Two years from now …….. I should be starting the final race of the final leg of the 2019-2020 Clipper Round The World Yacht Race ……… as the final race of the final leg of the 2017-2018 edition of the race got underway from Derry-Londonderry yesterday.
Since leaving Liverpool almost a year ago, the surviving eleven Clipper yachts (Greenings was wrecked off the coast of South Africa at the beginning of Leg 3 last year) have battled each other in 12 races over 8 legs and experienced everything from wind holes with no wind to hurricane force winds and phenomenal sea states, extreme heat and freezing conditions, and boats speeds up to 35 knots. The race has included stopovers in Punta del Este, Uruguay; Cape Town, South Africa; Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart and the Whitsundays in Australia; Sanya and Qingdao in China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; and most recently Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
This final race will run anti-clockwise around Ireland, to the 28th July finish line in Liverpool Bay with 12 points available to the first yacht across the line. However Clipper 2017-2018 won’t quite be over by then as the entire circumnavigation then concludes with a Le Mans start and a 20 mile sprint up the River Mersey to a finish line off the Royal Albert Dock, in which the top three teams will be awarded 3, 2 and 1 points respectively.
Sanya Serenity Coast, skippered by Australian Wendy Tuck started the final race at the top of the overall race leaderboard with 137 points. Visit Seattle and Qingdao, skippered by Britain Nikki Henderson and German Chris Kobusch respectively, are joint second with 123 points. Significantly, Visit Seattle are playing their Joker Card on this very last race which means their final race points will be doubled. Amongst the rest of the fleet there is still plenty of competition for final places. PSP Logistics and Garmin are both tied in fourth place, 11 points behind Qingdao. Dare to Lead is sixth, 2 points ahead of Unicef in seventh, who is 12 points ahead of Great Britain in eighth. At the bottom of the fleet Hotelplanner.com in tenth will be looking to advance on Liverpool 2018, just 2 points ahead, while also keeping a close eye on Nasdaq, 6 points behind them. Wendy Tuck and Nikki Henderson are competing to be the first ever female winning skipper in the event’s 22 year history, indeed a female skipper has never before won a round the world yacht race.
Right now, as the fleet rounds the NW tip of Ireland its Qingdao leading Liverpool 2018 ahead of Unicef, PSP Logistics, Visit Seattle, Sanya Serenity Coast, Dare to Lead, Garmin, Great Britain, Hotelplanner.com and Nasdaq in that order with less than 3 miles between the top five and less than 14 miles between first and eleventh. They have about 960 miles left to race.
The current Race Viewer, updated hourly, the Leaderboard details and the Skipper’s blogs, team pages and crew diaries are all available via the dropdown menu on the Clipper website at http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com …………………. this time in 2 years!!!