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Clipper Crew Praised for handling A Storm to Remember

The Clipper Race fleet has emerged from some of the toughest conditions faced in the 2017-18 edition of the race to date. Conditions even professional sailors never get to experience

As the teams continue racing across the North Pacific Ocean to Seattle, USA, all crew members are being praised by their Skippers for their exceptional handling of what will be a storm to remember.

After successfully negotiating hurricane force winds and a phenomenal sea state with waves greater than 14 metres, conditions even professional sailors never get to experience, the Skippers could not be prouder of their crew.

Nikki Henderson, Skipper of the eighth placed Visit Seattle, comments:

“The sea was just like something off the 'Perfect Storm' - huge towering waves, boiling, seething, breaking, swirling. When we sailed over the top of one, it felt like we had just summited a peak in a mountain range - rolling hills as far as the eye could see."

"But unlike bleak mountain tops, or the dark black of the films, the sea was the most beautiful mix of colours - dark deep blue, white where it had broken, and bright turquoise as the surf mixed it all up. Just breath-taking."

“But the best part was definitely the crew. Just seeing these guys and gals managing the weather, enjoying it, experiencing it was incredible. Their smiles and wide eyes are something I won't forget in a long time. These people who sign up to do this race really are one of a kind.”

Whilst all boats got through the front without any major mishap, largely due to the professionalism shown by the Skippers in making the decision to put safety above racing, the huge conditions caused a couple of headaches for a few teams.

Spinnaker wraps and a damaged main meant a busy 24 hours on the seventh placed Garmin, but Skipper Gaetan Thomas says:

“The noise of the wind, the sound of the waves breaking around you, the squalls, it was very intense and I'm really proud of my pirates. We were all together in it and we fixed it all. Okay, we lost ground but the priority was to keep the crew and the boat safe no matter what."

Second placed Sanya Serenity Coast also had to do some running repairs in the midst of the storm when the steering cables on the starboard helm that connect the wheel to the rudder come off in a gybe.

While Doc (David Sturge) took control via the leeward helm to steer, Glenn (I can fix anything) Manchett broke out his super-duper spanner set, loosened them off even more, re-ran them, and then tightened them in place, so then all was well again.

With the coming high-pressure system acting as a buffer zone to the next low it’s now relatively calm.

Qingdao remains in the lead for a second straight day, though it is tight at the front of the fleet.

Just 30 nautical miles separate Qingdao from the second placed Sanya Serenity Coast and Unicef in third.

It’s also close in the chasing pack, with just 40nm between the fourth ranked HotelPlanner.com and Garmin in seventh.

The fleet ETA in Seattle, Bell Harbor Marina, between Thursday 19 and Saturday 21 April.

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