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Australian Skipper Leading Overall Clipper Race As Final Stage Of All-Australian Leg Begins

January 8, 2018 Sports No Comments Email Email

The third and final stage of the All-Australian Leg 4 in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway today from Hobart, Tasmania, and is headed to Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays with Wendy Tuck, the Australian Skipper of Sanya Serenity Coast, at the top of the overall race Leaderboard.

Wendy and Sanya Serenity Coast was first across the start line in Hobart, and continued to lead the rest of the Clipper Race fleet up the River Derwent.

Officially known as Race 6: The Wondrous Whitsundays Race, the eleven Clipper 70s will race over 1,600 nautical miles up the East Coast of Australia and all eyes will be on the Skipper from Sydney who secured a hometown victory in Race 4 from Fremantle and also took line honours (eventually finishing second after redress) in the Clipper 70 Class of the iconic Sydney to Hobart Race.

Just before setting off from Hobart, Wendy Tuck said: “The crew is excited to go into Race 6. It does help to have a good result and then having a good result that could have been better because it makes them all work even harder.”

The fleet is expected to face a predominantly upwind race with crews needing to negotiate the dominating Eastern Australian Current (EAC). Speeds in the core of the EAC, an oceanic current which moves warm water from the tropical Coral Sea, are some of the strongest in the South Pacific and each team will need to agree on the best race tactic; staying closer to the current, where speeds are stronger, or heading further offshore where the effects of the current are weaker, but will add extra miles to the sprint.

Wendy is not phased by the challenge and hopes to keep up her recent performance streak,, adding: “I’ve done a lot of sailing up and down this coast so I’ve done a fair few miles but at the end of the day it’s the current that we’ll all be looking at on the charts and getting the information on that, so who knows if it will make a difference.

She adds: “Fortunately, the team is really good at upwind sailing. The boat sails really well upwind, too. We look forward to upwind conditions because we normally do well. Even though its cold, wet and uncomfortable, we normally do well in it.” During the course of the race, teams will also need to think tactically about both the Scoring Gate and Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. These virtual gates offer the chance to pick up bonus race points, but could make the race route longer and teams could risk losing valuable leaderboard places.

The addition of headwinds from prevailing Easterlies could make the race a bit of a slog for Skippers and their crews. Luckily for the Clipper Race fleet, the stunning surroundings of the Whitsundays will be the reward.

Garmin Skipper Gaëtan Thomas, who has played the Joker Card meaning that the team will double its points for this race, has sailed much of the Whitsundays solo and also completed his RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification in the area. Speaking ahead of the race he says: “We played our Joker Card (single use card which doubles a team’s points for one chosen race stage) because it’s a short race, we’ve got the same team as the previous two races so we are working well together and because I also have some local knowledge in the Whitsundays. We felt it was the right time.”

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is unique in that it is the only event on the planet which trains non-professional sailors to become ocean racers. 40 per cent of crew members have never sailed before they sign up and undertake four weeks of intensive training. 40,000 nautical miles in length, the circumnavigation is divided into eight legs and takes eleven months to complete.

Teams are expected to arrive into Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays, between 13-15 January 2018, where the fleet will be berthed at Abell Point Marina and the region is expected to come alive for the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.

Following a scenic stopover, the teams will depart once again on 29 January for the Chinese Host Ports of Sanya, the home port of the overall race leaders, and Qingdao, which completes Leg 5: The Asia-Pacific Leg.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race started out from Liverpool’s Albert Dock on 20 August 2017 and has already raced via Punta del Este – Uruguay. Cape Town, Fremantle. Sydney and Hobart. Following the end of the All-Australian Leg and the upcoming Asia Pacific Leg 5, teams will race across the Pacific Ocean to Seattle and then on to Panama, New York and Derry – Londonderry. The race is scheduled to return to Liverpool on 28 July 2018, where one of the eleven teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy.

OVERALL CLIPPER 2017-18 RACE STANDINGS

1   SANYA SERENITY COAST         56

2   QINGDAO                               54*

3   DARE TO LEAD                        49*

4   VISIT SEATTLE                        48

5   GREAT BRITAIN                       44*

6   PSP LOGISTICS                        40

7   GARMIN                                   35

8   HOTELPLANNER.COM                31

9   UNICEF                                    28

10   LIVERPOOL 2018                     24

11   NASDAQ                                 22

(* Already played Joker Card)

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