Cape Bre­ton Is­land be­gins Race 6 to Qing­dao, China

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

KEP­PEL BAY, Sin­ga­pore — Cape Bre­ton Is­land, win­ner of Race 5 and one of the 68-foot ocean racing yachts com­pet­ing in the Clip­per 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race set sail from Kep­pel Bay, Sin­ga­pore, Tues­day morn­ing, to a rous­ing send off fea­tur­ing live mu­sic, a mass of flags and huge con­fetti can­nons.

The crew waved and clapped their ap­pre­ci­a­tion from the boat as they made their fi­nal farewells and headed out to the Race 6 start line in the Sin­ga­pore Straits.

Af­ter 10 ac­tiv­ity-filled days in Sin­ga­pore, the crews were ea­ger, if a lit­tle ner­vous, to get back to sea for what is widely re­garded as one of the most gru­elling legs of Clip­per 09-10.

“ We are looking for­ward to get­ting down to busi­ness again,” said Cape Bre­ton Is­land skip­per Jan Ridd. “I in­tend to im­press on my crew that this is less of a race and more safe pas­sage-mak­ing in test­ing con­di­tions. They need to fully ap­pre­ci­ate the con­di­tions they are likely to face and be prop­erly pre­pared for what is likely to be their tough­est chal- lenge so far.

The 2,600-mile race will take them through ex­tremes of weather with light winds and sear­ing heat to be­gin, fol­lowed by strong head­winds and counter cur­rents pro­duc­ing an ex­tremely choppy sea state and bone-numb­ing freez­ing weather as they beat their way north to­wards the Olympic sail­ing city of Qing­dao, China.

“ There will be a lot of dif­fer­ent tac­tics leav­ing Sin­ga­pore and I’d ex­pect the fleet to spread out quite a lot,” said Ridd. “ Who­ever calls the wind shifts right has the po­ten­tial to gain a strong early lead but it won’t get prop­erly sorted un­til we are near the north of Tai­wan.”

Race 6 got un­der­way with Hull & Hum­ber lead­ing the way across the start line in five knots of east­erly breeze, closely fol­lowed by Cal­i­for­nia, then the home favourite, Uniquely Sin­ga­pore. Team Fin­land, Cape Bre­ton Is­land and Ja­maica Light­ning Bolt were next, with Qing­dao, Spirit of Aus­tralia and Ed­in­burgh In­spir­ing Cap­i­tal com­plet­ing the or­der.

But, with 2,600 miles to go to Qing­dao, there is still plenty of time for the Cape Bre­ton team to make their mark.

Cape Bre­ton Is­land has wel­comed aboard Orla Mel­lett, one of the Cork crew mem­bers whose yacht ran aground dur­ing the race to Sin­ga­pore. Mel­lett, from Gal­way, will race with Cape Bre­ton Is­land un­til her re­place­ment yacht ar­rives in Panama for the start of Race 9. With the other nine ocean racing yachts in the Clip­per fleet, Cork will race into Kin­sale, County Cork, for the eight-day stopover in Ire­land in July.

The fleet is due to ar­rive in Qing­dao be­tween Feb. 19 and 22.

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