SCA recording the highest boatspeed of 20kts. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Abu Dhabi - The ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is set to be an 'experience of a lifetime' according to American Women's 470 sailor Briana Provancha. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Source named in Bermuda venue leak *Feature by Richard Gladwell,
San Diego sports journalist, Matt Calkins, has named one of the sources of comment that the 35th America's Cup will be held in the British Oversea Territory of Bermuda. Writing in the San Diego Union Tribune, Calkins claimed that San Diego Tourism Authority CEO, Joe Terzi, had told the U-T. ... [more]  

2014 RC44 Oman Cup - Consistency was hard to come by and no team managed to stay in the top half of the fleet in all three races. Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) was the most consistent team of the day picking up 11-points, Nika and Charisma both added 12-points to their overall score. ... [more]  

Team Vestas Wind’s Rob Salthouse perches perilously on the edge of his bunk, eyes fixed on a well-earned freeze-dried feast, steam snaking up towards his nostrils. ... [more]  

Ensuring a safe fuel supply for America’s 12 million registered boat owners may have to wait, said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the agency will further delay the final rule on how much ethanol refiners must blend into the nation’s gasoline supply under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). ... [more]  

Yates Cup: US supermaxi Rio100 wins first offshore race *Feature by Richard Gladwell/
The supermaxi Bakewell-White design, Rio100 (Manouch Moshayedi, USA) has won her first race, sailing in the Yates Cup. She finished at 7.30am on Saturday morning, followed by the Botin 80 Beau Geste 14 minutes later with the Volvo 70 Giacomo 67minutes later. ... [more]  

The wind continued to blow on day four of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup to produce another action packed day in New Caledonia, as a further three races for the men and four races for the women were completed in 15-25 knot winds. By the end of the day Ben Van Der Steen headed to the top of the rankings after a near perfect display. ... [more]  

The Oman RC44 Cup delivered another challenging sailing day for the fleet competing in the final event of the 2014 Championship Tour. Consistency was hard to come by and no team managed to stay in the top half of the fleet in all three races. Team Aqua was the most consistent team of the day picking up 11-points, Nika and Charisma both added 12-points to their overall score. ... [more]  

The fast southeast sailing continues in the Volvo Ocean Race but where excitement and adrenaline began—discomfort has taken over. We’re seeing an average of about 25 knots of wind but the sea state is making life somewhat miserable! ... [more]  

To summarize the last 24 hours of the Volvo Ocean Race in one word: change. The weather, the water, the sails, and our bodies are all equally (and rapidly) changing. The first full day at sea, we have experienced what some trips see in a week—if they’re lucky enough. However, that said, change can also be frustrating. ... [more]  

A new and exciting Viper 640 European Event in 2015 has been announced by Rondar Boats Ltd. Lake Garda is one of the great sailing venues and already there are signed up entries from the UK and Australia, with potential entries from the USA. It’s a serious sailing regatta and Italian holiday in one event! ... [more]  

On Monday 17 November, an impressive line-up of speakers at 13th International Sailing Summit shared ideas and best practice from around the world, demonstrating how the sailing industry can change to increase and retain participation, through innovation, technology and cultural changes. British Cycling has seen its membership grow by 567% since 2005. ... [more]  

GC32 Racing Tour: State-of-the-art in catamaran design, the GC32 is attracting considerable interest due to its conceptual similarity to the AC72 and AC62 foiling catamarans pioneered in the America’s Cup. However as the GC32s are smaller one designs with soft sail rigs, they provide both professional teams and private owners with the opportunity to experience airborne catamaran racing. ... [more]  

Designed primarily for single-handed or double-handed racing, the high-performance monohulls have also been a fixture in such East Coast distance races as Newport-to-Bermuda and Marblehead-to-Halifax. Now the Class 40 is coming to the historic Annapolis-to-Newport Race for the first time. ... [more]  

Spectacular performance by Bakewell-White maxi early in first race *Feature by Richard Gladwell/
The revamped Bakewell-White supermaxi, Rio 100 (Manouch Moshayedi) turned in an impressive performance in the opening stages of the Yates Cup. Sailing against a variety of benchmarks which included a a Volvo 70, a Botin 80 and an ORMA 60, Rio 100 came from behind to enjoy an impressive lead over the monohulls after 90 minutes of sailing. ... [more]  

As promised the wind arrived on the third day of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup to provide an enthralling day of challenging racing in winds ranging from 10-25 knots. After almost seven hours of racing three eliminations have been completed for the men, whilst four races have been completed for the women. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Team New Zealand responds to Venue rumours *Feature by Richard Gladwell/
Emirates Team New Zealand has responded to reports published in Bermuda and mainland USA, that Bermuda has been selected as venue for the 35th America's Cup. In a media release sent mid-afternoon, New Zealand time, Emirates Team NZ CEO Grant Dalton said in response to unconfirmed reports that Bermuda had won the right to host the 35th America’s Cup, that the team had not been told of a decision ... [more]  

Amidst a 10% growth report on having issued over 9000 certificates worldwide in 2014, the recent Annual General Meeting of the Offshore Racing Congress is pleased to announces numerous improvements approved for use in the ORC Rules and policies for 2015. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Leg 2. Team Alvimedica’s OBR Amory Ross reports on the Leg 2 start and progress. Well, now we know what it feels like to be shot from of a cannon! That was utter insanity. When the gun went I think there was almost no wind at all—two knots or something—but as we slowly crept out from under the shadow of Table Mountain it changed drastically. ... [more]  

The start of Leg 2 offered all the wind conditions you could want. I will not lie: I was pretty nervous to begin leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race (Mom called it ‘Stage Fright’); I think the whole team was pretty nervous. Here we are, having confidently completed the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race—after 27 days at sea! ... [more]  

The ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is set to be 'an experience of a lifetime' according to American Women's 470 sailor Briana Provancha. Some of the world’s top Men’s and Women’s 470 teams will make up the individual fleets with some excellent racing on the cards. ... [more]  

After finishing third in the annual RC44 match race championships, Team Nika seem to have got a taste for the podium. It was a tough day on the water for the start of fleet racing at the RC44 Oman Cup, with many teams struggling for consistency. ... [more]  

St Barth Cata Cup 2014 - Game on! by Dominique Ladouceur
The boats are ready and the sailors have all had a chance to test their catamarans in a very rigorous St-John Bay. The conditions will be windy at the start of this seventh edition of the St-Barth Cata Cup. Sailors will be facing winds from the west at 18 knots with gusts at 22 knots on the first race day. ... [more]  

While more modifications are being mooted for the champion supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI as part of her preparation for next month’s Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race, a high-profile new member of the team was revealed on Sydney Harbour today. ... [more]  

Wild Oats XI and Audi are ready to give the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart a shot! Photos by Andrea Francolini. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Meek's tips pay dividend in Leg 2 squalls and calms *Feature by Bob Fisher, Cape Town, South Africa
The seven competing boats in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 roughly gathered at 6pm local time (1600 Zulu) in a south-easterly wind that peaked at 30-40 knots, which had the local habit of dying away to nothing in places along the shoreline in the lee of Table Mountain. The clever skippers has sought advice from Geoff Meek, a local with a mass of experience ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in search of hometown glory
Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Waiting game continues on day 2
Barcelona World Race skippers named as scientific agents
Volvo Ocean Race: Stop-start battle to the Cape of Good Hope
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 starts at high speed in 35kt winds
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA off to gutsy leg 2 start
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Heroes and champions in Nacra 17 fleet
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Talented Finn pack all set
RC44 Oman Cup - Synergy crowned RC44 Match Race Champions
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 start - action replay video from Cape Town
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica on tour in Cape Town
15th Ambassadors Cup - Brazil claims victory
Route du Rhum - Alex Pella first ever Spanish skipper to finish first
SSL Finals 2014 - Star World Champion Stanjek to race with Olesen
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne: Finn fight looming on Port Phillip
Rugby man appointed Chief Executive Officer of Yachting Australia
Welcome back: Congressional Cup Joins Alpari World Match Racing Tour
18ft Skiffs: Smeg's second Red-Line run down Sydney harbour in 40kts *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Start Wednesday - Cyclone season awaits Leg 2 fleet
Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Opening day in New Caledonia
RORC Transatlantic Race - Competitive fleet ready to race   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 Media Conference - Full replay *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Vestas Wind ready to race   
Volvo Ocean Race: Young sailors get behind ADOR ahead of Leg 2   
18fters: Getting through the 'Death Zone' in a 35kt breeze *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race: Sam Davies speaks openly about the first leg *Feature   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final: Exciting 49er and 49erFX action expected   
America's Cup: Significant changes made to Protocol, but issues remain *Feature   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - the 70th   
Stoke Beer 18ft Skiff Auckland Champs: Knight Frank lead after 5 races   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - RS:X elite Abu Dhabi bound   
120 boat start line for Tasar Worlds in Busselton   
Melges 24 U.S. Nationals - Full Throttle team grabs their sixth title   
RC44 Oman Cup - Grand final showdown on the horizon   
Visit Doyle Sails New Zealand at METS 2014   
Top Kiwi Finn sailor debuts in the 2014 Star Sailors League Finals   
2014 Butler Cup - Shane Young wins match race regatta   
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from Nov 16 show *Feature   
2014 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship - Moon wind   
Australian 18ft Skiffs: 40kt winds cancel race but Witt sails + Video   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT