Please select your home edition
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
UNICEF ABOUT UNICEF

The Clipper Race surfs into Portimão

by Sarah Lacey 9 Sep 2019 06:41 PDT
Punta del Este - Race 1, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race © Clipper Race

The winners of the first stage of the Clipper 2019-20 Race (Race 1) have crossed the finish line into Portimão. Punta del Este took line honours, after racing 1,200 nautical miles from London, arriving into the Algarvian city at 00:45:22 UTC.

Dare To Lead finished in second place, with Qingdao following closely behind, crossing the line in third at 0:26:00 UTC.

Punta del Este, skippered by Jeronimo from Spain, has a crew ranging in age from 20 to 76 years old and with 19 nationalities including Uruguay, Finland, Australia and Canada. Scooping the top spot in the first race was what every boat strived for, setting the standard for other teams to chase.

Despite only taking six days, the eleven teams in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race have faced tough sailing conditions. Crew had to get used to life on an angle straight away as they faced an upwind slog as they raced along the south coast of the UK. And famous for its rough and stormy conditions, the Bay of Biscay did not disappoint, especially when rounding the southern point, Cape Finisterre. Teams faced squally conditions and gusts up to 30 knots with their intensive four week training coming into its own.

Says Race Director, Mark Light, "The Clipper 2019-20 Race has got off to a great start with a fantastic first race down to Portimão. Huge congratulations go to Punta del Este, who have proven themselves to be the top guns after Race 1 with a brilliant win into Portimão - a great performance!

"During Race 1, all teams have experienced all conditions. And as the fleet entered the notorious Bay of Biscay, the downwind surfing conditions that everyone was waiting for arrived. Strong winds from behind with a following sea are the racing sailors dream. The fleet absolutely screamed down the west coast of Portugal, surfing waves and hitting speeds of up to 30 knots!!

Punta del Este Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez said: "It has been a bit of a challenging one but it feels amazing. My team has worked so hard and I am just ecstatic, just over the moon. I think the moment was when we went through Finisterre. We pushed ourselves so hard day and night, day and night. We won the Ocean Sprint and that kept us motivated and focused."

Winning the very first race has thrilled Team Partner Punta del Este. Commodore of the Yacht Club Punta del Este Juan Etcheverrito said: "We are so proud! This is a well deserved win for our team who represent our country and the Yacht Club Punta del Este outstandingly. Congratulations!"

Another team that saw success in the light conditions was Dare To Lead, who snared second place after finishing one hour and three seconds behind Punta del Este at 01:45:25 UTC.

Dare To Lead Skipper Guy Waites said: "It was a long, long slog today. Definitely felt like the longest day of the whole week.

"It was a great effort by the team and my mate Hugues was fantastic as well. We put a huge amount of effort in for the finish and second place is very much deserved."

Tim Harper, speaking on behalf of Dare To Lead said: "Congratulations, it's been an amazing start to your race, despite the very steep learning curve for all teams in the first few days. This podium place, combined with your competitive spirit, challenging for the lead in Race 1, must have given you fantastic confidence in the team's abilities, and has certainly galvanised very enthusiastic land based support. Well done to you all. You clearly 'Dare to Lead'".

Despite leading for much of the race, Qingdao had to settle for third place after falling victim to the dying breeze off the southern coast of Portugal. However, although Qingdao missed out on the top spot, the team is still looking very good in the standings. As well as collecting nine race points for third, Qingdao also earned three bonus points in Race 1 after being the first team across the Scoring Gate.

Skipper Chris Brooks said: "It was epic, hard work. We tried everything we could and it was just mother nature in the end that didn't allow it to happen. It's great to come third, I think it is a good foundation for Qingdao to go off and win the race.

"Having been the first boat to score points in the race and now coming second overall, we just want to work on that and improve it and be first by the time we arrive in Punta del Este!"

This is the first time the Clipper Race has visited Portimão and the Algarve city has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of its fleet.

Marina Correia, Director General of Marina de Portimão welcomed the teams in announcing to the crew that a week of activities had been planned for them including wine and fish tastings, a four boat rally, museum visit and, of course a Prizegiving to remember. She said, "It is an honour for Portugal to welcome the Clipper Race. We expect seven vibrant days of activities in Portimão, where all the crew and their family and friends can taste and enjoy the sunny Algarve.

The Clipper Race teams will spend a week in Portimão. Marina de Portimao is hosting a rally on Thursday 12 September, with four Clipper Race teams racing from the city to Lagos and back. Yachts will be visible from the shoreline along the coast, providing a spectacle for spectators to enjoy. The Clipper Race will be departing Marina de Portimão on Sunday 15 September, with a parade of sail, showing off the magnificent 70 foot racing yachts in all their glory.

The second race of the circumnavigation will see the first ocean crossing for crew. Teams will be racing 5,195 nautical miles to Host Port Punta del Este in Uruguay.

Related Articles

Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Dario Schwendener
For the 27-year-old, circumnavigating was the ultimate sabbatical For 27-year-old Dario Schwendener, circumnavigating was the ultimate sabbatical. With the Clipper Race providing a chance to travel the world, compete in a sport he loves as well as hands on experience of teamwork and leadership in an extreme environment. Posted on 15 Sep
Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Ben Deifel
Rekindling a memory from 10yrs ago, an article sparked the idea to sail around the world By chance Ben Deifel, a 32-year-old COO from Munich, Germany, happened across a feature about Clipper Race in a travel magazine he picked up from an airport in Oman. Rekindling a memory from 10 years ago, article sparked an idea to sail around the world. Posted on 6 Sep
Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Kiki Kettunen
A Seattle team circumnavigator in the Clipper 2019-20 Race Finnish born Kiki Kettunen first heard about the Clipper Race 12 years ago but it took life and work to align and the sight of a billboard ad on the London Underground to help her take the first step in becoming an ocean adventurer Posted on 30 Aug
Why I signed up to the Clipper Race
Find out why crew members signed up for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Adventure has led us humans into the unexplored parts of our magnificent planet and universe. Circumnavigating the world as part of the Clipper Race will allow me to feel ever closer to what the great explorers felt when they ventured into the unknown. Posted on 23 Aug
Clipper Round the World Race finish reflections
The day that can seem an age away or seem to be zooming up far too quickly Race Finish, the day that can seem an age away, after an exhausting watch in the Southern Ocean, or seem to be zooming up far too quickly when there's just a few races to go. Posted on 12 Aug
A return to sailing: China gets back on the water
With strict guidelines, limitations and health and safety procedures Sporting events around the world have been affected by the global outbreak of Covid-19. Sailing has not been immune to the impact from the pandemic with both major international events and local sailing postponed, including the Clipper 2019-20 Race. Posted on 8 Aug
Wendy Tuck - Breaking records and barriers
The first female Skipper to win a round the world yacht race Becoming a trailblazer was not Wendy Tuck's intention when she signed up to be a Skipper in the Clipper 2018-17 Race - the Australian simply wanted to go sailing. Posted on 1 Aug
Meet the Clipper Race crew: Abdelhamid Abouyoussef
Founding the answer to a long unanswered question "I found the answer to a long unanswered question." Said Abdelhamid Abouyoussef about taking part in Clipper Race. Like many who apply Abdelhamid, a Managing Director, as always wanted to circumnavigate the world, but on his own logistics were complicated Posted on 26 Jul
Reflections on the final ocean crossing
The final leg of the Clipper Race comes with tremendous highs but also lows The final leg of the Clipper Race comes with tremendous highs but also lows as it means the global journey is coming to an end. At a time when the Clipper 2019-20 Race crew should have been completing their penultimate race of the series Posted on 25 Jul
Zhuhai Ambassador Crew reflects
One year on from completing Clipper Race training A year on from completing their Clipper Race training programme, Zhuhai Ambassador Crew members share their memories, photos & videos. They reflect on what they have already achieved and look forward to what is still to come on their Clipper Race journey. Posted on 23 Jul
MBW newsletters (top)