The start of the Southern Ocean stage of Clipper 2019-20 Race was marred by a collision that sidelined two boats.
Unfortunately Visit Sanya, China and Punta del Este were involved in a collision as they headed towards the first mark.
All crew are safe and well and both yachts have returned to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Vessel damage will be assessed and current estimates for the repair plan are ten to fourteen days.
This is Race 4 of the Clipper – The Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride from the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, bound for Fremantle Sailing Club, Western Australia.
Some 218 everyday people, representing 25 nations including a safari leader, student, teacher and roofer, are taking on one of the toughest ocean crossings on the planet.
The eleven strong fleet of identical 70-ft racing yachts lined up Sunday for a 13:00 UTC kick-off and battled for prime position in the unpredictable winds of Table Bay
As the fleet jostled for favourable positions on the start line, it was Unicef that came out on top first pipping both WTC Logistics and Zhuhai to the post.
It was then a tactical race down towards fixed racing mark Manex RCYC with Qingdao first round the mark. The fleet then streamed along the coast to mark Milnerton RCYC, making a final turn, keeping the starting buoy to port.
As the fleet headed out into open water, Qingdao, led by Chris Brooks was leading the pack with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and Imagine your Korea chasing.
Tactically, two depressions are developing which the fleet will have to negotiate.
It’s going to be an upwind beat for the first few days before south westerlies kick in, spinnakers can be hoisted and for the sleigh ride to begin.
In this race, successful teams will stay on the right side of the depressions, staying in the downwind, in the westerly belts.
If the teams try to go too far north they may run out of wind, but then there is also a danger of going too far south where a 45° ice limit, set by the Race Office, is in place.
The majority of fleet is expected to arrive into Fremantle Sailing Club between 9 and 14 December 2019.