Clipper Race fleet starts Race 12, the Spirit of Jamaica Chase

Back to archive

The 12 teams in the Clipper Race have started Race 12, the Spirit of Jamaica Chase, today, having transited the Panama Canal. 

A Le Mans start 37 miles off the Panama coast took place at 07:05 local time (12:05 UTC) which marked the commencement of the 590 mile sprint to Jamaica. 

The short upwind race will be punctuated by easterly trade winds of 10 to 15 knots moving their way through the Caribbean Sea. 

Clipper Race Director Justin Taylor said the race will be won or lost on helming skills. 

“It’s possible to get round the eastern end of Jamaica in one tack and those boats that do that will do well. The race will require a lot of concentration and as the fleet will be so tightly packed, it will be pretty stressful. I don’t think the skippers will get any sleep between Panama and Jamaica.

“Every little bit counts in every race, but this one will be particularly intense and I anticipate a very close finish.” 

Skipper of Jamaica Get All Right, Pete Stirling, will be vying to win the race into his boat’s home port and make Clipper Race history. 

"Above all other races, the race from Panama to Jamaica, the 'Spirit of Jamaica Chase' is the one that, as the Jamaica boat, we desperately want to win. There is a little bit of Clipper Race history to be made here as in all previous eight editions of the race only on two occasions has a team won the race into their home port. Following the success of the last race, in which we won the Ocean Sprint and finished in third place, the crew are highly motivated and we will be pulling out all the stops to try and achieve our goal."

The Jamaica Tourist Board has chosen to name Race 12 the Spirit of Jamaica Chase to highlight the Caribbean’s most popular island and all Jamaica offers to visitors with its beautiful beaches, mountains and culture. 

John Lynch, Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board said: “The Clipper Race is the ideal platform to highlight the energy and spirit embodied in our people but also our Appleton rum, which is distilled and blended in Jamaica.  

“More than just a holiday destination, Jamaica is a place where people go to enjoy the island’s rhythm and positivity; it’s a place where people go to relax and to ‘Get All Right’.  We look forward to welcoming theJamaica get All Right Clipper Race crew in Port Antonio in a few days’ time, so they can experience that energy and also our rum as Appleton Rum will be providing the top prize for the yacht that wins the Spirit of Jamaica Chase.”   

The winning team will also get an excursion in Jamaica and a framed plaque.

The teams went through the 51-mile long Panama Canal, named one of the world’s seven modern wonders, in its centenary year. It is one of the busiest waterways in the world, playing a vital role in world trade and transport linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

The boats are expected to arrive into Errol Flynn Marina, Port Antonio, Jamaica between 17-18 May.

Race 13, Jamaica to New York will conclude the US coast-to-coast leg at the beginning of June.

To track the fleet's progress, click here.

Tio view the official Clipper Race Twitter feed, click here.

Tio view the official Clipper Race Facebook page, click here.