Clipperrace Race 4, 08.12.2017

08 DECEMBER 2017

Following an intense day of racing on the sixth day of Race 4: The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test, it can be revealed that an incredible thirteen seconds separated the top two teams, and just three minutes 16 seconds separated top three teams, in what has certainly been the closest and most thrilling Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint battle of the 2017-18 edition.

Current Race 4 leader Sanya Serenity Coast edged Visit Seattle, to the fastest time in the sprint (26hrs:17mins:31secs) by the miniscule margin, to take three and two bonus points respectively.

Claiming second place in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint for the second consecutive race, Skipper Nikki Henderson reported: “The crew worked super hard to keep the boat moving. I was particularly impressed by a fantastic gybe just at the end.”

Qingdao completed the sprint in the third fastest time of the fleet and will claim one bonus race point.

With the top nine teams separated by just 55 nautical miles, racing remains incredibly intense behind leaders Sanya Serenity Coast, Qingdao, and Visit Seattle, after almost a week at sea.

Unicef is currently in fourth place. followed by Garmin in fifth and which is maintaining sixth place, just three nautical miles behind. Skipper Conall Morrison commented: “A grey sky and lots of wind is helping us to fly along towards the bottom of Tasmania, and it seems Garmin is experiencing the same as we see them on the AIS (Automatic Identification System).”

Seventh place is maintained by GREAT Britain today, with Liverpool 2018 in eighth after completing the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint overnight. However, as Liverpool 2018 Skipper Lance Shepherd observes, racing remains just as competitive: “With the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint now finished, we are back to good old fashioned regular sailing which to be honest is not much different from ocean sprinting.”

Although Dare To Lead didn’t have the quick Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint it was hoping for, racing remains fast on board the ninth placed team, with Skipper Dayle Smyth reporting: “I took a stint at the helm this morning and hit 24.7 knots, the record of the day, and we continue to have nice big surfs.”

Towards the back of the fleet, PSP Logistics is still fighting to regain positions following its bold decision to take the most southerly route of the fleet earlier in the race with Nasdaq following in eleventh. PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell explains: “We are currently setting ourselves up for the next south of west wind shift which I hope that we can hold all the way down to the virtual beach.”

Looking ahead, teams are now setting their sights fully on Tasmania, the next race waypoint, and are currently in the strongest part of the front which should ease over the next 24 hours.

Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell explains: “By this time tomorrow the wind should have backed and then veered a little again ahead of the next front coming in. This should give the fleet a strong push south of Tasmania.”

Stay tuned to the Clipper Race Viewer, with its hourly position updates, to see how the changing weather conditions will affect the fleet. All positions were correct at time of publishing.

To read the Skipper Blogs in full, or to hear the latest from the crew, visit the Team Pages.


Clipperrace Race 4 06.12.2017

06 DECEMBER 2017

The competition for the lead is heating up ahead of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint with less than five nautical miles separating the top five teams on Day 4 of Race 4: The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test.

Positions at the top of the leaderboard have been changing regularly over the last 24 hours and Skipper of current race leader Sanya Serenity Coast, Wendy Tuck, reports: “We have a drag race going on, folks – must make for interesting watching at home. Let me tell you though it makes for tense times on board, continually asking are we faster/slower, higher/lower all the time, definitely sleeping with one eye open.”

Having recently taken the lead back she added: “Keeps us on our toes so it’s all good. We are ready for anything. I think sometimes it’s easier to chase than to be chased.”

In second place is Unicef and the youngest ever Clipper Race Skipper, Nikki Henderson (24), is close behind on third-placed Visit Seattle and said: “’Lucky us’ and ‘lucky me’ have been the words revolving around my head today – not only the weather and the conditions but we also have an exciting match race on our hands. This is fun and exciting and keeps the crew on their toes and pushes us all to learn and improve and sail better and better.”

Garmin is in fourth place completing the current podium positions, with Qingdao in fifth but there is all to play for with little distance separating the teams and positions expected to change.

The Clipper Race fleet woke up to a beautiful South Australian morning only after being tested by a big cold front that came in overnight with winds increasing to 30 knots plus and Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “We had to reef the mainsail, take the spinnaker down and change to the Yankee. We are now flying towards our waypoint under white sails with boat speeds exceeding 10 knots. The sky cleared this morning, the sun is out and it is a beautiful day sailing in the Southern Ocean.” is currently holding onto sixth position around 15 nautical miles behind the lead while GREAT Britain is further to the north and currently in seventh place.

It has been a tough but rewarding night’s sailing for Liverpool 2018 in eighth place with Skipper Lance Shepherd reporting: “We pushed through some strong winds with very little star light or moon light. Both watches managed it well and we have pulled through to a glorious sunny South Australian morning. A highlight though was seeing a large pod of nearly 20 long-finned pilot whales cruise by us yesterday afternoon.”

In ninth place, Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth remains optimistic and is looking ahead to the next challenge: “We are fast approaching the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint so another opportunity to gain some points. The forecast still looks good to get us to Tasmania in good time and then it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.

”It has been a busy night for tenth-placed Nasdaq and Skipper Rob Graham reports: “We have been through a night and a morning of sail changes – reefs in and out, Staysail up and down and all three Yankees have been used. This has provided the opportunity for some good inter-watch competition as most of our racing headsail changes (from smaller to larger Yankees) are done against the clock.”

Eleventh placed PSP Logistics has also experienced squally conditions that has kept the team busy but Skipper Matt Mitchell believes that the tactic of going further south is starting to pay off: “We are still trying to chip away at the miles between us and the guys to the north and, so far, we have been between 1-2 knots faster on average, so the computer tells us anyway! Fingers crossed that trend continues.”

Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, forecasts that the teams keep the fast reaching conditions for about 24 hours before the wind will veer ahead of the next front which should catch up in the next 24-36 hours. In the meantime, teams can expect some squally conditions.

Stay tuned to the Clipper Race Viewer, with its hourly position updates, to see how the changing weather conditions will affect the fleet ahead of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint!

Read more on the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs available on the Team Pages.


Clipperrace Race 4 05.12.2017

05 DECEMBER 2017

It has been a very close third day of racing in Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test with just 38 nautical miles separating first and tenth position. Day 3 has also brought about much change throughout the leaderboard as teams now begin to gear up for the fourth Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.

Garmin has taken the lead which has previously been held by Sanya Serenity Coast, now in fifth place, since leaving Fremantle and there is fighting talk from Garmin Skipper Gaëtan Thomas. Speaking from on board this morning, he said: “We will do our best to stay in the lead, our canons are ready. Sydney, we are coming!”

Visit Seattle now takes second place, jumping five positions on the leaderboard overnight with Unicef following closely in third, up from eighth place. Despite its fall from first to fifth, Unicef plans to keep a close eye on Sanya Serenity Coast over the coming days. Skipper Bob Beggs explains: “After passing through Virtual Waypoint Mitchell, tactical decisions will be critical to success. Wendo on Sanya Serenity Coast is the real expert in this part of the world and watching her closely is a good move.”

Fourth place goes to Qingdao which has taken a huge step up from eleventh place yesterday thanks to an early tack that paid off, but it is a different story for which has fallen into sixth place from third. However, as Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch explains, the race is still extremely close. He said: “Visit Seattle, Garmin and Unicef tacked shortly after us and are still six nautical miles ahead. GREAT Britain was right behind us all night, but just disappeared from the AIS (Automatic Identification System).

“Since race start this has been a very close race.”

Racing towards the back of the fleet is similarly tight with Liverpool 2018 in seventh place and GREAT Britain, Nasdaq and Dare To Lead following in eighth, ninth and tenth. Nasdaq Skipper Rob Graham observes: “Racing continues to be close – we currently have Dare To Lead, and Liverpool 2018 visible on AIS, and know that the rest of the fleet are not far away either.

“With so many boats in the same weather and on the same course, only helming and trimming can make the difference between positions, and we’re working hard on both.”

Daring to take a different more southerly route from the rest of the pack is eleventh placed PSP Logistics and although this has resulted in sacrificing leaderboard positions, it is a tactical move that Skipper Matt Mitchell hopes will pay off in the coming days. Matt explains: “We always knew that there would be some initial sacrifice by taking a more southerly route and I for one hate being at the back of the fleet.

“It only makes it slightly better that we were expecting to be, however the cogs do start whirring thinking if we have done the right thing or not. Only time will tell! Looking forward to the next few days where we will see if our strategy has paid off.”

Looking ahead, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint will prove to be the next big challenge, although with such close racing some of the fleet is feeling like it is in ‘sprint mode’ already. Weather-wise, Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, comments: “Satellite images show a band of frontal cloud coming through, but it doesn’t look too strong so I expect the fleet will see 40 knots at the top end.

“PSP Logistics might get a bit more as it has taken the southerly route. After this goes through, it should be a couple of days of quite strong south westerly winds down towards Tasmania.”

Stay tuned to the Clipper Race Viewer, with its hourly position updates, to see how the changing weather conditions will affect the fleet ahead of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint!

Read more on the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs available on the Team Pages.

Clipperrace Race 4 04.12.2017

01 DECEMBER 2017

After beating upwind to the south, the Clipper Race fleet is now heading eastwards towards the Great Australian Bight and Sanya Serenity Coast has maintained its lead on the pack over the last 24 hours in Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test despite the wind weakening in its current location.

Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck reports: “What a surprise – we have a bit of a wind hole. It’s not really a surprise, as always could see it and just had to try and figure out the best way to get around it.”

She added: “We have spent until now in the breeze on the same tack as the wind bent round so we could nearly aim where we wanted to, but it seems now we have to pay for this. Blue skies, calmish sea now so, but for the lack of wind, all would be good.”

After heading out further west compared to the other teams in search of more wind, PSP Logistics has moved into second place and Skipper Matt Mitchell said: “Phase 2 of the grand plan is now in effect as, after a short lull in the wind, we are finally on the other tack heading towards Tasmania. After having spent the last couple of days on port tack with a lot of heel, being on the other tack always takes a bit of getting used to as items that were happily stored on one side promptly fall out of their ’secure‘ positions…”

Looking ahead, he added: “If the forecast follows as it should then we should now have a bit of a clear run all the way to Tasmania at least, before we turn northwards into Sydney.”

Having slipped to third place and holding off a challenge from fourth, Skipper Conall Morrison remains upbeat: “Today we are happily sailing towards the waypoint south of Tasman Island in a light southerly breeze and the sun is shining. We have been battling with Liverpool 2018 and are still within one nautical mile.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool 2018 has had an eventful morning and Skipper Lance Shepherd reports: “Inspired by our friends on PSP Logistics, who have taken a flyer to the west, we may have tried to emulate them. Now I’m not saying that we hit a whale… but we may have hit a whale. Just a small whale. And it was a very little nudge.

“We did a check of our steering cables as well as a hull inspection at the bow and everything is tickety-boo.”

With the crew and yacht safe and well, Lance added: “Sorry mate. I hope your head doesn’t hurt too much in the morning.”

At the time of writing, the fleet has roughly split into two groups with Dare To Lead and Nasdaq, in fifth and sixth respectively, making up rest of the southern group of the fleet.

Garmin, in seventh, is leading the northern group with Unicef not far behind in eighth, with Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs reporting: “We are now on our easterly starboard tack heading towards ‘Virtual Waypoint Mitchell’ which is the next mark on the course almost due south of Hobart, Tasmania.”

In ninth place, GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns tried to steal an early march on the rest of the fleet and explains: “We started with a tack in the early hours and tried to get a head start east, unfortunately this didn’t work for us and we are at the back of a pack of five of the northern most boats.”

He added: “Being technically from the north myself this doesn’t bother me so much just as long as the current southern pansies don’t get as much wind. The next 24 hours is really just a case of let’s see what happens until the wind fills in from the south.”

Bringing up the rear of the northern group of the fleet is Visit Seattle in tenth and Qingdao in eleventh, whose Skipper, Chris Kobusch, reports: “Despite all efforts, reef in, reef out, traveller up, traveller down, sheet in, sheet out, change of helmsman and so on, we somehow kept falling back and could not keep up with the rest of the fleet. With the first sign of a wind shift we then decided to tack and see, if we could gain some miles heading east.”

Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, reports that although the fleet has hit a light patch of wind, the new breeze should fill in from the south and west and should build over the next 24 hours or so.

Stay tuned to the Clipper Race Viewer, with its hourly position updates, to see how the changing weather conditions will affect the fleet!

Read more on the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs available on the Team Pages.


Clipperrace 4 03.12.2017

03 DECEMBER 2017

After a short but very welcome stopover in Fremantle, Western Australia, the Clipper Race fleet has enjoyed its initial 24 hours at sea on the first day of Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test. The fleet continues to be closely bunched as it rounds Cape Leeuwin with a difference of less than 20 nautical miles separating the eleven Clipper Race teams.

Sanya Serenity Coast has stolen the early advantage once again and Skipper Wendy Tuck has added incentive to get to Sydney as quickly as possible: “We are off racing to my home town – yippee. It was a beautiful night sailing last night, clear skies and a nearly very bright moon, and not too cold. Everyone happy on board even if it takes a few days to get back into eat, sleep, sail, laugh, repeat.”

She is certainly not resting on her laurels and added: “We had a good start [and] it has now been a bash up wind, we have cleared the corner of Western Australia and still heading south. Some tough calls await regarding avoiding some wind holes.”

Less than five nautical miles is currently separating the teams between second and ninth place with positions expected to change regularly over the next 24 hours. is currently leading the chasing pack and Skipper Conall Morrison has the race leader in his sights: “After making our way around the cans and getting some gybing practice in we are close hauled on our way southwards. At present we are about 40 nautical miles south west of Cape Leeuwin and we can just about see race leader Sanya Serenity Coast.”

After a particularly tough and emotional Leg 3 and stopover for GREAT Britain, the team has responded remarkably well and is currently in third position. Skipper Andy Burns said:“We had an epic start out of the blocks and around Rottnest Island. The crew all had their heads in the game, making it much easier.

“The first night’s sail under moon light, starry skies, open ocean and the view of our fellow competitors’ navigation lights was a sight to be seen and one you wouldn’t quite appreciate from dry land.”

Reallocated Greenings crew have now joined teams across the fleet and he added: “We welcome three of the Greenings crew, who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and a new edge of competitiveness.”

Following close behind is Garmin in fourth and Liverpool 2018 in fifth. Meanwhile, in sixth position, Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs has caught up with the close-knit pack after a difficult start: “A great start for spectators yesterday although our position over the line wasn’t fantastic. We are now racing in a close pack of Clipper Race yachts watching each other closely.”

The teams are rounding the second of three famous great capes and he added: “We have all cleared Cape Leeuwin and are cracking on south awaiting a wind shift. We should then see the different strategies develop.”

It was also a difficult start for seventh-placed Visit Seattle with Skipper Nikki Henderson commenting: “The first day of the race has proven challenging. Not too sure why, but we just couldn’t make our boat move very well last night and struggled to stay up with the pack. Things have improved a little this morning so hoping we can remain competitive.”

To the west of the chasing pack is Qingdao in eighth and Nasdaq in ninth with the latter Skipper Rob Graham reflecting on the Fremantle stopover: “The Maintenance Team did a great job – working flat out to get all of the issues from Leg 3 resolved, and the Clipper Race Office staff somehow managed to make the schedule work.”

Looking ahead, he added that: “We still have seven other boats in sight and the other three showing on AIS. A messy, unsettled patch of wind might shake things up a bit in the next day or so, but it should be a good close race all the way.”

Tenth place PSP Logistics and eleventh place Dare To Lead opted for similar tactics at the start by initially heading inshore. Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth explains: “We went inshore last night seeking some flatter water but it definitely didn’t pay off and we are squarely at the back of the fleet. Anyhow a long way to go.”

With a low-pressure system moving in over the next 36 hours, positions could all change and Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, reports that: “The breeze should veer and also be quite variable as the ridge moves around Cape Leeuwin. It’ll be a tactical maze for the teams, but the decent breeze to the south of it is coming in anyway, so the ridge between the south/south-east ahead of it and the south/south-west behind it shouldn’t be more than a few hours.”

Stay tuned to the Clipper Race Viewer,with its hourly position updates, to see how the changing weather conditions will affect the fleet!


Clipperrace Race3 25.11.2017

25 NOVEMBER 2017

After 25 days and almost 4,800 nautical miles of racing across the Southern Ocean, the finish positions for Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race from Cape Town, South Africa, to Fremantle, Australia, will come down to the final few nail-biting hours.

It is the second straight day that Unicef has been in the number one position and whilst his team’s first podium finish is in sight, Skipper Bob Beggs’ thoughts are fixed on his closest and somewhat surprise competitor, GREAT Britain, which has made a highly impressive leap from sixth to second in the past 24 hours.

Currently in a drag race to the finish line in Fremantle Harbour, Unicef leads GREAT Britain by around 7 nautical miles, as Bob says: “Well the race will come to an end for most of the fleet over the next 24hrs and its another frantic and exciting finish.

“Sadly, we leave one of our fellow journeymen Simon Speirs behind, but he won’t be forgotten. His passing is etched in the memories of the whole Clipper Race family. The skipper and crew of GREAT Britain are sailing close by to us and will hopefully fulfil Simon’s dream of a podium place today.”

There is no doubt that their beloved teammate Simon is the driving force behind GREAT Britain’s strong finish, with Skipper Andy Burns saying: “Today is the grand finale for which we are all hoping for a bitter sweet ending to such a tragic crossing of the Southern Ocean.

“I just want to take my hat off to the crew onboard GREAT Britain for their grit, determination and drive in the face of adversity.”

Visit Seattle is currently in third position on the leader board, but will be fighting PSP Logistics for the final spot on the podium. Both teams due to arrive between 2000 and 2200 local time Visit Seattle, whilst the fifth placed Qingdao (which has played its Joker Card which will see its race points doubled) is right behind, and is expected to cross the finish line between 2100 – 2300.

Visit Seattle Skipper Nikki Henderson comments: “This is so close! I think it must be about 8 miles separating us, Qingdao and PSP Logistics.

“We are pushing, pushing, pushing to hold them off but both boats are being sailed very well. We just need to make no mistakes and double, triple check everything.”

PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell agrees, adding: “It really could be anyone’s race and we are working hard to keep the boat going as fast as possible. We tried a slightly different route to give us a higher wind angle on our way towards Rottnest Island and it’s not working out too badly so far!”

Dare To Lead remains in sixth place, though Sanya Serenity Coast is just 8 nautical miles behind in seventh. After leading for the majority of the race before getting stuck in a wind hole just days ago, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck says: “The only way to describe this race is as a roller coaster ride of positions and emotions.

“We are still chasing hard on Dare to Lead and we will not give up trying.” is continuing to move up the rankings, and is now just 5 nautical miles off the eighth placed Liverpool 2018, with both teams expected to arrive Sunday morning, local time. The Clipper Race Committee has also announced that will be awarded a redress of 1 hour and 30 minutes for taking on six crew members of Greenings in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Tenth placed Garmin is due to arrive on Sunday afternoon, and has come out of Stealth Mode early, due to the rule that teams are not permitted to use Stealth Mode within 250 nautical miles of the finish line. It will be a close finish with Nasdaq, who is less than 20 nautical miles behind in eleventh place.

To track the progress of the teams into Fremantle, keep an eye on the Clipper Race Viewer. The latest ETAs will also be updated on the website.

The latest ETAs have over-the-line teams Unicef arriving between 1800 and 2000 local time (1000 – 1200 UTC), whilst GREAT Britain is currently expected between 1900 – 2100 (1100 – 1300 UTC).

All arrivals at the Fremantle Sailing Club will be shown live on Facebook Live, subject to weather conditions, and you can read the Skipper Blogs in full on the Team Pages.


Clipperrace Race 3 23.11.2017

23 NOVEMBER 2017

Over the last two days of racing a high-pressure system has consumed the lead Sanya Serenity Coast held for the majority of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race across the Southern Ocean. As a result, Visit Seattle is now leading with less than 400 nautical miles until the finish in Fremantle and podium places are all still for the taking.

After opting to hide its position from the rest of the fleet, by using Stealth Mode yesterday, Visit Seattle has reappeared on the Race Viewer ahead of both Sanya Serenity Coast and PSP Logistics, but all three teams are still struggling with the light winds that have entrapped them.

For Sanya Serenity Coast, now in fifth place, this has been a disheartening couple of days with Skipper Wendy Tuck reporting: “This has been a disappointing time on board Sanya Serenity Coast. We have seen our lead just get smashed, we are no longer in the lead and have dropped a fair few places back. I won’t lie, it really is tough.

“But never fail we have not given up, we are trying to get every minuscule of speed out of our mighty ship.”

PSP Logistics is still holding onto second place but Skipper Matt Mitchell is also frustrated by their current progress: “Well, this is annoying. Initially we made good speed into the high but for the last 12 hours we’ve been doing anything from one to five knots as zephyrs trickle past us. As expected while we have been stopped the guys behind have caught up considerably, this morning Chris and his team kept the wind to come up on us and they are now eight miles to the north.”

Currently in third place, Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch said: “The wind hole brought the fleet back together and everyone seems to struggle to keep the boats moving. We are putting all our efforts in to keep the apparent wind high and therefore at least maintain a little bit of speed, which so far seems to work quite well.”

On board fourth-placed Dare To Lead, Skipper Dale Smyth is hesitant to predict what the effect of the wind hole will eventually be saying: “Who knows what the result on standings might be with these conditions and huge leads have already been lost. Everyone is in better spirits now that the ocean seems less hostile and when this wind hole fills through we will truly be on the home stretch.”

For sixth-placed GREAT Britain, in the words of its crew, focus is on reaching Fremantle: “We are sailing with a quiet determination, with dignity, we are proud of what we have achieved but humbled by events.”

Liverpool 2018 and Garmin, in seventh and eighth respectively, with the fairer weather and light airs are preparing to maximise their time off in Fremantle by starting their jobs list early, whilst still hoping their progress won’t be as slow as the current leaders. Liverpool 2018 Skipper Lance Shepherd said: “We have all fingers and toes crossed that the wind hole won’t be too bad and will play out for us but we are on the same track as Sanya Serenity Coast which has been severely parked up for a couple of days now.”

It’s a Happy Thanksgiving from on board Nasdaq and, whilst the team doesn’t have any turkey, they do have wind and are making good progress towards Fremantle. Skipper, Rob Graham said: “The wind is favourable, the sea is almost flat and the sun is shining. We have been able to keep up a steady 10+ knots directly towards Freo, whilst the fleet updates show the boats ahead of us parked up in another (hopefully the last) wind hole.

“However, we’re not counting our (turkey!) chicks until they’ve hatched, as we still have 600+ nautical miles to go, and is catching us as fast as we’re catching the leaders.” is also feeling hopeful that they will avoid the dreaded wind hole ahead. Skipper Connall Morrison said: “The crew are eagerly watching us gain miles on some of the other boats that have been stuck in the wind hole that we are really hoping to avoid! The weather reports look promising but you can never guarantee anything in the ocean so we will make the best of the wind while we have it.”

Simon Rowell, Clipper Race Meteorologist, reports that the high-pressure system should shift to leave good downwind conditions for the race to the line with estimated arrivals into Fremantle looking to be between 24 -26 November.

Read more on the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs available on the Team Pages.

For the latest positions of the fleet today, please see the Clipper Race Viewer. All data correct at time of writing.