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

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

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)