RACE 4 DAY 13: WINDHOLE FRUSTRATION ON FINAL DAY
15 DECEMBER 2017
With almost half the Clipper Race fleet now in Sydney, the thirteenth day of racing is proving pretty unlucky for the six teams still racing as un-forecasted windholes provide frustration in the final 100 nautical miles of this race.
Sydney Skipper Wendy Tuck pulled off the win into her home city as Sanya Serenity Coast was first over the The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test finish line, just 17 minutes ahead of Visit Seattle, and Qingdao took third spot. PSP Logistics was fourth and Dare to Lead finished in fifth.
Unicef is expected to be next to join the teams at the CYCA in Rushcutters Bay. However, with only 50nm left to the finish, Skipper Bob Beggs reports: “SOS save our souls, we need wind to sail in for Christmas. Yes the weather forecast has been optimistic, offering 15 knots of wind from the south giving code one (lightweight spinnaker) angles with the promise of arriving this evening for beer and showers, but the forecast didn’t pan out!
“Instead we have been going through our sail wardrobe to keep inching forward and just occasionally a little backwards in the adverse current.”
Garmin is in seventh with 90 nm to go and has been experiencing a similarly frustrating time with the windholes requiring an abundance of sail changes meaning the crew and Skipper are really being put through their paces to reach the end goal.
The battle between Liverpool 2018, Nasdaq and GREAT Britain continues to be intense with their race positions changing regularly as less than three miles currently separates them.
Skipper Rob Graham on board Nasdaq, which was eighth just an hour again and is now in tenth, says: “So close … and so little wind! We’re stuck in a wind hole less than 100nm from our finish line, drifting aimlessly on the current whilst our sails flap in still air. GREAT Britain, Garmin, Liverpool 2018 and Hotelplanner.com are all close by and doing the same.
“On Nasdaq we’re making best use of the time by ticking a few more items off the jobs list, but it is incredibly frustrating to sit here waiting for wind and rolling in the swell.”
GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns says there are two less than ideal options facing the team, as he explains: “Option number one is to sail south away from a massive predicted windhole but away from Sydney, option number two is to sail directly towards a predicted windhole which is forecast to be there for Friday and Saturday unless we get some local weather effects.
“I’m leaving this decision to the crew and grabbing some shut eye after a busy night of changing sails.”
Only 10nm behind this group, Hotelplanner.com, in eleventh, is striving to make gains in the final stages as the wind fills in, perhaps temporarily, at the back.
Skipper Conall Morrison reports: “A busy 24 hours on Hoteplanner.com. From 18 knot Spinnaker surfs last night to 0.0 knots in a wind hole at local midday, to a respectable 7.5 knots in the right direction just now.
“We need to congratulate Sanya Serenity Coast, Visit Seattle and Qingdao on their podium placings. It has been tough coastal sailing recently and they have certainly worked hard to get the best out of their boats.
“We look forward to having a beer with their crews when we arrive, unfortunately a Northerly wind and another wind hole may delay us that little bit more…”
Stay glued to the Race Viewer to watch how this final slog plays out for the teams.
To keep up to date on the latest positions as Race 4 comes to a close, check out the Clipper Race Viewer with its hourly updates and the latest ETA reports from Clipper Race Director Mark Light.
To read the Skipper Blogs in full, or to hear the latest from the crew, visit the Team Pages on the Clipper Race website.
Once in Sydney, look out on our Clipper Race Live page on Facebook for live videos of the teams arriving into port.
All positions were correct at time of publishing.