After a tough tussle with light winds the final push for a podium position went down to the wire this morning and crossing the finish line off the coast of the Netherlands at 0724 UTC, Singapore, sponsored by Keppel Corporation, secured its first win in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race series with victory in Race 14 to Den Helder.
Hot on the Singaporean entry’s heels, Visit Finland secured its seventh podium success a mere 17 minutes later in second place and Gold Coast Australia completed the podium trio, a further17 minutes after its Finnish rivals. However, Singapore’s win spoilt the Australian entry’s chances of matching the record for consecutive Clipper Race wins.
Speaking of its first victory, Singapore skipper Ben Bowley says, “It feels absolutely fantastic we’ve been waiting for this for a long time. It’s been a hard race and very challenging. It was neck and neck all the way through right down to the wire with only 17 minutes in it in the end but we are absolutely ecstatic and I am so please for the crew.”
Meanwhile, positions on the leader board continue to change frequently for the rest of the fleet, as the remaining competitors attempt to make up miles in the immobilising conditions. New York’s tactics to stay close to the coastline has paid off and the U.S. entry has shot up from the back of the fleet to fourth place overnight, whilst Welcome to Yorkshire has fallen victim to another wind hole, slipping further down the pack.
The remaining fleet is expected to arrive throughout the day; regular updates will be posted here and on the Clipper Race Facebook and Twitter pages.
A festival will be held in Den Helder over the weekend which includes an international food market, street theatre, music and more. The Clipper Race Roadshow will also be there, with presentations for anyone interested in taking up the adventure of a lifetime on a brand new fleet of yachts. For a full programme of activities during the Den Helder stopover please click here.
Gold Coast Australia, the Australian entry in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has secured it’s ninth win out of eleven races into New York this morning (GMT).
“I am elated with winning this race as at different stages in the race it could have been won by any of the yachts in the fleet. The fleet was so close this race and the pressure was on the entire duration of the race.
“This is our ninth victory and yellow pendent in the series of races and every win feels so incredibly special. We are working hard and realising our objectives, our goals and our dreams together and the team has really bonded well. I am very impressed with the performance of the boat and crew and the slickness of each sail change evolution throughout the race,” says Tasmanian skipper, Richard Hewson.
Visit Finland finished in second place crossing the finish line at 0736 GMT (0336 local time) while Dutch entry, De LageLanden, claimed third place crossing the line at 0849 GMT (0449 local time) in the 2,100 race from Panama to New York.
The Dutch entry skipper, Stuart Jackson says, “What a final 24 hours. It has been quite a battle between second to fifth place with only miles separating the fleet. After a good start and lying in a good position for the start of the race our position slid to seventh and it was looking dubious if we were going to make up the miles.
“Fortunately, the weather worked in our favour and we managed to secure third place, so myself and the crew are delighted, especially as we have a Manhattan resident as one of our round the world crew members! Adding our two gate points we are delighted with our overall result.”
Besides the podium positions, Geraldton Western Australia managed to take fourth place crossing the finish line at 1004 GMT (0604 local time) ahead of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital who crossed the finish line only 70 minutes later at 1114 GMT (0704 local time). Whilst having slipped from third place to fifth yesterday, it’s the best position for the Scottish entry so far.
The rest of the fleet is expected to finish today local time. The teams will arrive in Liberty Landing Marina in New Jersey approximately six to seven hours after crossing the finish line.The whole Clipper Race fleet then sails in a formal parade across to North Cove Marina in Manhattan’s financial district for a busy programme of activity with Clipper Race sponsors
With this morning’s confirmation of Gold Coast Australia’s eighth victory during the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, the battle for the final podium positions for Race 10, from Oakland to Panama.
“I am ecstatic with my crew’s performance in light fickle winds and extreme heat,” reveals Gold Coast Australia skipper, Richard Hewson, after his team crossed the finish line at 0844 UTC.
“Gold Coast Australia sailed like true professionals over the past few days making the most of wind shifts and squeezing every drop of speed that Gold Coast Australia had to offer.
“I would like to congratulate the other yachts on their performance in such challenging conditions. The last few hours of the race dolphins guided us towards the finish line as we left a long trail of phosphorescence in our wake making it a near perfect finish,” continues Richard.
On Saturday, the Race Committee sent every skipper of the ten-strong fleet revised instructions for Race 10 which contained an anticipated shortening to the course.
“The Clipper Race Committee, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, shortened the course for Race 10 by selecting one of the pre-existing gates within the Course Instructions as the new finish line,” explains Race Director Joff Bailey.
“This line is perpendicular to the route and is long enough so that it does not adversely affect any team tactics.
“The Race Committee has taken this decision after it was advised by the Panama Canal Authorities that there would be shutdown period on the Panama Canal locks over the coming weeks and the lighter than expected wind strengths on this section of the race and the need to maintain the overall race schedule.”
Further to Saturday’s developments and after careful assessment of each team’s position the Race Committee decided yesterday (Monday) evening to finish the back markers of the fleet; Derry-Londonderry, Geraldton Western Australia, Singapore, New York, Qingdao and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, using one of the earlier mandatory gates.
Derry-Londonderry beat Geraldton Western Australia to fifth place with just four minutes separating the two teams, while seventh and eighth place were secured by Singapore and New York respectively with Qingdao grabbing ninth place ahead of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital.
With Gold Coast Australia claiming victory the race for the final remaining positions of Race 10 are still up for grabs as Welcome to Yorkshire, De Lage Landen and Visit Finland continue to battle it out.
“We’re very excited about coming up to the finish line,” reports De Lage Landen, skipper Stuart Jackson.
“We have enjoyed the enthralling cat and mouse race we have been having with Visit Finland, Welcome to Yorkshire and Gold Coast Australia. Our thoughts will soon be turning to Panama and transiting the canal, a first for all on board. In the meantime the final push is on to make sure our position is maintained for the next few hours.”
Hoping to come out on top in the final drag race to the line is Welcome to Yorkshire’s skipper, Rupert Dean.
“The suspense is palpable as Welcome to Yorkshire approaches the finish line. With just three yachts left in the race, precious little separation exists between De Lage Landen, Visit Finland and Welcome to Yorkshire.
“At the 0000 UTC report, Welcome to Yorkshire had taken third position from Visit Finland, by virtue of the stronger winds found in her southerly position. Can she do the same to De Lage Landen?”
After securing seventh place, Singapore skipper, Ben Bowley, is more than pleased with his crew’s performance.
“We had excellent breeze throughout the night which was a welcome respite from the windless day we’d endured yesterday. We made good progress thanks to this, and accurate trimming and helming, with the crew maintaining its focus throughout.
“Spirits rose considerably when we discovered that we were sixth after the other yachts (apart from
Welcome to Yorkshire) came out of Stealth Mode, and the sight of New York astern of us was a real boost to morale,” continues Ben.
“Both watches redoubled their efforts and gradually we watched New York recede into the horizon.
“The email from the Race Office announcing that we had finished, and that we were seventh, was greeted with jubilation when it came in – and not a moment too soon as the wind almost as if on cue dropped away.
“After our time in tenth place and the struggles we had with the heat and windless conditions we are all pretty pleased to have kept going and got into seventh, and feel rewarded for our efforts.”
Gareth Glover, skipper of New York, was hoping to reduce the gap between his team and their Singapore rivals but had to settle with equalling their points haul for Race 10.
“After winning the Ocean Sprint we will come out of this race on the same points as Singapore, which will help on the overall standings. We now don’t need eight people for each watch and have put in a three watch system whist we are motoring and the next five days to Panama will be filled with maintenance and cleaning.
“After ourselves and Singapore went further north to pick up more wind we managed to overtake Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Qingdao, but we were unable to hold off Singapore in the last six hours and in the night they just got a little more wind and crossed the line less than a few hours after 15 days of racing.
It was a photo finish in the battle for fifth place as Derry-Londonderry crossed the finish line just four minutes ahead of Geraldton Western Australia.
“A very good result, bearing in mind that we had slipped way back to tenth (from second) and fought our way back up in light and fluky wind conditions!” explains Mark Light, skipper of Derry-Londonderry.
“Now our concentration is switched to getting our boat safely and efficiently into Panama all ready for our transit thro the canal from the Pacific Ocean and into the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean)…yet another milestone!”
After a furious fight to the line Geraldton Western Australia, skippered by Juan Coetzer, had to settle for sixth place after a valiant fight with the Northern Ireland entry.
“After a slow days sailing and a beautiful sunset, the wind disappeared again. We sat stationary with our sails just flapping from side to side,” reports Juan.
“We even got the wind seeker out. Eventually some breeze filled in and we got ready to hoist a kite. ‘Ready on the bow, Ready at mast, Ready on sheets- Hoist away…..Aah that looks like the heavyweight… oops.’”
“So down came the heavyweight and up went the lightweight kite. Soon enough we were gliding through the water again. The race was shortened today and we reckon it may have been a photo finish; we were about 70 miles south of Derry-Londonderry.
“So engine checks were done, sails lowered and then we notice a bird sitting on the mast light. So Ian Geraghty was sent up to scare the bird away. This bird had some attitude and would not budge, but after some encouraging words, it flew away.”
The first teams are expected to reach Panama later this week where they will await their slot to pass through the canal before commencing Race 11 to New York.
Positions at 1200 UTC, Tuesday 1 May 2012
1 Gold Coast Australia Finished
2 Welcome to Yorkshire Racing
3 De Lage Landen Racing
4 Visit Finland Racing
5 Derry-Londonderry Finished
6 Geraldton Western Australia Finished
7 Singapore Finished
8 New York Finished
9 Qingdao Finished
10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital Finished
The ten strong fleet competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race left Jack London Square in Oakland today (14 April) with hundreds of fans cheering them on in the warm spring sunshine, before heading out to San Francisco Bay for the start line escorted by US Coast Guard cutter Sockeye.
The Clipper Race is the world’s longest at 40,000 miles. This stage is the tenth of 15 races. Ahead lies a 5,500 mile leg from California on the US West Coast to New York on the East Coast via the Panama Canal.
Friends, family members and supporters gathered to watch from the Golden Gate Yacht Club, home of the 34th America’s Cup, which kindly provided facilities to start the race from their deck at 1400 local time (2100 UTC).
There was a highly charged competitive atmosphere out on the water in the shadow of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. So much so that Gold Coast Australia, Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital crossed the line prematurely and were ordered to circle back to cross it again to avoid a time penalty.
This gave Visit Finland an early lead, crossing the start line first. Before departing skipper Olly Osborne said, “We need to do our best to push ourselves as hard as we can. The earlier part of the race will be quite exciting with a real sleigh ride down the west coast and then beyond that we will see. It will be a coastal race which is interesting will all the currents and then we of course hope that we can keep racing until that finish line and we don’t see too dramatic a wind drop.
“It is always easier to start in the lead and maintaining it, which is what we are hoping for rather than constantly playing catch-up. Some of racing is down to the luck of the draw and some of it is down to some good sailing, so we are aiming to do the latter.
“Going through the Panama Canal they are really looking forward to, as it’s quite a big landmark and quite big part of the journey. It is certainly more home-bound once you are back into the Atlantic before shaping up for the home run from New York.”
Second over the starting line was New York, the only US entry who are on route to their home port, as Leg 7 has begun. Skipper Gareth Glover said, “It is going to quite a tough leg, especially when we get to the lighter breezes when we get further south. Weight is a key component on how we do well in this race, as it has a huge effect in light wind conditions
“The next leg for us is all about the gate points. We have such a short leg ahead and it is definitely the thing to concentrate on. We have to make sure that we finish in the top three in these legs ahead, but it’s a tough challenge, as we also historically don’t do that well in light winds on the New York entry.
“There are more than 60 points for grabs between here and the UK, so there is no way that this race is over. We will be pushing very hard to at least get a top three finish overall.”
Also in the competitive spirit is Qingdao who started Race 10 in third place over the start line. Ahead of leaving, skipper Ian Conchie said, “After the chills of the Pacific Ocean and no sunlight for weeks, it will be nice to sail in some sunshine. It’s fun and amazing to be sailing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and then we turn left, head south and follow the smell the mojitos!
“The Panama Canal is listed as one of the seven industrial wonders of the world, so it will be an amazing experience just seeing the size of the locks, as we could go in alone, along with some of the other yachts or end up going through with a super tanker, which will be very interesting and something most people will never do again.”
The race down to Panama is quite a contrast to the challenges faced in the North Pacific. Race Director, Joff Bailey explains, “The Californian current flows south but the helping hand this gives the fleet can be counteracted by heating effects from the North American land mass which might change the winds unfavourably. This race down to Panama starts of fast and furious but as the temperature rises the wind start to drop as changeable conditions along the coast of Central America and as the fleet near the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or Doldrums) take effect. The last thousand miles will be sailed in light and fickle winds potentially requiring a shortened course as the Clipper Race fleet head towards a date with the Panama Canal.”
Welcome to Yorkshire skipper Rupert Dean reflects this, saying, “This will be a very different race with lots of different winds. We are still going to be influenced by the lows sweeping across the North Pacific at the moment and the first 72 hours we should have plenty of breeze and then they will start tailing off. We just have to see how much we can keep the wind and how far inshore we have to race to keep the breeze, once winds start to drop. I’ve been through to the canal two times before, and it’s an interesting journey that I’m sure the crew will very much enjoy.”
Back on the water today was Geraldton Western Australia crossing the start line in seventh place. After being hit by a large rogue wave just 400 nautical miles from the finish in San Francisco Bay two weeks ago, the Australian entry was pleased to have his boat repaired and be back racing.
Before leaving the marina skipper Juan Coetzer said, “The sail is back on the boom, we have our steerage back in and we are all ready to go. The whole crew are very excited to get back to sea and focus on racing again.
“The next few days I’m expecting some nice downwind sailing. It is a race of two halves and we are going to try to be at the top of the runnings, definitely on the downwind part, and then try and get any points we can get.”
Singapore reached their highest position ever in the previous race and is keen to continue their climb of the leader board, as Race 10 gets underway. Skipper, Ben Bowley said, “It is going to be quite a contrast to the last race that we’ve had crossing the Pacific. We are expecting a few good days of breeze to keep us moving down the American coast and then try and keep the boat moving in whatever winds we can get, once we ITCZ again for the third time since we started the race in July last year.”
And as the overall leader board is close, Ben continued, “We had an excellent result in the last race and we hope to keep up the drive and keep everyone moving and motivated especially when the wind starts to go light then we should be good. We are feeling confident and are going to keep on pushing.
“We only have three points between us and Visit Finland, so we need to keep the consistency going and keep putting in the good results, so we can remain at the top of the leader board.”
Fourth over the start line was Derry-Londonderry. The Northern Irish entry is keen to ensure they can a podium on this race, after being beaten to it by New York coming into Oakland, San Francisco Bay.
Skipper, Mark Light said, “This leg will be quite a contrast to the rough Pacific. We are expecting a fair bit of wind when we leave San Francisco Bay, but then it will get hotter and lighter winds.
“We’ve improved massively in the second half on this race and we are turning our noses towards our home port and the team are coming together will and I’m expecting another good result. It’s very exciting and things are building up – there are a lot of points on offer and we need to get ourselves onto that podium a few more times. We will do what we can and hopefully won’t let anyone down.”
De Lage Landen, currently in second place on the overall leader board, crossed the start line by the Golden Gate Yacht Club in sixth place. Ahead of leaving, skipper Stuart Jackson said, “It is going to be very much an inshore race, hugging the coast on the way down and trying to stay in the current and hopefully not run out of the wind too early. Everyone is very excited to go through the Panama Canal, which is a huge piece of engineering with a lot of history. I’ve been to it before, so it should be one of those great experiences.
“We are very happy with how we have been performing so far, but it it’s all very close between second, third and fourth, so we have to keep driving really hard and hopefully get a few more decent results under our belts.”
Meanwhile on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital after crossing the starting line early, the Scottish entry ended up starting Race 10 in last position. New interim skipper, Flavio Zamboni is excited about taking his new team said, “It’s really exciting to be here and I think that that the guys are really willing to work and sail the boat, so I will try and make the most of the potential on board. We hope to be able to lead in the strong breezes and be in the top half of the fleet. I am very excited to be part of the team and it’s great to be on board.”
Gold Coast Australia was in the same position as Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Singapore, but still managed to cross the start line in eighth place. Ahead of leaving, skipper Richard Hewson said, “It’s going to be quite interesting at the start, as San Francisco Bay is renowned for gusty winds coming through the hills and pretty extreme tides, so everyone is going to be playing a pretty conservative start and once we get outside the bay we will be heading south.
“I think this race will be won in the first couple of days with the stronger breezes, but saying that you never knows who can catch up on you, once you start hitting lighter winds.
“It is going to be an interesting race with filled with spinnakers, high wind, low wind and a lot of drifting and the Panama Canal is just an unbelievable experience, so I’m sure the crew will have a fantastic time.”
The first boats are expected to arrive in Panama around 7 May after which they will transit the Panama Canal before commencing Race 11, for the final 2,100 miles to New York.
Positions at 0000 UTC, Sunday 15 April 2012
1.Visit Finland 3095nm*
2.Qingdao 3098nm (+3nm)**
3.De Lage Landen 3099nm (+4nm)
4.Welcome to Yorkshire 3099nm (+4nm)
5.New York 3100nm (+4nm)
6.Gold Coast Australia 3101nm (+5nm)
7.Singapore 3101nm (+6nm)
8.Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 3102nm (+7nm)
9.Geraldton Western Australia 3103nm (+8nm)
10.Derry-Londonderry 3109nm (+13nm)
After a gruelling 6,000 miles at sea crossing the world’s largest ocean, victorious Gold Coast Australia was the first yacht in the ten-strong fleet to sail across the finish line under the Golden Gate Bridge and into Jack London Square, Oakland, at the end of the toughest leg yet of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.
As they crossed the finish line at 0216 UTC this morning, the heavy fog lifted and it was an emotional sight for the crew of the Australian entry, securing their seventh win from nine races. Arriving in Jack London Square, Tasmanian skipper, Richard Hewson, said, “What a proud moment. We won the race across the North Pacific Ocean, the roughest sea in the world.
“What a relief to get here. It’s been a really tough race and I’m really proud of my guys, they’ve worked so hard. We’ve had a lot of people that got injured and five of the crew especially worked hard to keep the crew motivated and keep the boat performing. To get in here in first place, despite what happened, and have such a good lead over to Singapore is just fantastic. To get here safely after 27 days of storms is just amazing.”
Singapore is expected to arrive in Oakland on Saturday morning local time and with less than 50 miles separating them from the finish line, the team reflect on how far they have come on their North Pacific adventure.
Skipper, Ben Bowley, says, “This is likely to be my last report for a couple of weeks as at this rate we shall be passing under the Golden Gate Bridge whilst enjoying a hearty scrambled eggs breakfast at around 0700 local time!
“We had our race debrief at our 1700 meeting today and reflected on what has been a truly epic race and, for all of us, the hardest challenge we have faced to date. Sighting land in the next few hours will see many people, myself included, realise a dream that formed many years ago when first looking at a chart of the Pacific and wondering what it would be like traverse the world’s largest body of water. The harsh reality of this leg has truly lived up to its reputation and I for one shall not want to be returning to this part of the world (well, not in winter anyway) for quite some time!
“I have been continually impressed with my small crew’s relentless, dogged determination to just grunt up and get the job done. I thank them for making my job all that much easier to bear this leg by being consistently willing to pit themselves against Mother Nature in her foulest of moods; this has enabled us to acquire and maintain a fantastic race position which should set us up well for the remaining few races.”
With a message for those thinking of taking on the challenge of a lifetime in a future edition of the Clipper Race, Ben adds, “To those who are considering this leg I say you have been warned, it’s a tough one, but the sense of achievement felt at the end is quite unlike any I have experienced before.
“Watch out Oakland, there are some thirsty sailors heading your way!”
A margin of just 30 miles separates New York and Derry-Londonderry in terms of distance to finish, and New York skipper Gareth Glover reports that the American entry is determined to hold off the opposition.
“After a quiet night with winds around 20 knots from the south west this afternoon we could see the front as it came over us and the wind built from the south, giving us around 25 to 30 knots. We went from a beam reach to close reach/haul and, with around 150 miles to go, the Pacific Ocean is making us work every mile to San Francisco Bay and the end of this leg.
“We now have Singapore in our sights and we are hoping that they will have to beat into San Francisco Bay from the north giving us the time to catch them up and hold off Derry-Londonderry. As always there is still all to play for.”
In preparation for their impending arrival Gareth adds, “Today the two watches started to get ready for our arrival by doing a stock take of any food we have left and going over our quarantine checks for our arrival.”
In contrast to yesterday’s mood, Derry-Londonderry’s crew are resigned to their position within the fleet as Mark Light reports.
“We are racing in, currently placed in a very respectable fourth position. There is a decent gap between New York and our nearest rivals behind, Welcome to Yorkshire, so barring any mishaps we are in a comfortable position. We are no longer racing in too close proximity to other Clipper 68s but we have a slightly different race on our hands against Mother Nature.
“A fairly deep low is charging up behind us and bringing with it sustained winds of 50 to 60 knots true. At our current speeds of ten to eleven knots we have enough pace to get ourselves safely into San Francisco Bay before the really severe stuff hits, and it will hit very hard indeed! The wind is building steadily out here but, unfortunately, at the moment it is forward of the beam making conditions far from comfortable. We should escape the worst of it but I do feel for the guys behind us, knowing that they will have to endure a few more hours battling the conditions than us.”
He concludes, “It has been an epic adventure with very strong winds for the majority of the passage but the north Pacific Ocean has been fairly kind to us overall. I just hope that this trend continues right to the finish line!”
As the remaining yachts in the fleet close in on San Francisco Bay, the North Pacific has thrown one last punch at the teams as strong winds from the predicted low pressure system strike.
“It’s a full on world on Welcome to Yorkshire at the moment,” reports skipper, Rupert Dean. “After being becalmed at times last night and this morning, tacking and gybing for a pastime, to keep the ‘Pink Lady’ pointing in the right direction, the predicted winds arrived with a bang.
“Having seen the GRIBS and being warned by fleet meteorologist, Simon Rowell, about the ferocity of this nasty, fast moving low, we didn’t hang about on reducing sail once angry clouds were seen on the horizon. From full main, Yankee 2 and staysail, we went straight to two reefs, staysail and Yankee 3. Since then we have reduced sail further, exchanging the Yankee 3 for our venerable storm jib. Just as well, too, for the wind has been coming from the south, on our beam, at over 40 knots true, bringing boiling, confused seas to match.
“Needless to say the team have been working very hard these past 24 hours, knuckling down to these numerous sail changes and evolutions with renewed determination as the finish to Race 9 draws near. With the distance between many of the boats in this part of the fleet so small at this late stage of the race, it will be a very close battle as we approach the Golden Gate Bridge. Extra spice is added when considering three of our closest rivals, Qingdao, De Lage Landen and Visit Finland, have been in Stealth Mode recently, so we don’t know exactly where they’ll pop up.
“Whatever our result and those of our competitors, all the crews should be immensely proud of what they have achieved so far in this cold, hard, wet, rough and epic race. That certainly should be the case on Welcome to Yorkshire where I am justifiably very proud of them all.
“Just one more push to the end please!” he asks.
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital is also battling against the powerful winds and building sea state.
Skipper Gordon Reid explains, “After around 15 hours of light and frustrating winds yesterday, when the wind speed went up and down from four knots to 12 knots, backed and veered 40 degrees at a time and taxed the helm no end, we altered sail plans and trimmed non-stop just to keep the ‘Purple Beastie’ moving.
“Now the Pacific Ocean is refusing to let us go without one last gale and what a storm it has become. The Barometer dropped eight millibars in under six hours and we are now fully reefed with the storm jib and staysail in a constant 38 knots of apparent wind. We have seen regular gusts of over 50 knots and the sea is a boiling mass of pure raw fury. There are breaking waves coming from all directions with white foaming spray spinning off the tops. It’s very close to being the strongest gale of the entire relentless, crazy, full on race across the Pacific Ocean.
“One minute happily sailing along with a full main sail, Yankee 2 and staysail on a fast beam reach at 12 knots, the next minute I was on the helm as the wind gusted up to 40 knots, we were picked up by a wave the size of a two-storey house and surged east at 20 plus knots, looking almost vertically down the front of the wave towards a mass of foaming sea rushing over the bow and along the deck.”
Gordon adds, “Within 40 minutes we were fully reefed and went straight to the storm jib, the speed and sheer ferocity of this latest low is truly awe inspiring, out here Mother Nature rules and we are just passing through on our great adventure.”
In the dash towards the finish line four teams have played their Stealth Mode cards in a last bid attempt to climb the leader board. In Race 9 the teams are able to use two periods of Stealth Mode, either combining them to make a period of 48 hours, or using them separately at any time of the race.
Using this tactic so late on in the race whilst managing the variable conditions as the Californian coast and the Golden Gate Bridge appear over the horizon, has created a climax of intrigue as to which teams will gain the upper hand over their competitors.
Qingdao emerged from their second course of Stealth Mode in this race at 1200 UTC today and hoping their tactic will pay off, skipper Ian Conchie reports, “Our cat and mouse game with Welcome to Yorkshire continues. Yesterday we managed to pull ahead a little bit but then in the night we both lost the wind but Welcome to Yorkshire managed to get out of it ahead of us.
“It is now a drag race to the finish, but we still don’t know where De Lage Landen is either so it will be interesting over the next 24 hours.
“The weather system we have been expecting arrived very quickly. It was almost the case that as fast as we did a sail change, we had to start the next as the wind built. Now it is the final push to San Francisco Bay to settle the final positions.”
Geraldton Western Australia is also flying under the cloak of invisibility. The Australian entry entered Stealth Mode at 0600 UTC today and will emerge in 48 hours’ time, or when they are within 100 miles of the finish line.
On board skipper, Juan Coetzer, reports on the testing weather conditions, saying, “The wind has been pretty strange today, swinging around 150 degrees. “We had a poled out Yankee 2 on a starboard tack, heading 090, and landed up close reaching on a port tack. We could see this on the GRIB files and came to the conclusion that when the wind swings again, we’ll drop the Yankee 2 and go for storm staysail. The crew have been sailing the boat well, in these trying conditions.”
Commenting on the forecast for the next 24 hours, Juan adds, “It shall be an overcast morning, becoming sunny for a time with scattered showers, and a strong possibility of hail later. The wind shall range from 20 knots to 50 knots. Happy days, Geraldton Western Australia!”
Visit Finland will emerge from 48 hours in Stealth Mode at 1150 UTC today and skipper, Olly Osbourne, remains positive as they push on towards the finish line.
“It would seem that the mighty Pacific has one last trick up its sleeve as we face the final battle through gale force winds. This seems to be nothing we are not used to however, and the breeze filling back in this morning was a welcome change after a slow night of light airs. We had our heavyweight spinnaker up for some time hunting for a puff of wind to get us going, and then a couple of hours later the storm jib was going up!”
Olly adds, “As ever a very mixed bag, although the forecast looks promising for a solid run in from here.”
De Lage Landen will also emerging from 48 hours in Stealth Mode today are the crew are anxious to see how they have fared within the fleet after sailing under reduced canvas because of sail damage.
Skipper Stuart Jackson, explains, “After having suffered considerable damage to the mainsail 36 hours ago, we have started to make some considerable progress towards the finish line again.
“Due to existing damage to the mainsail track, we had lost the top four sliders that attach the sail to the mast. This meant that there was no possibility to increase or reduce any more sail without taking any more risk on serious damage.
“Sailing well underpowered for 12 to 18 hours, we had to wait until the conditions were calm enough to drop the whole sail to the deck and repair the damage we had sustained. In the midst of the night the wind had eased off enough in order to undertake the necessary repairs.”
Stuart adds, “By the break of day we were finally racing again, destination Oakland, San Francisco Bay.”
Singapore is expected to cross the finish line mid-morning local time today (mid-afternoon UTC), with the chasing boats arriving across the weekend and into next week. They will be berthed in Jack London Square, Oakland. Watch out for updated ETAs which will be posted on the official race website and you can follow the teams’ progress on Facebook and Twitter. They will be hosted by the 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific boat show.
Positions at 1200 UTC, Saturday 31 March 2012
1 Gold Coast Australia Finished 0316 local time 30 March
2 Singapore 36nm (+36nm DTL**)
3 New York 87nm (+87nm)
4 Derry-Londonderry 115nm (+115nm)
5 Welcome to Yorkshire 200nm (+200nm)
6 Qingdao 212nm (+212nm)
7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 299nm (+299nm)
8 Visit Finland 303nm (+303nm)
9 Geraldton Western Australia 480nm (+480nm) Stealth Mode: position at 0600 UTC 31 March
10 De Lage Landen 633nm (+531nm) Stealth Mode: position at 1800 UTC 29 March
*DTF = Distance to Finish, **DTL = Distance to Leader
Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found at www.clipperroundtheworld.com.
Despite their exhaustion and huge volumes of water over the deck, soaking boats and crews, in this morning’s reports from the skippers there is a distinct sense that the teams are very much enjoying the current sailing conditions as they eat up the miles in their race across the Pacific to Oakland in California’s San Francisco Bay.
“Another great day for the De Lage Landen crew!” Stuart Jackson enthuses. “What beautiful conditions we’ve had today. For the last couple of days we have been blessed with fair winds and calm seas. As we are closing in on the back of the fleet we had to make a tactical decision to sail further south than we would need. The reason for racing more miles at lower speeds is a local phenomenon we have been eyeballing for a couple of days. The two highs that are going to merge will create a very confused wind pattern which we are trying to avoid over the next 24 hours. This decision will cost us some miles but, looking at the weather forecast, we do believe it will pay off.
“Apart from that we are very satisfied to have some boats in our proximity to race again!”
As well as the physical aspect of racing a 68-foot yacht, where every task requires teamwork and simply moving about the boat on an angle requires a great deal of energy, the mental challenge should not be underestimated.
Already the teams have spent 19 days at sea, with the prospect of another ten or more to go, and for the last three days they have been on the same tack, running with pretty much the same sail plan, save for a reef being put in or taken out. In addition the sun has only made two appearances since the ten yachts left China almost three weeks ago and the constant soaking is as much a mental drain as a physical one.
To maintain focus in these conditions is a huge challenge and the crews will be setting themselves targets and records to break for each watch in order to help retain concentration. There are few other sports where such an extended period of total attention is required.
Each measure of progress is greeted with great pleasure, as Ben Bowley, on Singapore explains.
“Another 15 degrees of longitude, another hour forward with the clocks!” he reports. “By the time you are reading this report we shall also have broken the 2,000nm barrier. This will be a very good thing as mentally, I think all of us are starting to be affected by ‘Groundhog Day’ syndrome! We have been fetching along at speed in exactly the same direction with the same sail plan for three days now. It seems that the fleet is experiencing the same conditions as our lead/deficit over our competitors has remained frustratingly matched for the last 24 hours.
“The sun did make a brief appearance today and reminded us of how pleasant a few rays of golden warmth can be after days of staring at overcast skies. We are waiting now for conditions to change and see how Gold Coast Australia fares when we inevitably require full mainsails again. With a lead of just 72nm there is every chance on us getting the jump on them if any part of their repairs is not up to the job. For now though they seem to be making excellent progress and once again I commend Richard and his crew for making good in the face of adversity; if they would just slow down a little I could pass over this praise personally to one and all!”
There’s no sign of deceleration from the Australian entry at the moment and, says Richard Hewson, their mast track repair is holding well.
“Gold Coast Australia is now almost at full power and charging towards San Francisco Bay. Not only are we almost back to full race potential having fixed most of the damage that occurred over the week of storms, but our electronics have also dried out and are all working again; I can now type on the keyboard and press all the keys. It’s the little luxuries in a long race such as this that can bring so much happiness.
“As the wind began to veer and weaken in strength Sean Fuller went up the mast today to make some modifications to our hoisting system and we were also able to shake the final reef out of the sail, giving us a bit of extra speed. The boat is now nicely powered up and we are making some great mileage towards the finish.
“The seas at the moment are unusually flat, resulting in some excellent speeds. Being so far out in the ocean with consistent 20 to 30 knots of wind for the last few days you would expect quite a swell and the sea to build up, however sea and swell are under one metre. I presume this is because of our close proximity to the centre of the high pressure system. Either way it is fantastic sailing and makes excellent conditions for the less experienced helms to have a drive without the danger of being smashed or rounded up by a big wave.
“As one crew member said, Gold Coast Australia is so balanced at the moment you hardly need to touch the helm, and if you had a light auto helm or wind vane you would quite happily set the helm and the crew could all go to bed!”
While the teams match each other mile for mile today’s reports provide an insight into all the other tasks that are required to keep an ocean racing campaign on track. Top of the list: emptying the bilges.
“The wind we have been having for the last couple of days has been great, helping us maintain a 9 -10 knot boat speed in the direction of San Francisco Bay. Sadly the sea state is not helping, as every once in a while a rogue wave will hit the boat and drench the crew on deck and find ways of getting below into the bilges,” explains Juan Coetzer on Geraldton Western Australia.
“The daily task of keeping the boat dry below is not an easy one. The bilges get checked every hour and emptied, but the volumes of water sometimes coming over the deck are immense. During happy hour all of the crew get stuck in, helping empty out all the water from the bilges. A chain gang has been formed and the crew have become rather good at this operation. Thirty-six buckets later we are all done. This is also a good time for both watches to socialize with one another and catch up on the day’s updates.”
New York’s skipper, Gareth Glover, describes how the quartermasters and victuallers have their work cut out for them.
“On a long crossing like this one you are always managing your resources on board. How much gas are we using? How much water are we making or how much fuel do we have in the tanks? Are the crew eating too much or too little? So as well as racing the yacht we also need to think about these things… there is more to racing a yacht than just sailing fast towards your next port!
“We are hoping that this weather system we are in is going to carry us for a few more days. When you’re making good time it sometimes feels like you’re only days away, not weeks. You lose all track of time on a yacht; you know when you have to get up for watch and when you can rest; you know when you’re on mother duties and what jobs need to be done for the day. Time can move very fast, or very slow when there is no wind. The days feel like they’re moving fast – but for how long?”
In their downtime the New York crew members have been talking about what they are going to do when they reach Oakland. Luckily they have their own tour guide on board in the shape of San Francisco resident, Lisa Perkin, who has been helping them formulate their plans.
The main resource concerning Derry-Londonderry’s crew is water. Fresh water is vital for survival and all of the yachts are fitted with water makers which desalinate sea water to make it drinkable. This is in addition to the tanks that hold 800 litres of fresh water which are filled before each race.
Mark Light, skipper of the Northern Ireland entry, says, “On board our water rationing is going well. When we left Qingdao we couldn’t fix our water maker in time so we took on an extra 1,000 litres of fresh water in five-gallon (18.9-litre) bottles – 50 of them! As you can imagine storage was a bit of a logistical challenge and the extra weight was on all our minds. We quickly set in place some procedures which would carry us through to Oakland.
“Each crew member on board is allowed 1.5 litres of water per day as a personal allowance (for drinking, cleaning teeth and washing) and also two hot drinks per day, all precisely administered by the mothers for the day. We have measured and documented exactly how much water each meal takes to prepare and this is strictly adhered to. Bear in mind that most of our food on board is freeze dried, pasta or rice based, and we have powdered milk, porridge for breakfast and bake bread every day.
“We wash all kitchen utensils in sea water, clean using only sea water and wash hands in sea water followed by hand sanitizer. There are strictly no freshwater showers allowed at all, no spare water for laundry and no room for extra rations – not even for the skipper!”
All this, while not affecting their performance in any way, does have one less than pleasant side effect.
Mark adds, “So far we are all healthy and in good spirits, if a little colourful in odour! So, when the LegenDerry crew get in make sure you give us a wide berth, applaud from a distance and believe us when we say we are looking forward to a nice, warm shower!”
With the approaching weather front the teams are working out how best to negotiate the next 24 hours.
“Another day of fast fine reaching has given us another very respectable daily run and I think we have had our fastest week on record so far,” says Olly Osborne. “The weather picture will be changing over the next couple of days and the forerunners of the fleet may be able to stay in the belt of southerlies for longer, leaving the back markers the option of gybing first.”
The Visit Finland skipper adds, “As always we will get what we get and it is surprising to see the fleet still so closely packed after 20 days at sea. So with the date line firmly behind us and the northern hemisphere officially in spring time, things are looking good for a fast run toward the finish.”
“The sun made a rare appearance today, bathing Welcome to Yorkshire in beautiful sunshine as she continues to speed away on a beam reach,” reports Rupert Dean. “Daily runs have continued to be high, enabling us to whittle down the miles to Oakland and reduce the deficit on boats ahead. Hopefully this will continue for at least the next 24 hours and beyond, for the cold front to the west is due to catch us in a day’s time. Conditions then will become less settled, but hopefully not to the detriment of the magnificent sailing conditions currently enjoyed. Certainly from the GRIBS it looks like the wind will veer a little behind us, which is what one would expect as we approach the apex of this colossal high.
“Providing current speeds are maintained, our ‘pink lady’ should break the 2,000 miles to go barrier tomorrow, marking another milestone in this epic race and a cause for celebration for the crew.”
Qingdao’s skipper, Ian Conchie, is hoping his team’s position to the north of the pack will be beneficial when the front comes through.
“Another fast 24 hours of reaching! The pace of the last few days has been relentless with 30 knots apparent wind giving great conditions, but it has also been frustrating knowing that we are pushing as hard as we can and still sometimes we lose a few miles to the boats around us. Hopefully our northerly route will pay dividends soon,” he says.
Having been able to sort out most of the maintenance jobs thrown up by the storms of several days ago, they still have one niggle they haven’t been able to fix yet.
“The most annoying problem is in our electronics,” explains Ian. “We still haven’t managed to find what sets off navigation alarms regularly and we need some calmer conditions to trace the system through the boat.”
There has been no substantial change in the relative positions of the chasing pack in the last 24 hours as the miles count down and, while Qingdao’s tacticians hope their northerly position will be the beneficial one, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, like De Lage Landen, is hoping theirs to the south will be the one that pays off.
“All day yesterday and last night there was no sign of the winds easing and we continued to make excellent progress towards the race finish, still very much in contention for a place on the podium,” Gordon Reid reports.
“This afternoon the winds eased slightly and the sea moderated, allowing us to increase our sail area for the first time in several days, giving us the opportunity to inspect and service the sail where required.
“The approaching high pressure system will bring a change in wind strength and direction. Ensuring we are positioned to take full advantage and avoid its centre will hopefully be what we need to get us past the yachts just a stone’s throw ahead.
“With just over 2,000 miles still to race, this is the time when we really need to dig a little deeper, maintain the high level of focus, look after all of our equipment and keep the faith for the Purple Beastie on the podium.”
Positions at 1200 UTC, Friday 23 March 2012
1 Gold Coast Australia 1,887nm
2 Singapore 1,958nm (+71nm DTL**)
3 Derry-Londonderry 2,071nm (+184nm)
4 New York 2,084nm (+197nm)
5 Qingdao 2,095nm (+208nm)
6 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 2,103nm (+216nm)
7 Welcome to Yorkshire 2,109nm (+222nm)
8 Visit Finland 2,140nm (+253nm)
9 De Lage Landen 2,160nm (+273nm)
10 Geraldton Western Australia 2,170nm (+283nm)
*DTF = Distance to Finish, **DTL = Distance to Leader
Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found at www.clipperroundtheworld.com.
Gold Coast Australia, one of the ten 68-foot yachts competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, has diverted to Taiwan to evacuate a crew member who broke his leg in the gruelling conditions the amateur teams are currently enduring in the race from Singapore to Qingdao, China.
The high winds and heavy seas with waves of up to four metres made it impossible for the search and rescue helicopter and Taiwanese Coast Guard vessel dispatched to the scene to transfer the casualty from the yacht.
Round the world crew member, Tim Burgess, 31, from Petersham, NSW, Australia, was on the foredeck changing a headsail when broke his left leg above the knee.
Dutch entry, De Lage Landen, which was just eight miles from Gold Coast Australia when the incident happened, diverted to assist as they have two doctors among their international crew. The Race Office asked them to stay with the Australian yacht while plans for the medevac were put in place but they have now been released to resume racing.
As a precaution, Gold Coast Australia’s skipper, Richard Hewson, decided to evacuate a second round the world crew member, Nick Woodward, 55, from Birmingham, UK, after he sustained a head injury when he was thrown across the crew accommodation in the rough seas.
Both are now on their way to hospital, Tim and Nick’s families have been informed and the rest of the crew are safe.
The Race Director would like to thank the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres in Falmouth, UK, and Taiwan for their assistance.
Valentine’s Day and there’s love in the air on the Clipper 11-12 yachts but it’s probably fair to say the leading teams are not feeling the love for the lack of wind they are experiencing at the moment. “Nuclear strength coffee has helped Singapore just about keep moving in the last 24 hours,” reports Ben Bowley. “With such varying wind strengths and directions we have had to remain constantly focused and on the ball to ensure that the big red bus keeps working her way slowly toward the Luzon Straits. It’s turning into a real game of cat and mouse at the front of the fleet and all four of us are keeping an eye to leeward in anticipation of the rest of the fleet concertinaing up on us as they carry a little more wind.” Already the back half of the fleet has begun closing in on the leaders as they hold the breeze for longer. Singapore’s skipper continues, “We are desperate to make it to the Luzon Strait and onto the north flowing tidal conveyor belt as one of the top three. I’m fairly sure that the first boats to get away toward Taiwan will start to open up an unassailable lead. “This has required a lot of tweaking and continual shifting between the Yankee 1 and windseeker. Knowing when to switch between the two can make the difference between languishing in a hole for an hour or two and ghosting through with just enough speed to get out the other side ahead of our nearest competitors. Races can be won or lost in light airs and the focus it requires can be just as tiring as smashing to windward in 30 knots of breeze. Although with the deck hatches open at least it is not as sweaty!” Richard Hewson, skipper of Gold Coast Australia, which has been usurped from its leading position in the last six hours by De Lage Landen, agrees with Singapore’s skipper, saying, “The boat that reaches the top of the Philippines and gets into the new wind first will be at a massive advantage over all the other boats in the fleet so we are all working incredibly hard to try to utilise whatever breeze we can find. “The wind has gradually reduced overnight and then begun to back through the morning. Now we are sailing along in under five knots of wind trying to make some sort of headway. Occasionally we will sail into a patch of wind of up to seven knots which makes a massive difference. We also have two knots of current pushing us towards the east which also helps build up our apparent wind slightly. “Over the last couple of hours we have been sailing away from Singapore at five knots SOG (Speed Over Ground), leaving them behind in a wind hole. Now we have stopped almost still and looking at the AIS they are doing 5.8 knots towards the next waypoint. It is really a game of chance and, depending on how the dice rolls, you get wind or you don’t. “At the moment we are sailing east, trying to get into the stronger currents up the western edge of the Philippines as the forecast is for no wind on the entire course for the next day so we may as well be drifting in the right direction at two knots rather than sitting still.” De Lage Landen’s skipper, Stuart Jackson, is also grateful for the effects of the current. He says, “Last night saw the wind die off to a frustratingly light degree. We have been struggling to find a tack that will keep us heading in the desired direction. The current however has been a saving grace and has been gently pushing us in the right direction. It looks like we will be in these conditions for a while longer so we’ll just have to stay patient and hope that the other yachts don’t make too much ground on us, or sail around us entirely!” For a short while Geraldton Western Australia did find a bit of breeze, although it was short lived, according to skipper, Juan Coetzer. But, says the South African yachtsman, they have found a useful wind instrument in the local wildlife. “Last night was rather exciting; the wind picked up to 20 knots. Suddenly, we needed to do sail changes from the Yankee 1 to the Yankee 2 and put a reef in the main sail. Half an hour later, we shook out the reef and changed back to the Yankee 1. The sun rose this morning and the wind died. Currently we are drifting in the current, avoiding whales bobbing around. The blows when they surface make good wind indicators.” Yesterday Derry-Londonderry’s skipper, Mark Light, explained how the crew were refocusing their efforts to avoid slipping further behind the front runners. Today the team representing the UK City of Culture 2013 is about to crash the leading boats’ party having made great gains. “We have had a fantastic run over the last 12 to 18 hours making some good gains on the leading boats,” Mark tells the Race Office this morning. “Last night the wind increased slightly and veered to the east as forecast, allowing us to head up to a superb course of about 035°, exactly where we want to go for once! The wind further increased, necessitating a change down from Yankee 1 to 2 and two reefs to be put in the mainsail. We had great speeds of between ten and eleven knots SOG helped along by a knot of favourable current. “As with all good things this has to come to an end and again, as forecast, the wind started to decrease during the early hours and backed to a more normal north easterly direction. By daylight today the wind had dropped off to only five knots true, making progress painfully slow. “Then we noticed Gold Coast Australia and Singapore appear on our AIS (Automatic Identification System) and we realised exactly how much we had gained overnight. Now, unfortunately, we all seem to be stalling in the same area of light winds so eagerly await new breeze to fill in and keep us on our way north and east.” They will not have too long to wait, according to meteorologist, Simon Rowell. “The next 36 hours will see the winds in the Luzon Straits back from easterly through to north north easterly and the north east again as the monsoon returns. It will be different in the lee of Luzon itself with probably north easterly on average.” Rather ominously Simon warns the skippers that the wind over current effect along the east coast of Taiwan will be ‘quite large’. Just 20 miles behind the front half of the fleet, the tightly packed trio of New York, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Visit Finland is encountering more squally and changeable weather. Gordon Reid, skipper of the yacht representing Scotland’s capital city, explains, “As we make north in the race to Qingdao, the weather conditions are becoming even more variable, with lots of intense squalls, massive wind shifts and now large patches of light winds. “The weather forecast does not predict where there will be wind, so to make the most of whatever wind we find, we have taken to doing some cloud spotting, if we can get on the right side of a bank of clouds we find the wind, get it wrong and you drift. “Now west of the rhumb line, where we are experiencing more wind then those to our east, we are still racing in close proximity to New York. If we can stay in this wind and continue moving north it may well lead to a shake-up in the leader board.” He continues, “In the lighter and variable wind conditions the focus more than ever has to be on the sail trim, to squeeze out every last knot or tenth of a knot as it all counts.” New York, whose crew desperately want to be in the top three when they arrive in Qingdao, have been ringing the changes in their sail plan as the winds shift about. “In the night we had to change down from our Yankee 1 to our Yankee 2 and reefed main as the apparent wind picked up to over 25 knots and now this morning sees us looking for wind as we now have only five knots to play with, with full main and Yankee 1,” reports Gareth Glover. “The crew today are preparing New York for the heavy weather we are going to have closer to Taiwan, from re storing all the yacht’s food and moving any lose items around, sorting out their personal kit and re checking the safety equipment and their life jackets.” Qingdao has finally found the breeze and is pulling away from Welcome to Yorkshire but both teams have gained ground on the rest of the fleet in the last 24 hours. Skipper of the Chinese entry, Ian Conchie, says, “The wind has finally moved around more to the east allowing us to head north. We even managed to point directly to the next waypoint for a few hours last night which raised a cheer as it’s the first time we have managed that since the start of this leg! “This morning the wind dropped allowing us to carry out some maintenance tasks ahead of the next batch of strong wind. We have inspected and the No 2 Yankee and replaced four hanks, we dropped the main for an hour to allow us to change a broken batten and we have carried out all our routine safety checks on our emergency equipment. At the moment the crew are busy checking through the boat to ensure everything is stowed correctly.” Rupert Dean, Welcome to Yorkshire’s skipper, reports, “Feisty conditions all round last night. Intense rain and squalls dominated events, demanding numerous reefs and sail changes to balance the boat. The wind varied hugely in direction too, demanding intense concentration by the helm, trimmers and navigators alike. “With all the rain, confused seas and cloud cover, the moon was unable to make an appearance last night, restricting our visibility severely. This made it even more difficult to pick out approaching squalls, ships and fishing vessels, requiring constant vigilance on radar and AIS. “Hopefully as the winds reduce to the north of Welcome to Yorkshire and enable us to steer directly where we want to go (for the first time in nine days), the fleet will compress and we will take some reward for the efforts put in.” On a more light-hearted note, the crew of Welcome to Yorkshire have been leading the way with their Valentine’s Day celebrations on board. A game of Blind Date has paired up the crew members and they are all going out of their way to make their ‘other half’ feel special on the big day. Qingdao’s crew all received Love Heart sweets, Gold Coast Australia’s mothers for the day have made heart-shaped scones and muffins, De Lage Landen’s chart table is adorned with love hearts and everyone on board had a secret Valentine’s present to open at lunchtime. Although, says Stuart, “The love songs are starting to wear a little thin already!” Geraldton Western Australia’s crew have gone the whole hog. “Today is a special day for all on board – filled with treats,” says Juan. “The crew have all showered and during happy hour we had a toast to ourselves – drinking a wee dram of Kinloch Anderson 12-year-old Scottish single malt whisky.” The whisky was the team’s prize for winning the competition set by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital to celebrate Burns Night. ENDS Positions at 1200 UTC, Tuesday 14 February Boat DTF* 1 De Lage Landen 1,124nm 2 Gold Coast Australia 1,129nm (+5nm DTL**) 3 Singapore 1,133nm (+9nm) 4 Geraldton Western Australia 1,139nm (+15nm) 5 Derry-Londonderry 1,148nm (+24nm) 6 New York 1,164nm (+40nm) 7 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1,171nm (+47nm) 8 Visit Finland 1,171nm (+47nm) 9 Qingdao 1,234nm (+110nm) 10 Welcome to Yorkshire 1,260nm (+136nm)