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)