Cape Breton Island begins Race 6 to Qingdao, China
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.