Race from Air­lie now on the home stretch

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

STRONG winds in the Da Nang New Dis­cov­ery of Asia Race have led to some thrilling rac­ing con­di­tions for the Clipper Race fleet, with teams record­ing speeds of more than 32 knots near the vir­tual mark at the most south­ern point of the course.

The choppy sea state has been pre­sent­ing its own chal­lenges for the crew but as the fron­trun­ners be­gin their jour­ney north, con­di­tions are ex­pected to ease slightly over the next cou­ple of days, with a high de­vel­op­ing off the south of Ja­pan.

As Derry~Lon­don­derry~Doire con­tin­ues to lead the

fleet, GREAT Bri­tain and Garmin are in an on­go­ing bat­tle for se­cond place in the race that de­parted Air­lie Beach last month. Cur­rently in fourth place,

LMAX Ex­change Skip­per Oli- vier Cardin said his crew had rounded the Viet­nam vir­tual mark in the dark

“We turned the helm to the wind and ev­ery­thing changed on board. We felt the real wind around 30 knots with the ten­sion in the sheets. We felt the ag­gres­sive­ness of the waves, giv­ing the boat some un­usual and dar­ing move­ment. We felt the boat heel­ing,” he said. LMAX Ex­change is closely

fol­lowed by Qing­dao, which has set a new fastest time for the fleet in the Clipper 2015-16 Race, with cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tor Vi­taly Kmel­nit­sky hit­ting 32.61 knots while at the helm.

Da Nang – Viet Nam has also rounded the Viet­nam vir­tual mark, with IchorCoal and

Clip­perTelemed+ be­hind. IchorCoal Skip­per Dar­ren Ladd said the long haul back north would then be­gin in earnest.

“Con­ver­sa­tion is slowly mov­ing on from the route changes to plans for the Da Nang stopover,” he said.

“Po­ten­tially Viet­nam is one of the most ex­cit­ing des­ti­na­tions to date – a first-time Clipper Race Host Port, dif­fer­ent cul­ture and all the de­lights of Asian food and hos­pi­tal­ity.”

In 12th place is Visit Seat­tle. Skip­per Huw Fernie said they were now get­ting into the shel­ter of the Philip­pines “and so the wind is drop­ping a touch, the seas are get­ting eas­ier to cope with but are still large and messy”.

“It’s easy to see how so many of the oth­ers ended up hav­ing is­sues here, es­pe­cially as they had more wind to deal with and were fight­ing for po­si­tions too,” he said.

With the course up­dated to en­sure the fleet ar­rive in Da Nang within the orig­i­nal win­dow, the tight cir­cuit with mul­ti­ple way­points con­tin­ues to chal­lenge the pro­gram­ming of the au­to­mat­i­cally gen­er­ated stand­ings ta­ble.

This may throw up some mis­lead­ing po­si­tions so those fol­low­ing the progress of the fleet are ad­vised to check the Race Viewer map to see rel­a­tive po­si­tions as the race con­tin­ues.

RACE PROGRESS: Day 19 of the Clipper race from Air­lie Beach to Da Nang, Viet­nam.

ROUGH SEAS: Day 20 of the Clipper race from Air­lie Beach to Da Nang, Viet­nam.

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