Race 9: The short offshore WTC Logistics Tri-Race concludes
After the top three positions on the podium for Race 9 were taken by Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China respectively, the remaining teams completed the short offshore course to conclude the WTC Logistics Tri-Race.
Seattle attained fourth position, crossing the finish gate at 21:36:28 UTC approximately 50 minutes after third-placed Visit Sanya, China. This result will increase the team’s overall points tally to 36 points and is their best position to date. Skipper David Hartshorn says:“What can I say, our best ranked finish to date. Our objective was to bring the team up to speed over the last five days and build strength in the watches, which happened incredibly well. The helming and kite work yesterday afternoon kept us in close quarters with the fleet. Then as we entered the bay the conditions lightened, most of the fleet headed south, so I made the decision to keep north. It paid off, from ninth to fourth over the line. Job done – very proud of the team!”
Crossing the line in fifth, just twelve minutes later, was Ian Wiggin’s Unicef team which crossed the line at 21:48:06 UTC. This should bolster the Unicef’s current position of fifth on the overall table. Ian remarked:“Race 9 was an intense and closely fought affair. The last week of highs, lows, teamwork, tactical opportunities, and close quarter racing is exactly why I signed up to the Clipper Race.
“For a time, we were battling for second place, but we know there were many reshuffles within the entire fleet throughout the race. Given the very fickle conditions in the final 10nm, we are very content with fifth place.”
He added: “For the fleet to be so close is testament to the focus and determination of every crew. The standard of racing across the fleet is exceptional this year and the boats are being sailed incredibly hard. There was certainly no chance to rest on this short race.
“Although the conditions in the South China Sea were fairly benign, I believe that light wind racing takes much more concentration and requires a far greater understanding from the crew. The Unicef crew has continued to develop, and I am hugely encouraged to be facing the North Pacific with such an enthusiastic and dedicated team.”
Zhuhai, led by Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, finished at 22:38:06 UTC a mere five minutes ahead of WTC Logistics which finished seventh its namesake race at 22:42:16 UTC. On the finish Wendo said:“This was a great race, it held so many different conditions and it was a close fight right until the end!”
Wrapping up proceedings was GoToBermuda, skipped by David Immelman, which finished at 22:53:50 UTC taking eighth place. Guy Waites’s team Dare To Lead in ninth place after finishing at 22:55:50 UTC and Qingdao led by Chris Brooks attained tenth position after finishing at 23:04:50 UTC.
The Qingdao team remains in first place overall despite the challenge from Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam which has maintained second position overall following this result. With Punta del Este also gracing the podium it looks set to remain in third place after achieving second place in Race 9.
Last but not least was Imagine your Korea skippered by Rob Graham which finished in 11th place. They opted to go in for Ocean Sprint 2 and 3 and so could still increase its points tally from Race 9.
Due to forecasted light wind in Subic Bay the Clipper Race Office added a Mandatory Finish Gate in vicinity of Virtual Mark Tuck which was used as the official finish line for Race 9.
At approximately 750 nautical miles long Race 9 was the shortest race of the circumnavigation after the route was amended. The fleet sailed the triangular course out of Subic Bay in the Philippines into the South China sea. Each team could opt to take part in two out of the three Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprints and Skippers had to declare their intentions within six hours of Race Start. For the top three fastest teams in each sprint there is the added bonus of being awarded extra points - of which could make all the difference in both this races’ results as well as the overall leaderboard.