Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - De Lage Landen finishes third, in race three, to claim their first podium position, just over three hours behind Visit Finland yesterday.
It is a remarkable achievement for the team led by Southampton-based skipper, Stuart Jackson, who only took command of the yacht in Rio de Janeiro just four days before the start of this race. The crew also picked up the maximum three bonus points at the Scoring Gate during the 3,300-mile race across the south Atlantic.
The 68-foot ocean racing yacht crossed the finish line against the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain at 2330 local time (2130 UTC) on Tuesday. The team had been in a strong position for most of the race, in the latter stages piling the pressure on second placed Visit Finland.
Earlier on Tuesday the race was won by Gold Coast Australia, who has completed a hat trick of victories so far in Clipper 11-12. Richard Hewson and his team secured their third consecutive win crossing the finish line off Cape Town at 1256 local time (1056 UTC) with their latest result keeping them firmly at the top of the leader board.
Visit Finland secure second place - Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011-12 - Bruce Sutherland/onEdition
A while later Visit Finland scored a second podium finish seeing off the challenge from De Lage Landen.
Olly Osborne and his crew crossed the finish line in Table Bay at 2022 local time (1822 UTC) last night. The team had been in a strong position for most of the race, in the latter stages seeing off stiff competition from the Dutch entry.
Arriving in the V and A Waterfront, Olly said, 'It really was right down to the wire with De Lage Landen hot on our heels for the last week. It was punch for punch and we were more or less equal at the scheds. To be honest I really thought they had us at one stage but we just pipped them today.'
Meanwhile, the remaining seven boats are still racing and a fierce battle is underway between Welcome to Yorkshire, Derry-Londonderry, New York and Qingdao with just five miles separating the four teams in terms of their respective distances to the finish.
Welcome to Yorkshire has had a good 24 hours, overtaking both Qingdao and New York to move up to joint fifth place, and now posting the same distance to the finish as Derry-Londonderry.
Rupert Dean and his team will be keen to sweep up as many of the remaining points on offer after picking up an additional bonus point for being the fastest team in the Ocean Sprint between 5 degrees west and 2 degrees east.
'It's all hotting up as the race into Cape Town draws to a close and it looks like there could be a fight to the finish,' Rupert said.
'We have placed ourselves south [of the rest of the fleet] and below a local high pressure system. Hopefully this means we will be able to close the gap further over the final 200 miles,' he said.
Rupert said it his crew had had a busy night dealing with wind shifts and fluctuating wind speeds.
'It was certainly an enjoyable night as, when kept busy, those night watches always pass by much quicker. It was also good to try out a couple of new things so let's hope our efforts have won us some miles,' Rupert said.
Despite losing a place to Welcome to Yorkshire during a 'frustrating 24 hours', Qingdao remains in the thick of it and has managed to hold the advantage over New York but only just. With Derry-Londonderry and Welcome to Yorkshire just three miles ahead fifth place is within striking distance for Ian Conchie and his crew.
'After days of watching boats pull away from us it has been our turn to close in on the boats ahead of us. The fluky wind has allowed the fleet to bunch which could lead to a mix up in positions,' Ian said.
'The plan for the next 24 hours is to continue trying to sail as fast as we can (5 knots is the current target speed) and try and get the best result we can,' Ian said.
Derry-Londonderry at the start of Race 3 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race - Daniel Zeppe/onEdition
On Derry-Londonderry, currently level-pegged with Welcome to Yorkshire, Mark Light said his team had also had 'a very long day and night drifting around going in no particular direction'.
'In a cruel stroke of bad luck we were left completely becalmed for about 18 hours yesterday and we managed to creep less than seven miles in six hours yesterday afternoon,' Mark said.
'We tried everything we could to make our boat speed anything above the depressing 0.0 knots constantly shown on our speed gauge using the Yankee 1, staysail, lightweight spinnaker and windseeker in various combinations,' he said.
'It was very painful to see not only Singapore overtake us, but also to watch New York and Qingdao keep on sailing and eating up the miles between us. All the time we had to just sit there just staring blankly at our precious lead being eroded away,' he said.
'But with almost 150 miles to run I feel that there may yet be more twists and turns left to unfold before the full-bodied lady has finished her solo,' he added.
On Geraldton Western Australia, Juan Coetzer and his crew opted to go into Stealth Mode after taking a chunk out of Welcome to Yorkshire’s lead over them yesterday. When they re-emerge at the 1200 UTC position report today, it will be revealed whether they have managed to keep the pressure on the English team.
Although Juan and his crew are keen to move up the leader board, they do not want to be over-powered as they know they need to preserve their equipment for the long haul. 'The crew has been doing head sail changes on a regular basis in order to keep boat speed up and to look after our sails for the long term,' he said.
'The crew is giving it their all but there’s no point in over-pressing the boat with too much sail up as it is bad for the rigging, sails and, most importantly, the steering gear,' Juan said.
On Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, also currently in Stealth Mode, one crew member is particularly looking forward to the next stopover. Nick Barclay, a 30-year-old supply chain manager from Cape Town, is looking forward to catching up with friends and family in his home city.
Nick’s life was transformed by a kidney transplant in 2005, and he is now doing the full 40,000-mile circumnavigation on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital as one of a number of transplant medics and patients to promote the potential of organ donation to transform lives. The project is led by fellow crew member, Steve Wigmore, professor of transplantation surgery and the clinical lead for transplantation at the University of Edinburgh.
'Prior to my transplant it would have been almost impossible to imagine circumnavigating the globe and without the efforts of Professor Steve Wigmore, I probably wouldn’t be here,' Nick said.
'It feels great to be heading back home to see friends and family. I’m looking forward to seeing Table Mountain and enjoying some creature comforts and the sense of familiarity one feels when home,' he added.
'I can’t wait to show my new friends the sights and sounds of Cape Town. I’m very proud of my country and enjoy showing her off to tourists. I’ve done a fair bit of traveling and Cape Town is by far the prettiest city I’ve encountered, and I’m fortunate enough to call her home,' he said.
Meanwhile, with the first three podium positions now claimed, Singapore is gunning for fourth place but a lack of wind is making the approach to Cape Town frustrating for Ben Bowley and his team. In a one-hour period, Singapore logged a depressing zero miles towards the finish putting the prospect of steak, chips and cold beer on hold until the wind fills in.
'About an hour after writing yesterday's report the dreaded wind hole that I had talked about materialised right over the top of us. We’ve spent the last 24 hours drifting around at times pirouetting through 360 degrees without steerage,' he said.
'We have been fairly resigned to accept our fate and just try and point the boat in the right general direction and hope for the best,' Ben said.
Following the arrival of the first three boats yesterday, Singapore is expected to finish tonight at around midnight local time followed by Derry-Londonderry at 0200. New York and Qingdao are expected at approximately 0400 local tomorrow morning followed around one hour later by Welcome to Yorkshire. Estimated arrival times for Geraldton Western Australia and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital to be posted in due course.
Berths are now available for Clipper 13-14, which will see the introduction of a brand new fleet of 12 70-foot yachts. The Clipper Race runs every two years and is the only event in the world where people from all walks of life can take on the challenge of a lifetime and race around the globe on stripped down ocean racing yachts.
Anyone in Cape Town interested in signing up to take part can look around one of the current fleet this weekend. Between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday the public will be able to get on board one of the yachts at the V&A Waterfront to see what conditions are like on board. Positions at 0900 UTC, Wednesday 28 September Boat - DTF*
1 Gold Coast Australia - Finished at 10:56 UTC 27/09
2 Visit Finland - Finished at 18:22 UTC 27/09
3 De Lage Landen - Finished at 21:30 UTC 27/09
4 Singapore - 118nm (+118nm)
5 Derry-Londonderry - 142nm (+142nm)
6 Welcome to Yorkshire - 142nm (+142nm)
7 Qingdao - 145nm (+145nm)
8 New York - 147nm (+147nm)
9 Geraldton Western Australia - 341nm (+341nm) Stealth Mode until 1155UTC 29/07
10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital - 428nm (+428nm) Stealth Mode until 0559UTC 29/07
*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