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

Christmas at sea for crew competing in Australian Coast-to-Coast stage of Global Sailing Race

by Grace Kitching 22 Dec 2019 03:23 PST 22 December 2019
Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam first across the start line - Clipper Race Australian Coast-to-Coast stage © Clipper Race

The Australian Coast-to-Coast stage of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race got under way from Fremantle today (22 December). The tough 3,400 nautical mile race will see teams of non professional crew tackle challenging conditions as they race to the finish port of the Whitsundays.

The fifth race of the global sailing event, has been named 'The Whitsundays, Heart of the Great Barrier Reef' race and saw eight teams slip lines from Fremantle Sailing Club at 1200 local time, with friends, family and locals lining the breakwater to wave them off.

The race, expected to take around 20 days, will see the teams sail down Western Australia, towards the infamous conditions of the Roaring Forties and also dip into the Southern Ocean. The international crew will be celebrating Christmas far from home and ringing in the new year on board.

This Australian leg of the epic race will challenge the Race Crew both mentally and physically and is expected to be one of the most varied stages of the 2019-20 edition so far. The Bass Strait will be offering up choppy sea states and as the fleet travels up the East Coast, the teams will need to keep an eye out for Southerly Busters, a weather phenomenon which sees an abrupt and violent change in the weather.

The starting cannon, signalling Race Start, sounded at 1500. As the teams competed for prime position to cross the start line, it was reigning champions Qingdao which crossed first, shortly followed by Ha Long Bay Viet, Nam and Dare To Lead.

After rounding Rottnest Island, the bows of the yachts will point south, as the fleet tracks along the coast of Western Australia, out of the Indian Ocean and back to the challenge of the Southern Ocean. Cape Leeuwin marks the south western tip of Australia and is one of the three Great Capes, the second of the Clipper 2019-20 Race route, and something only an adventurous few can say they have rounded.

On the conditions ahead Clipper Race Director, Mark Light, said: "The first stage down the west coast of Australia is going to be a tough beat upwind, then as the teams round Cape Leuwin, one of the world's great capes, there is a bit of a light patch on the forecast. Once they are clear of that and head south, on the great circle route, they can expect to pick up the normal westerly winds of the Southern Ocean they can expect some pretty hefty weather systems and some good downwind surfing.

"As the teams then turn the corner, underneath Tasmania, it will be very varied; upwind, sometimes choppy across the Bass Strait. Teams should not forget the East Australian current and always keep an eye out for the Southerly Busters, shifts in conditions which can sneak up and be pretty violent."

Some 180 everyday people, from around the world, including a paediatric surgeon, professor, journalist, engineer and a student are taking on the race route which takes the teams below the 40th Parallel for another sleigh ride east.

Queensland-born crew member, Jane Lever, sailing on board Seattle, said: "I signed up to Leg 4 (and Leg 5) as they have the widest variety of weather conditions and I wanted to learn how to deal with the extremes of being at sea.

"It's good to be sailing from one side of Australia to another. I think once we get south, it's going to get chilly and possibly lumpy, down the bottom of Tasmania where it could be very cold with some big swells too. We'll go up past Sydney into big summer storms and then the East Australian 'Nemo' current and beyond.

Following a later arrival into Fremantle, a further three Clipper Race teams will depart on 24 December, exactly 48 hours later than the first eight. They will race on elapsed time against the rest of the fleet.

The eleven teams are expected to arrive at the Whitsundays between 09 and 12 January where the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival awaits.

Related Articles

The WTC Logistics Tri-Race Ocean Sprint results
The heat was turned up for Race 9 The Clipper 2019-20 Race is currently on hold for now, however, we have a battle for points to celebrate. Posted on 22 Mar
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston Interview
Following the Clipper 2019-20 Race Suspension The Clipper 2019-20 Race has been suspended with immediate effect, following the ongoing global outbreak of Covid-19 and the enormous impact it has created on world travel. Posted on 20 Mar
Update from Clipper Race Organising Committee
Quarantine on crew in Subic Bay has now been lifted We are pleased to announce that the quarantine on our crew in Subic Bay has now been lifted and they are able to leave the marina. Posted on 18 Mar
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race postponed
The 2019-20 race has been postponed with immediate effect With the ongoing global outbreak of Covid-19 and the enormous impact it has created on world travel, the Clipper 2019-20 Race has been postponed with immediate effect. Posted on 17 Mar
The Clipper Race Leg 6 - Race updates
Clipper Race fleet arrived into Subic Bay The Philippines Government has announced an enhanced community quarantine which has been put in place for the island of Luzon, where Subic Bay is located. Posted on 17 Mar
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam tops Race 9 podium
As Clipper Race 9: WTC Logistics Tri-Race concludes Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has claimed its second win of the Clipper Race after crossing the WTC Logistics Tri-Race finishing line in first place ahead of competitors Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China which finished in second and third place respectively. Posted on 15 Mar
The Clipper Race Leg 6 - Race 9, Day 4
Tension is high amongst front runners as they close in on the finish line Race 9: The WTC Logistics Tri-Race has been a short but fast challenge for the Clipper Race teams and the racing fleet has remained incredibly close throughout. Posted on 14 Mar
The Clipper Race Leg 6 - Race 9, Day 3
Patience is being tested by wind holes plaguing progress On Day 3 of Race 9: The WTC Logistics Tri-Race, the fleet are nearing the third section of the short triangular course. The teams remain in close proximity, as patience is being tested by wind holes plaguing progress. Posted on 13 Mar
The Clipper Race Leg 6 update
The safety of all Clipper Race Crew, Supporters and Staff remains of paramount importance In light of the new US travel restrictions from the Schengen area within Europe, we are monitoring any potential implications for Race Crew on future legs of this race edition. Posted on 13 Mar
The Clipper Race Leg 6 - Race 9, Day 2
It is all to play for as less than 25nm separates the entire fleet Having already completed the first of three Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprints, the upwind second stage is asking some difficult questions as light winds plague the north of the course. Posted on 12 Mar
MBW newsletters (top)