Please select your home edition
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

The Clipper Race Leg 1 - Race 2, Day 9: Strange start to Doldrums

by Clipper Round the World Race 24 Sep 2019 03:41 PDT 24 September 2019
The Clipper Race Leg 1 - Race 2, Day 9 © Clipper Race

The ninth day of Race 2: The Commodore's Cup was a tale of two halves. As a tropical storm crosses in front of the fleet, the consistent Trade Winds that have been powering the fleet for the past few days are being replaced with squalls, wind direction shifts, and increasing wind speeds as the fleet sails past the Cape Verde Islands and into the Doldrums Corridor.

As the storm passes over the fleet tracking west, the Skipper of the first placed Visit Sanya, China, Seumas Kellock, commented: "As I write this we are entering the Doldrums Corridor and it has to be the least doldrummy-Doldrums ever! Currently we have 25 knots of breeze and its supposed to build to more like 35 over the next hours. Although less comfortable than 15 knots downwind with our Code 2 Spinnaker up, it will get us a significant way through the Doldrums before we have to motor."

As the heat continues to rise on board, so does the competition. While Visit Sanya remains in front, Qingdao is around 15 nautical miles behind in second and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam is a close third. Josh Stickland, Skipper of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam reported: "It was a nice day sailing for all, and although it was a little too deep (down wind) for my liking. We also made it past the Cape Verdes just before nightfall. It was like a scene out of Jurassic Park or King Kong, all of a sudden these billowing clouds parted for a moment to show these great large dark hills and mountains and we also got a whiff of land."

He went on to say: "A squall was spotted and down came the Code 2 Spinnaker and up went the Yankee 3 so it's now a close reach for us for the next 12-15 hours while we let this Low blow past (35-ish knots)."

With each of the teams trying to find the best approach to the Doldrums Corridor, there have been a number of different approaches to navigating the Cape Verde Islands. This archipelago of ten volcanic islands 400 miles off the west coast of Africa will be the last chance for the Clipper Race fleet to see land before crossing the Atlantic, though not all teams were so lucky, as Zhuhai Skipper Nick Leggett explains: "Not only is the weather hotting up, but so is the racing, as we all start to converge on the Doldrums Corridor.

"We gybed yesterday morning, perhaps a little later than we should have, as our course took us directly towards Sao Nicolau Island at the northern end of the Cape Verde archipelago. We really had to sail a tight line to squeeze around the eastern end of the island soon after sunset. With the exceedingly high humidity reducing visibility, we never saw the island, even though we passed no more than 10 nautical miles off."

After negotiating the islands, the next tactical decision is the Doldrums Corridor. However, the presence of the tropical low has provided an unexpected hurdle. With much depending on the tactics over the next 24 hours, Unicef has decided to use go into Stealth Mode to hide its position from the rest of the fleet. Skipper Ian Wiggin explains: "We are looking forward to getting a good burst of speed from the large storm to propel us deep into the Doldrums Corridor and on towards Punta del Este. We are in Stealth Mode at the moment so we can't say much about what we are up to at the moment. So instead we will content ourselves with hoping that our wheeze, such as it is, pays off, and we emerge well placed for the long trip south."

Punta del Este has made up some ground on the leading pack after opting for a more westerly route along with Imagine your Korea and GoToBermuda. It's good news for the team which has played its Joker this race and Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzalaz said: "Unexpected! After preparing the crew for lack of wind during the crossing of the Doldrums, here we are sailing with high winds and high seas."

Check out the Skipper Blogs for the insights from on board and keep an eye on the Race Viewer to see what tactics the teams choose as they approach the doldrums.

Related Articles

Nailbiting conclusion to Sanya Tropical Race
WTC Logistics scoops top spot and first podium of the Clipper 2019-20 Race WTC Logistics clinched victory in Race 6: The Sanya Tropical Paradise from the Whitsundays, Australia to Subic Bay, Philippines in dramatic fashion. Overtaking Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, who finished second and third respectively Posted on 15 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 26
The race remains: Each team made a valiant effort in their quest WTC Logistics, Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam have arrived into Subic Bay, Philippines securing first, second and third podium places respectively in Race 6. Posted on 14 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 25
The finale continues to be a thrilling and closely fought contest The competition at the top of the current race standings couldn't be closer. Hit refresh on the Clipper Round the World, Race Viewer and the four leading teams seem to shuffle as quickly as the screen and website is able to reload. Posted on 13 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 24
The path to success is never smooth The eventual champion of Race 6 will need to navigate through the difficult, fickle weather conditions and seize any advantage thrown at them in the final 200 nautical miles to the finish line. Posted on 12 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 23
The front runners are closing in on the home straight The front runners are closing in on the home straight but all teams remain resolutely motivated in the challenge ahead and aren't relenting in their quest to achieve an improved ranking in the overall race positions or indeed achieving a podium place. Posted on 11 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 22
Whose decision-making will have paid off? Many of the teams have now completed the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint, following the crossing most skippers have been pondering on their tactical decision making. Posted on 10 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 21
The fleet charge towards the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint Across the board, the teams have reported increased boat speeds and the varied change in conditions has introduced the newer crew members to a faster paced ocean racing environment. Posted on 9 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 20
Current leaderboard positions remain unchanged As the current leaderboard positions remain unchanged it has some of the teams feeling like it is Groundhog Day on board. Posted on 8 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 19
Many of the teams are still racing remarkably close The trade winds have brought speedy sailing conditions and with that, swift sail changes which in itself brings challenges in this ocean-racing game. Posted on 7 Feb
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 18
The competition continues to thrill In particular, there is a close battle for second place between Qingdao,Visit Sanya, China, Imagine your Korea and Punta del Este with WTC Logistics also striving to increase its position. Posted on 6 Feb
Melges IC37 2019 FooterHenri-Lloyd 2020 FOOTEROfficial-Team-Gear-Red 728x90 BOTTOM