Please select your home edition
Clipper Ventures
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE 2019-20 RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from The Clipper Race

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 9, Day 17: Close racing as date line approaches

by Clipper Race 9 Apr 2018 04:14 PDT 09 April 2018
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 9: The Race to the Emerald City, Day 17 © Clipper Race

The Clipper Race fleet has reached the approximate halfway point of the 5,600 nautical mile race across the North Pacific Ocean to Seattle, and in a sign of how competitive things are, the gap between the top ranked teams continues to tighten.

Sanya Serenity Coast remains in the lead for a third consecutive day, though the chasing pack is right behind, with around 50 nautical miles separating first from the sixth ranked Unicef.

The close proximity of the other teams has not gone unnoticed aboard the third placed Qingdao, whose Skipper Chris Kobusch reports: "Sailing wise, we had a good 24 hour run with decent boat speeds. We gained on most of the fleet and after Unicef crossed our bow yesterday, we saw PSP Logistics passing our stern earlier today. It seems odd that after almost 3000nm of racing and in the middle of the North Pacific we are within sight of two other Clipper 70 yachts within a day."

Whilst the champagne sailing conditions are continuing for most of the fleet, the next 24 to 48 hours will bring about a change as the next low brings southeast to south-southeast gusts of up to 60 knots. Visit Seattle, which steadily making up ground on the rest of the fleet and has climbed two places to eighth, is anticipating an interesting and tactical few days as a result, and Skipper Nikki Henderson says: "We gybed at dawn and now are heading north east. Hoping to avoid the lighter winds sliding in from the west before the next low-pressure system hits, whilst also not overstepping our virtual beach (Northern Limit)."

The currently fourth placed climbed as high as first on the leaderboard overnight due to its close proximity to the rhumb line. It continues to be the most northerly placed of the fleet and Skipper Conall Morrison comments: "We've had a good 24 hour run OF 272 nautical miles from 0600-0600 UTC, just need to keep as many of them as possible in the right direction.

"We have 35 knots of wind here at the moment but believe the boats further south may have a little less which would be conducive to flying Spinnakers. We tried for a couple of hours, it was great fun... but a little wild. The whole crew worked well to drop and recover the sail after being a little overpowered. The evolution went like clockwork and has improved self-belief around the boat."

Whilst all is well with evolutions on board, there were 'kitemares' aplenty overnight. Despite working its way up the standings from sixth to second over the last 24 hours, PSP Logistics lost some steam after a mishap with the Code 3. Skipper Matt Mitchell says: "We were making great progress, absolutely howling along, when the helm broached, causing a spinnaker wrap with the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker).

"It was pretty bad but thankfully only around the inner forestay. It took about 4 hours to sort out with a massive effort from everyone, but I don't think the Code 3 will fly again this leg! The Yankee1 will have to bravely take the place of the Code 3 for the time being, already we can see we are a bit off the pace!"

The Sail Repairers on board the ninth placed Liverpool 2018 have also busy but after damaging both the Code 3 and Code 2, Skipper Lance Shepherd reports: "we are back on track, heading northeast at around 12 knots and are prepared to do battle with the next bit of fruity weather."

You can keep up to date on the latest positions of the fleet via the Clipper Race Viewer and hear more from the Skippers and crew on the Team Pages.

The fleet was originally expected to finish Race 9: The Race to the Emerald City and arrive into Bell Harbor Marina between Saturday 14 and Thursday 19 of April, but conditions in the early part of the race means the boats are now expected between Thursday 19 and Saturday 21 April.

Related Articles

The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 28
Thunderstorms and lightning As Race 2: The Commodore's Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay, continues, huge squalls brought powerful wind, driving rain, hail, thunderstorms, and put on a spectacular lightning show for the Clipper Race fleet on the twenty-eighth day of racing. Posted on 13 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 27
Qingdao celebrates in Punta del Este Qingdao is on top of the overall Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race standings after finishing first in the race across the Atlantic Ocean to Punta del Este in Uruguay. Posted on 12 Oct
Chinese take line honours into Punta Del Este
In Race 2 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Visit Sanya, China and Qingdao teams, raced by everyday people from all walks of life, lead the way into Punta del Este, Uruguay, after almost a month at sea. Posted on 12 Oct
Insight into Clipper Race Atlantic crossing
The finish of Race 2 is set to be a thriller After 5,196 nautical miles and 26 days of racing, Qingdao and Visit Sanya, China are neck-and-neck in the final approach to Yacht Club Punta del Este. Posted on 11 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 26
Finish line within grasp of leaders After 26 days and over 5,000 nautical miles of racing, the winner of Race 2: The Commodore's Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay, is expected to be decided today. But who will the winner be, Qingdao or Visit Sanya, China? Posted on 11 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 25
Neck-and-neck in battle for first Leaders Qingdao and Visit Sanya, China remain neck-and-neck as the two teams enter into the final 300nautical miles of Race 2: The Commodore's Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay. Posted on 10 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 24
Final push begins in The Commodore's Cup The countdown clock on Race 2: The Commodore's Cup is definitely ticking, with potentially less than 36 hours of racing to go before a winner is crowned in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Posted on 9 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 23
Qingdao takes the lead On Day 23 of Race 2: The Commodore's Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay, Qingdao has taken the lead from close rival Visit Sanya, China following an interesting and squally 24 hours. Posted on 8 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 22
Visit Sanya's stealthy move After dominating the rest of the Clipper Race fleet for the first 4,000 nautical miles of Race 2: The Commodore's Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay, Visit Sanya, China has fallen off the leaderboard. Posted on 7 Oct
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 21
There is now only just over a week to go until the winner of Race 2 The eleven teams are currently spread over 600 nautical miles (nm) along the Brazilian coastline, with the leading boats having just moved south of Rio de Janeiro. Posted on 6 Oct
MBW newsletters (top)