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The Clipper Race Leg 1 - Race 2, Day 27

by Clipper Round the World Race 12 Oct 02:35 PDT 12 October 2019
Qingdao - Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Leg 1 - Race 2, Day 27 © Barry Goble

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.

After racing in close quarters against fellow Clipper Race competitor Visit Sanya, China for more than 20 days, Qingdao crossed the finish line at 15:35:46 UTC on Friday 11 October, to finish 4 hours, 35 minutes and 9 seconds ahead of the second placed team, Visit Sanya, China, and claim a second podium in as many races.

Upon arriving to a huge reception at the Yacht Club Punta del Este, Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks said: "It feels amazing to have won the race down to Punta del Este. The crew has worked so hard and I'm very proud of them.

"It could have been either us or Visit Sanya, China in first place - they played an amazing hand and were leading the race most of the way. It was snakes and ladders on the course all the time."

But while Qingdao and Visit Sanya are both celebrating in Uruguay, Race 2: The Commodore's Cup isn't over just yet for the rest of the Clipper Race fleet.

The third placed Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam is currently expected to complete the 5,196 nautical mile (nm) race on Sunday, but with 152nm still to go until the finish line, the team has almost come to a standstill. After covering just 33nm in the last 12 hours, Skipper Josh Stickland reported: "We are currently languishing in no breeze, surrounded by lightning strikes as they light up the night sky, giving us a glimpse of the squalls that surround us."

As a result of the windhole, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has lost almost 30nm off its lead over the fourth placed Dare To Lead in the last 24 hours. But in some good news for Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Dare To Lead is also struggling to find the breeze, as Skipper Guy Waites reports: "So, here we sit, some 200nm from Punta del Este, watching the lightning show across the horizon forward with a pack of hungry dogs chasing down our rhumb line for the finish.

"Not an entirely comfortable position to be in, and not made any the more so for the lack of wind. In the past 24 hours we have tried on every sail in the wardrobe (almost), from a single knot drift to a 20 knot surf!"

Dare To Lead's efforts in trying to pick up the pace are not surprising, given how close the opposition is. Just 41nm currently separates fourth from eighth, meaning there is everything to play for. Ian Wiggin, Skipper of the sixth placed Unicef, comments: "What a difference 24 hours makes. This time yesterday we were charging down a steep swell, with 30 plus knots of wind behind us, with each helm competing to get the speed above 20 knots, and now we are ghosting along on a glass like sea, with the lightweight Code 1 Spinnaker up and just enough breeze to fill it.

"We are now in a dramatic six-way tussle for fourth place, which could just as easily see us finish in ninth as fourth. It will take all our concentration to fight our way the final 300 odd nautical miles that we have to go to the finish. That and some fortuitous breeze that we catch but that no-one else does!"

Keep a close eye on the Race Viewer to see how the final stages of Race 2 to Punta del Este plays out. The latest ETAs to Uruguay will also be regularly updated on the Clipper Race website.

The second Clipper Race Stopover in Punta del Este, the 'Saint-Tropez of South America', is set to be one to remember. For all the activities planned for both the crew and in the Fan Zone at the Yacht Club Punta del Este, see the Host Port page on the website.

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