Please select your home edition
Edition
WindtBot-PRO-720x90
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE 2017-18 RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from the Clipper 2015-16 Race
UNICEF ABOUT UNICEF

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 10, Day 15: Close competition

by Clipper Race 15 May 04:48 PDT 15 May 2018
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 10: The Garmin American Challenge to Panama, Day 15 © Clipper Race

The leading Clipper Race teams are under pressure, with the light winds off the southern coast of Mexico compressing the fleet and causing some exciting competition on Day 15 of Race 10: The Garmin American Challenge from Seattle to Panama.

The margin between the first seven teams tightened considerably overnight, almost halving to just 18 nautical miles (nm). Qingdao remains in the lead for a tenth consecutive day, but Skipper Chris Kobusch admits it is getting all too close, saying: "We are less than 40nm away from the first mandatory gate and Visit Seattle, Unicef, Dare To Lead, HotelPlanner.com, and Sanya Serenity Coast are all within 10nm. After over 3,000nm of racing, this is pretty amazing.

"We lost quite a few miles to the other boats but had a few good gybes today and managed to stay ahead of Unicef by a mere 2.5nm. And should we make it to the finish, we will have to try to defend the pole position for another 1,239nm..."

After spending 24 hours in Stealth Mode, Visit Seattle returned to public view in third place. Skipper Nikki Henderson is relishing the tight racing, commenting: "Phew - about half an hour ago there were six Clipper 70s all within a 4nm radius after 3,000nm sailing. That is absolutely insane. A matched fleet - and matched ability clearly - with a few wind holes to add to the compression. It's great fun out here. Super close racing requiring lots of brain power, concentration, and delicate sailing. Awesome."

Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth is likewise loving the close competition, adding: "What a day of sailing competition! We make and lose marginal gains on each other and it really is keeping us on our toes and focused on boat speed."

Whilst the top four teams – Qingdao, Unicef, Visit Seattle, and Dare To Lead – are continuing to stay close to the slightly stronger winds along the Mexican coastline, the fifth and sixth placed Sanya Serenity Coast and HotelPlanner.com have opted to gybe west in attempt to make up some ground. HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison reports: "We had a good run last night and had briefly found ourselves in front of Dare To Lead this morning. However, they escaped from our grasp as we held the Windseeker over the Code 1 (Lightweight Spinnaker) a bit too long and they did well in about 6 knots of wind."

The present finish line for Race 10: The Garmin American Challenge is in an area due south of Isla Jicaron in Panama. However, any of the mandatory gates listed in the Course Instructions and viewable on the Race Viewer, may be used as a finish line should the Race Office deem it necessary to conclude the race in interest of the race and crew. With that in mind, the teams are working as hard as possible in the lead up to the first of five gates, though some are hoping this gate won't be the decider.

PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell says: "We are nearly at the first of the gates and our position isn't what we would like so let's hope that the race continues! It looks possible that we can make a few more gates yet before the Clipper Race Office is forced to call the race for our canal transit window."

As Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell reports, the wind is not set to increase in the near future, with the fleet in less of a pressure gradient due to The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), or doldrums, creeping north. But with the spine of Central America generating its own semi-permanent trough, into which a localised gradient is flowing, and the arrival of localised winds due to squalls in the coming days, the fleet will keep moving steadily south.

The race to Panama is expected to take approximately 23 to 26 days, with the fleet expected to arrive between 23 – 27 May. The brief stopover will feature one of the highlights of the Clipper 2017-18 Race – the Panama Canal – which will see the teams bid farewell to the Pacific Ocean and re-enter the Atlantic Ocean ahead of the final three races of the circumnavigation.

To see how progress unfolds ahead of the doldrums, keep an eye on the Clipper Race Viewer. You can also read the daily Skipper Blogs in full on the Team Pages, as well as keep up with the latest on board in the Crew Diaries.

Related Articles

Clipper Race reveals partnership with Zhuhai
Multi-million pound partnership with Chinese City As China experiences rapid growth of its sailing industry, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has revealed that the 'Islands and Sailing' city of Zhuhai, China, is to become a Host Port and Team Partner Posted on 31 Jul
Female skippers dominate the Clipper Race
Only one male on the podium of the 2017/2018 Clipper Round The World Race Tuck and Henderson were joined on the winner's podium by Chris Kobusch (GER; 32), skipper of Qingdao, who was the sole male skipper honored at the victory ceremony. Posted on 30 Jul
Clipper Race makes history in Liverpool
Australian sailor Wendy Tuck becomes first woman to win a round the world yacht race History has been made in Liverpool on Saturday as Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck, became the first ever woman to win a round the world yacht race after leading her Sanya Serenity Coast team to clinch overall victory in the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Posted on 29 Jul
What a race: The Clipper Race skippers reflect
One last sprint remains before the incredible adventure comes to a close Just one last sprint remains before the incredible adventure that has been the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race comes to a close and the party in Liverpool officially begins. Posted on 28 Jul
First Woman to Win a Round the World Yacht Race
History made as Wendy Tuck guides Sanya Serenity Coast team across the line History has been made as Australian Sailor Wendy Tuck becomes the first woman to ever win a round the world yacht race after clinching the overall victory in the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Posted on 27 Jul
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 13, Day 5
There are just hours left in the final race Qingdao, barring any mishap or weather change, seems set to take the win and Skipper Chris Kobusch says: "The tide turned earlier this morning and we are seeing double digits on the speedometer again. Posted on 27 Jul
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 13, Day 4
The end is in sight and the kites are flying The two teams gunning for the overall win – Sanya Serenity Coast and Visit Seattle – remain mid-fleet on day four of the thirteenth and final race of the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Posted on 26 Jul
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 13, Day 3
The final race remains anyone's After dropping in the standings yesterday, Visit Seattle worked hard overnight to move back in touch with the main chasing pack. Skipper Nikki Henderson explains: "Life feels brighter today. Posted on 25 Jul
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 13, Day 2
Dominated by a continued tough upwind beat With the teams tacking and trimming to keep Virtual Mark Hutchings to port, positions are changing all the time, with new race leaders emerging today. Posted on 24 Jul
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 13, Day 1
The final race got underway yesterday following a spectacular stopover The start line, positioned between Greencastle and Magilligan Point was tightly contested. First to cross was Dare To Lead, shortly followed by Unicef and the two teams battling it out for the overall title, Sanya Serenity Coast and Visit Seattle. Posted on 23 Jul
Fever-Tree 660x82Marine Resources BOTTOMAOWBS 2018 - 660x82