76. How The Clipper Race Is Scored

The winning yacht in each individual race is awarded 11 points, second place gets 10 points and so on down to 1 point for eleventh place. The team with the highest cumulative points total at the end of the circumnavigation will win the Clipper Race trophy.

Simples …….. well not quite.

Within individual races, teams may gain additional points via tactical bonus point opportunities. Most races will have at least one “Scoring Gate.” A “Scoring Gate” is a virtual gate between two points along the race track that each team can chose whether to pass through or not. The first three teams to cross the gate gain extra points: 3 points for first, 2 points for second, and 1 point for third. The position of the “Scoring Gate” is usually some distance off the main rhumb line (the shortest distance between the race start and race finish ports), making the decision to go for it, or not, a tactical one. Do you increase the distance you sail to pick up extra points?

Each race is also likely to include at least one “Ocean Sprint.” An “Ocean Sprint” is a time trial between two pre-set lines of longitude or latitude. The fastest three teams crossing these lines, irrespective of overall race position, gain extra bonus points: 3 points for the quickest crossing, 2 points for the second quickest and one point for the third quickest. There is one “Scoring Gate” and one “Ocean Sprint” on the first race down to Portimao in Portugal.

The Scoring Gate (to port of the rhumb line crossing the Bay of Biscay) and the Ocean Sprint for Race 1 of Leg 1 2019-2020.
The Scoring Gate and Ocean Sprint for the single race of Leg 3 on the last edition of the Race.
The Scoring Gate and Ocean Sprint crossing the Southern Ocean 2017-2018.

Each team has the opportunity to play their Joker once during the circumnavigation, resulting in doubling their finishing points for that particular race only. Jokers must be declared before race start. Any bonus points won will not be doubled by the Joker, only race points. No teams have opted to play their Jokers on the current Leg 1, Race 1.

Penalty points may be applied by the Race Committee to any team for loss or damage to general equipment, damage to sails or infringement of any of the race rules. Penalty points will be calculated and announced/applied at the end of each of the 8 Legs of the Race.

And finally, Stealth Mode. This doesn’t attract points but each team is allowed to go into Stealth Mode. Each team has the opportunity for up to two 24 hour periods in each race to have their position hidden from other competitors (and the public). This could be useful to hide certain tactical/routing decisions particularly when out of sight/out of AIS range of other teams. Teams must give the Race HQ no less than 6 hours notice and Stealth Mode cannot be used within 250 nautical miles of the finish line of each individual race.

Right now I’m going into Stealth Mode as I’m off to Old Trafford in the morning to watch Day 1 of the Fourth Ashes Test Match against Australia 😉

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