Clipper 11-12 : Race 14 underway as fleet spars for final positions on leader board
Sunday, 08 July 2012
Derry-Londonderry to Den Helder
After a spectacular visit and farewell ceremony held in Derry-Londonderry the UK City of Culture 2013, thousands of spectators flocked to wish the fleet well as it performed an impressive parade of sail on the River Foyle to mark the start of Race 14 to Den Helder in the Netherlands.
As the teams settle back into life at sea thoughts about the amazing visit to Derry-Londonderry are now turning to what lies ahead and the fleet is back into full race mode, pressing north to round the top of the British Isles before heading into the North Sea.
Clipper Race Director Jonathan Bailey, says, “This race could prove to be a challenging one if conditions deteriorate or it could equally be a test of light wind sailing skills. It will be heavily influenced by the depressions that come across the Atlantic much further north during the summer months and also the strong tidal flows around the coastline.”
Following an unfavourable start to the race Gold Coast Australia has chased down the lading pack in the last few hours, sparring with Singapore and Welcome to Yorkshire over a distance of two miles. With only 30 miles separating the fleet, it will be interesting to see how the positions change over the next few days of this challenging race.
To add to the challenge Stealth Mode periods, Scoring Gate and Ocean Sprint points do not apply in this short 800-mile race, putting the pressure on to secure those all-important podium points.
Race 14 to Den Helder in the Netherlands is the penultimate competition in the Clipper 11-12 Race, the fleet is expected to arrive between 11-13 July and will be berthed at the Willemsoord Marina. The fleet will set off on its final race back to Southampton on 19 July, finishing in the Solent on Sunday 22 July.
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Piers Dudin
There are stopovers, and then there are stopovers, and THAT was a stopover! The Edinburgh Inspiring Capital team would like to extend a huge thank you to all the people of Derry-Londonderry for making us so welcome in their awesome city, especially our Anchor Innkeepers who looked after us so well and it was great to see so many of our families and friends too.
After the excitement of the start passed and we settled into our racing lifestyle. The crew are still in absolute awe of the turnout we experienced and is already reminiscing of the time we'd had but soon enough the wind has built and we're picking it up again, pretty much where we left off - bashing into some rough stuff.
We are making good progress with the fleet up towards the Outer Hebrides and we've got until Monday afternoon to get up and round the top corner of Scotland or we'll miss a crucial tidal gate, if the front runners make it through before then they'll most likely get a strong advantage. So we're on full press for the moment.
Crew member Nick Barclay (‘Scarlet’) seems to have the sturdiest sea legs on board in the galley, totally unphased by his work place being at a constant 45 degree angle with a few crashes off waves thrown in for good measure!
Sleep is tricky on the first night out at the best of times but the current conditions are giving rise to a few bleary eyes amongst the crew already.
So Race 14 'Round Scotland Race' is a go and we are ALL OVER IT!
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Gareth Glover
Huge thanks must go out to the people of Derry-Londonderry for the best welcome and send-off to date; all the people that visited made the crew feel like rock stars.
As we approached the race start area we had decent winds so hanked on the Yankee 2. Just 30 minutes before the race was due to start the wind dropped to less than ten knots so we un-hanked the Yankee 2 for the Yankee 1.
After running the line a few times the wind was coming off the western shore and there was still a bit of tide ebbing out so most of the yachts started from that end. We started with a few yachts to windward of us which did slow us down after being in their wind shadow, but as the fleet spread out we got some clean airs and put in a few tacks to keep us to the west to make good speed over ground (SOG).
The winds have built over the evening and we have made a number of sail changes over the watch and reefs in the main, as we beat again towards the waypoint. The wind has been up to 30 knots making the first day and night a bit lively. After being on land for a few days it makes it a bit harder to get back into a routine.
Welcome to Yorkshire
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Rupert Dean
After an incredible week of events, festivities and welcomes, the people of Derry-Londonderry raised the bar again in providing the Clipper Race fleet with an amazing farewell. Thousands of people lined the River Foyle as the fleet paraded down the river towards the start at Greencastle.
As the gun went off, Welcome to Yorkshire got a very good start, close to the Inner Distance Mark at the Greencastle end of the line. With just Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital ahead, she made swift progress in the light headwinds under full main, staysail and Yankee 1. With the wind coming from the north northwest the challenge was to see if we could clear the Tuns Bank on port tack. It was touch and go but happily, due to a lift as we progressed north, we succeeded. Others were not so lucky.
Once back in the North Atlantic, the flat sea resembled a giant chessboard as the fickle winds forced yachts onto different tacks within a relatively small area. As the winds stabilised, we tacked onto starboard. We've been on this tack ever since making good speed, close-hauled to the north-west. The crew have been working hard reducing our sail plan to 2 reefs in the mainsail, staysail and Yankee 2 as the wind has veered to the north-east, as originally predicted.
As we track away from the ‘Emerald Isle’, the spirit and generosity of the people of Derry-Londonderry is at the front of our minds and will remain in our memories for years to come. Derry-Londonderry is indeed a very brave city, moving forward and away from its past troubles in the name of peace and prosperity ahead. On behalf of the sponsor and crew on Welcome to Yorkshire I wish to thank the city for a wonderful stay.
Complete this three minute survey on Welcome to Yorkshire’s partnership with the Clipper Race for a chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher
Click to take part
Gold Coast Australia
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Richard Hewson
After a truly remarkable, emotional and enjoyable send off by the people of Derry-Londonderry Gold Coast Australia proceeded to the start area off Greencastle. People waving flags, yelling and blowing whistles lined the banks and a flotilla of yachts escorted us out to the start line and beyond in a display that would be hard to match by any other stopover. Gold Coast Australia felt heroic and proud to be part of such an amazing event and on behalf of the crew on board and our supporters I would like to thank the people from Derry-Londonderry, and pass on our congratulations to the organisers for putting on such a fantastic event.
Not so fantastic was Gold Coast Australia’s start, as the wind died with under a minute to go reducing our manoeuvrability in the strong ebbing tidal stream along the shore. While trying to slow the boat down, our Yankee 1 backed and could not be recovered, forcing us to tack and make a second approach to the start line, costing us valuable time.
We have been playing catch up ever since and have worked our way up from mid-fleet to second place overnight. The wind in the early evening was quite shifty and variable across the course and we took full advantage of this to move from the southern to the northern side of the course where the wind has been fresher allowing us to lift higher than many of the other yachts in the fleet.
The wind is now blowing from a more consistent direction, though it is gusting up to 30 knots so we are reefed down and flying our Yankee 2, as we punch our way to windward and up the west coast of Scotland to chase down the frontrunners, Singapore.
Geraldton Western Australia
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Juan Coetzer
Derry-Londonderry has been an amazing stopover. Everybody in the town came around to see us off. There were crowds along the pier, along the river bank, across the bridge, on small motor boats and sail boats, all cheering and waving us off. Crew member Niall McMonagle’s dad (John McMonagle) was like a father to us, driving us around to places, feeding us and letting some crew stay over.
Race start was pretty spectacular. We all lined up crossing the line on time and once out in the bay it was anybody’s game, as some of the fleet are sailing 10 to 39 degrees higher or lower. During the night the breeze has filled in and we are making good progress north.
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Ben Bowley
Rarely have we had such a crowd to see us off the dock before and certainly never so many people who willingly came to stand in the rain! The crew and I would like to extend warm, heartfelt thanks to the people of Derry-Londonderry for making us feel so welcome in their fantastic, vibrant city.
Onto matters racing; Yesterday's start was a tricky one with very light airs to begin with and a reasonable bit of ebb tide sweeping us down to the line. With a heavy port bias, we decided to start somewhere to the left of middle and ensure we had clean air. Our plan seemed to pay off rather well and it was not too long before we realised we had clawed our way into first place. As we headed offshore the effects of the tide on our headings and wind angles was quite dramatic and some big gains and losses were made in the first few miles. Luckily for us the wind gods have kept smiling on us and we made some excellent ground at this stage.
As we have been heading offshore we have slowly been reducing sail plan to match the gradually building conditions. Currently we are sailing hard on the wind, pushing the yacht and the team to the limit in an effort to keep ahead of both Gold Coast Australia and Welcome to Yorkshire. Once again, Gold Coast Australia seems to have made an excellent recovery after what was not their most auspicious start this year; we shall have to pull out all the stops this race if we are to keep them from top spot on the podium; wish us luck!
De Lage Landen
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Stuart Jackson
Goodbye Derry-Londonderry, Den Helder here we come! After a great week spent in the city of Derry-Londonderry, the fleet has been sent off to sea one more time. That send- off was accompanied by a gentle breeze that has steadily been increasing throughout the night.
Except for the seasickness on board, everything is going well and we have made good progress overnight catching up with the leading pack in this race. Our eye is fixed on the Isle of Lewis and the first yacht to round the top of it will see their lead time multiply over the next 24 hours.
For the crew on board De Lage Landen, this is going home!
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Ian Conchie
What an amazing send-off to finish off a brilliant stopover; thank you to everyone in Derry-Londonderry. As we motored to the start line we were watching the wind to decide what headsails to use and after looking at the wind at the line itself we decided on the Yankee 2.
Then true to form ten minutes from the start the wind died and a drift-off began to see who could make best use of the tide to get out of the entrance! Once off shore the wind filled in and we are now beating upwind over 20 knots!
RACE 14 – DAY 2 – by Mark Light
We are back at sea once again after an absolutely amazing stopover in our home port of Derry-Londonderry! I think the stopover exceeded all expectations - big things were promised and wow did they deliver, it was truly ‘Legenderry’.
The welcome into the city was stunning. We were welcomed by two yachts outside the entrance to Lough Foyle, both carrying friends and supporters and that welcome not only continued, but grew and grew all the way along the River Foyle and right the way up to a tremendous welcome reception in the city itself. Thousands of people had turned out to see us, despite the rain and we were completely blown away by it all.
After arriving in style the gates were opened, confetti rained down from above and we walked off the pontoons, to be literally mobbed by friends, family and fellow ‘Legenderry’ crew... the moment was amazing, the best feeling ever and is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
I would like to say a massive thank you to everybody involved in making it all happen. You have shown what the city of Derry-Londonderry is capable of and what a great city this is. At this point, I have to comment on how amazing the people of Derry-Londonderry are, friendly, interesting and generous to the last.
The week absolutely flew past, so many great events and beautiful places and before we all knew it the start day for Race 14 was upon us. After yet another fantastic send-off we motored down to Greencastle, at the entrance to Lough Foyle and the start area. At 1700 local time, the gun sounded and then we all but drifted over the start line in very little wind and a good solid ebb tide (the period between high tide and the next low tide in which the sea is receding).
We are now beating to windward, with 2 reefs in the mainsail, Yankee 2 and staysail in 30 knots of apparent wind, heading towards the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.
Next stop Den Helder in the Netherlands!
Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 July 2012 )