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Clipper Race Dell Latitude Rugged Race: Cape Town to Fremantle - Day 18

by Clipper Ventures 18 Nov 2017 04:15 PST 18 November 2017

Leaderboard standings across the fleet have stayed consistent over the last 24 hours as the leading teams began their Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.

Race leaders, Sanya Serenity Coast, crossed the western start gate first with Skipper Wendy Tuck reporting: "We started the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint last night, so have our spikes on and we are off. This morning has been a bit busy - we decided to go for a hoist of the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker)... All went well, until about one hour later the breeze built up again and what with chippy choppy sea was time to get it down."

Conditions are turning in her favour though and she added: "Now it's getting packed as it looks like we will be able to hold it now as the breeze has changed direction and eased. So, it will be time to drive it like we stole it very soon."

In second place, PSP Logistics has also crossed the starting gate of the Elliot Brown Ocean Spri nt and Skipper Matt Mitchell reports: "We didn't have the fastest start as the wind was a little too much for a spinnaker...We are flying along now though. As I write we have just over 260 miles until the end of the sprint on our current heading."

Having narrowed Sanya Serenity Coast's advantage to around 60 nautical miles, he added: "We have around 1300 nautical miles to go until arrival and the competition is heating up! Our main focus points are both defence and attack at the moment - it's going to be a close finish either way!"

Other teams will continue to cross the start gate of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint throughout the day and Visit Seattle is currently in third place with Dare To Lead and Qingdao in close proximity to each other in fourth and fifth place. Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth commented: "I had a nice chat with Chris Kobusch this morning on VHF as Qingdao has b een our sailing partner for the last 12 hours. Amazing that after 18 days you can be sailing alongside another boat despite taking vastly different tracks."

Unlike the Scoring Gate, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint bonus points are awarded to the three teams with the quickest times. The Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint winners therefore will only be announced once the final team has completed the challenge.

GREAT Britain retains sixth place whilst further back Liverpool 2018 is in seventh place ahead of Unicef in eighth. Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs reports: "The surfing continues, we're pointing in the direction that we want to go. The miles to Fremantle are counting down."

In ninth place, Garmin is preparing for a medevac of crew member, Erik Hellstrom, who is suffering from an abdominal condition [LINK], but Skipper Gaëtan Thomas said: "Erik is in good hands and we will do everything we can to get h im back on track."

Nasdaq, in tenth, is ahead of, in eleventh, and Skipper Rob Graham is looking forward to the start of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint commenting: "In terms of the racing, it's interesting to see the fleet converging once again, as we each plot our best entry point and route across the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, which for us looks as though it will begin overnight tomorrow."

Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that today and much of tomorrow should bring a continuation of the strong WSW/SW winds that the teams currently have. It looks like a high-pressure system will be sliding around Cape Leeuwin as the teams approach Fremantle leading to some fleet compression and an exciting race finish!

To stay up to date with the Clipper Race fleet, keep an eye on the Race Viewer. All positions were correct at time of publishing.

Visit the Team Pages to read the Skipper Blogs in full, and to hear the latest news from the crew.

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