The most international Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet has had a strong start to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which doubles as Race 5 of the Clipper 2017-18 Race.
Of the 28 nationalities represented in the 102 strong Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet, 26 can be found on board the eleven Clipper Race 70 foot ocean racing yachts. More than 200 crew from all walks of life are taking part in the iconic Bluewater classic, with each team led by a professional Skipper.
Visit Seattle Nikki Henderson, who is not only the youngest Clipper Race Skipper but the youngest skipper in the 73rd edition of the Sydney Hobart, said prior to race start: “I’m looking forward to it. The plan is to sail as fast as I can and try not to break too many sails on the way.
“The crew are pretty excited and I think we are just trying to not get too overwhelmed about the hype of it and just keep things as there are, keep doing what we do and hopefully everything works out well again.”
As well as the eleven Clipper Race 70 foot yachts, Clipper Ventures worked with the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 to train 16 veterans from the UK and Australia to crew two Clipper 68s in the race to Hobart. Clipper Race founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and nonstop around the world in 1968-69, is the Navigator on board Invictus Games 2018 GAME ON (CV10), which was first across the start line, closely followed by Clipper Race teams Dare To Lead and Visit Seattle.
PSP Logistics was the third of the Clipper Race fleet to cross the starting line but ten minutes into the race, it had taken the lead. PSP Logistics, Skippered by Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race veteran Matt Mitchell, continued to lead the Clipper Race fleet around the first mark, followed by Qingdao and Dare To Lead.
The strong start was completed when PSP Logistics also took bragging rights as the first Clipper 70 out of the Heads. Dare to Lead was second and despite not featuring in the top half of the fleet for much of race start, Australian Skipper Wendy Tuck used her knowledge of the local waters to guide Sanya Serenity Coast out of the heads in third place.
All eleven Clipper 70s and the two Invictus Games Sydney 2018 crews were clear of the heads within an hour of race start, and now will get stuck into the 630 nautical mile race to Hobart.
The eleven 70-foot ocean racing yachts are expected to arrive in Hobart by Saturday 30 December and will be berthed at the King’s Pier Marina. After ringing in 2018 in Hobart, the teams will then turn their attention to the final race of the All-Australian Leg 4, from Hobart to Airlie Beach, where the crew will be welcomed by the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.
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. Approximately 40 per cent of crew members have never sailed before they sign up. 40,000 nautical miles in length, the circumnavigation is divided into eight legs.
After four races and around 17,000 nautical miles race, Qingdao is currently first in the overall standings, seven points ahead of Sanya Serenity Coast in second and Dare To Lead in third.
As well as Australia, the global circuit of the Clipper 2017-18 Race includes stopovers in Liverpool, UK, Punta del Este, Uruguay, Cape Town, South Africa, Sanya and Qingdao in China, Seattle and New York, USA, Panama, and Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The race will finish in Liverpool on 28 July, 2018.