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The Spinlock South Atlantic Showdown Has Begun


A day charged with emotion and pride has been witnessed in Punta del Este today as the crew of non-professional sailors set off for the second leg of the Clipper 2019-20 Race. The fleet slipped lines at 15:00 UTC in front of a huge crowd lining the marina, departing from the place it has called home for the past week.

Before the Slipping Lines Ceremony Qingdao AQP, Rhiannon Massey said: “I’m feeling very excited to get going again. I always have those little nerves, but I can’t wait to get back on the water and get racing.”

The race officially began at 1800 UTC and Unicef was the first across the start line, followed closely by Race 2 winners, Qingdao and then Zhuhai. Qingdao resumed a leading position, crossing the first mark ahead of the pack. The team continued in the lead for all five marks until they were out of sight, whilst Visit Sanya, China and Unicef were the second and third teams to finish the course.

Race 3 of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, named the Spinlock South Atlantic Showdown, is now underway with Qingdao top of the leaderboard with 36 points followed by Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China both with 23 points. The 3,555 nautical mile race is a fast, short race (approximately 17 days) and could see a very close finish as the fleet tackle trade winds, unpredictable weather and great swells before arriving into Cape Town with the incredible backdrop of Table Mountain.

Approximately 3,555 nautical miles and the South Atlantic Ocean is what lies ahead. Upon leaving South America, teams will encounter the trade winds and rolling swells as they head towards the Southern Ocean with Spinnakers flying. Big tactical decisions await. Heading south before turning east will be the longer route but might offer consistent wind conditions. Heading east shaves off hundreds of miles, but could leave the yachts too close to the windless centre of the St Helena High (South Atlantic High).

On top of routing decisions the usual opportunities for teams to claim bonus points will feature once again; the Scoring Gate and Dell Rugged Latitude Ocean Sprint. The Scoring Gate between 37°S 030°W and 38°30’S 030°W will pose an early question sitting north of the rhumb line, if not already split, the decision to go for it or not with certainly divide the fleet.

The Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint will come in the second half of the race and shall be between the lines of longitude 005°W and 002°E. The winners will be the three fastest teams between these two lines of longitude, with only a second separating third and fourth in Race 2 it will be an interesting one to watch.

Throughout this intense leg crew can expect to be surfing once again, in previous editions teams have reported speeds of more than 30 knots so with the long rolling swells there is every opportunity for team speed records to be broken. 

In the final stages the mighty Table Mountain will be visible for quite some distance away, but the race will not be over yet. The wind shadow of Table Mountain offers one last hurdle in a race that is known to be closely fought right until the end. South African Skippers, David ‘Wavy’ Immelman and Nick Leggatt are keen to be first home.

Nick Leggatt, Zhuhai Skipper said: “I am very excited about sailing into my home port, particularly as the reception will be great getting there ahead of Wavy! It’s definitely a race between us and we’ll be watching each other closely. We’ve spent many years sailing against each other, so yes, we’re friends but… it’s a race.”

The fleet is due to arrive in Cape Town between Thursday 7 and Monday 11 November For more information on the destination visit here.