GREAT Britain claimed the top spot in Race 11: The PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup from San Francisco to Panama, following a tense final few days tussle with Henri Lloyd.
Following more than two weeks racing in challenging conditions of light and variable winds, intense squalls and soaring temperatures, GREAT Britain and Henri Lloyd started the final days racing neck and neck. GREAT Britain found the better winds to take a commanding final margin and crossed the Farallones Finish Line off the coast of Central America at 17:16 UTC, ahead of Henri Lloyd which finished second at 19:53 UTC.
Jamaica Get All Right also fought a rousing finish line pursuit, finishing just two miles behind Henri Lloyd in third at 20:44 UTC.
After claiming its fifth line honours title of the Clipper 2013-14 Race, GREAT Britain skipper Simon Talbot remarked: "What can I say, yet another absolute nail biter! After leading the pack for the majority of the race, our nemesis Henri Lloyd fought back hard to pip us through Remedios gate yesterday, triggering the fight back of the century on board GREAT Britain as we made for the finish line.
"The team worked tirelessly over the last 24 hours, coaxing out whatever boat speed we could from the almost non-existent wind until it finally filled in this morning, allowing us to make our final charge for the finish line to take first place in the PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup. A monumental result and the perfect reward for the team’s ceaseless hard work over the last 16 days. Outstanding."
Frank Dixie, Managing Director, PSP Worldwide Logistics applauded the race winners as he said: “Congratulations to Simon Talbot and his crew on board GREAT Britain for securing victory in the PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup.
“Obviously we would have loved to see our own team on the podium for this race but, as a British company if we had to choose another, it would have been GREAT Britain so we’re absolutely delighted for them. I trust the team will find a suitable home for our trophy at No. 10 Downing Street.”
The Clipper Race Committee shortened the Race 11 course in line with the sailing instructions, and announced the new Farallones Finish Line on Sunday morning. The decision was taken after it was advised of maintenance work that is being undertaken on the Panama Canal locks over the coming weeks, the lighter than expected wind strengths on this section of the race and then need to maintain the overall race schedule.
Commenting on his team’s final efforts, Eric Holden, skipper of second place Henri Lloyd explained: "The last hours or even days were very tense. In the morning schedule we were neck and neck with GREAT Britain, and Jamaica Get All Right and Team Garmin were hot in pursuit. As dawn broke we were watching helplessly while those two were coming up at 6 knots of speed while we were stuck in only 3 knot of wind.
"We eventually got their wind and managed to just keep our nose out ahead. GREAT Britain was out of sight to leeward and we were hoping they were in similar wind to ourselves, yet when the next schedule came in they had got a wind of their own and were well out ahead. Well done to each of the teams for a riveting finish. Next stop Panama."
Jamaica Get All Right pursued Henri Lloyd right to the end and also held off Team Garmin which was within visual sight earlier in the day. Skipper Pete Stirling celebrated his team’s performance as he said: “Race 11 from San Francisco to Panama proved to be a tough one. Not for big seas, gale force winds and freezing conditions but for very light and variable winds, intense squall activity and very hot and humid temperatures.
“The weather forecast indicated we should have had more wind than them in our more northerly position but the winds have been so fickle that it could have gone any way. We were chasing down Henri Lloyd right to the line and were consistently sailing faster than them. In the end they held us off and took second place by just two miles.”
Team Garmin narrowly missed out on its first podium spot, finishing in fourth place at 21:59 UTC, to record its joint highest race position since Race 1 to Brest, France in September 2013. Old Pulteney finished fifth this morning at 05:16 UTC.
Meanwhile, Derry~Londonderry~Doire, OneDLL and Switzerland have all crossed the Farallones Finish Line, whilst Invest Africa has accepted twelfth place and 1 point offered by the Race Committee.
A series of gates were part of the course just in case the race had to be shortened to maintain timing through the Panama Canal. The three remaining teams will be awarded positions based on their crossing of the Remedios Gate so they can join the rest of the fleet in motor-sailing to Panama.
Upon arrival in Flemenco Bay, Panama the fleet will be allocated slots to transit the canal and will muster on the Atlantic side in Shelter Bay Marina.
Race 12 – a 590 mile sprint race to Jamaica is scheduled to start on 14 May.
Finish Times (UTC):
GREAT Britain: 17:16:15
Henri Lloyd: 19:53:00
Jamaica Get All Right: 20:44:30
Team Garmin: 21:59:00
Old Pulteney: 05:16:00