Clipper Race fleet departs Jamaica in thrilling start to Race 13: The Grange Hotels Trophy

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Race 13 - The Grange Hotels Trophy from Port Antonio, Jamaica to New York, USA got underway today at 1330 local time (1830 UTC) from the Folly Point Lighthouse by Port Antonio.

PSP Logistics, Old Pulteney, and Derry~Londonderry~ Doire crossed the line first, in that order in a beautifully close fought race start after heavy monsoon conditions and thunder this morning cleared up.

Mark Light, Deputy Race Director explained: “A typically Caribbean easterly breeze of about 12 to 15 knots allowed for a stunning, tropical start to Race 13: The Grange Hotels Trophy, to New York. After a short delay to get the committee start boat on station, the start line was set and the fleet were busy jostling for position during pre-start.  

“At 1330 the gunshot sounded from Coastguard Cutter HMJS Cornwall and an impressive start ensued and in my opinion, one of the most hotly contested in the Clipper Race so far. PSP Logistics timed its start superbly, followed very closely by Old Pulteney and Derry~Londonderry~Doire and the rest of the fleet, looking magnificent as it heading away up wind.”

After leaving the Jamaican coastline, the fleet is now heading into lighter winds near the Windward Passage, which marks the exit from the Caribbean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean.

The 1420 mile race will see the crews experience wind from every point of the compass as the yachts head away from the steady Caribbean trade winds into the variable winds associated with the depressions coming from the North American land mass.

Speaking this morning ahead of the race start, Eric Holden, Skipper of Henri Lloyd, the overall ClipperRace leaders said: “I’m telling my crew to expect anything in this race, downwind reaching, calms, strong wind, so like I said, it is kind of hard to plan for this one. Just need to adapt to the situation as it comes. Things will evolve pretty quick once you get the low pressures coming off the eastern seaboard.”

Switzerland skipper Vicky Ellis summarised the fleets opinion on its stopover as she said: "The Jamaica stopover’s been fantastic. We haven’t had a stopover like this with days off since I don’t know when, so for the crews and for the skippers, it has been a wonderful respite. Thank you to everyone in Jamaica for making us feel so welcome. It has been a fantastic stopover and we are leaving feeling very refreshed."

The race 13 course includes an elective Scoring Gate and an Ocean Sprint section between the lines of latitudes 30N and 32N. As usual, each yacht will also have the opportunity to use one 24 hour period of Stealth Mode.

The estimated fleet arrival into New York is 31 May, where the winning team will receive the Grange Hotels Trophy and a celebratory hamper. 

To read all the skippers quotes ahead of race start, CLICK HERE

To view the fleets progress in Race 13: The Grange Hotels Trophy CLICK HERE