Final showdown for points and places as Race 16 starts today

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Race 16, Den Helder, The Netherlands, to London, UK, starts today with a final showdown for the third podium position and a battle for points to move up or risk falling a place on the leaderboard.

After a Parade of Sail off the Dutch coast at 12:00-12.45, the final race of the series, a 250-mile sprint across the North Sea, will see a fast start reaching with moderate wind of 10 to 15 knots coming mostly from the north.

The wind will gradually ease off as the race progresses, and as the yachts reach the Thames Estuary it will be very light and fluky towards dawn on Saturday.    

Deputy race director Mark Light said: said: “It will be important to get a fast start on this point of sail as it is such a short race. This race will be intense tactically and physically, with the teams needing to trim and helm constantly. They won't be getting a lot of sleep. There are big tidal steams in the North Sea and around the UK coast, and the sooner they reach the UK coast the better, because then the wind will start to die off." 

Henri Lloyd has won enough points to be mathematically safe at the top of the leaderboard. GREAT Britain, in second, can only be beaten if it is disqualified and scores zero points in the final race.

OneDLL, currently in third on 127 points, could suffer an upset with Sean McCarter’s team Derry~Londonderry~Doire in fourth on 124 points.

Switzerland is safe in fifth place on 110 points, but Qingdao (currently seventh) or Jamaica Get All Right (currently eighth) could overtake Old Pulteney, currently in sixth, and claim the mid fleet spot.

PSP Logistics, currently in ninth, could mathematically be seventh, Team Garmin, currently in tenth, could finish ninth.

Invest Africa, in eleventh, could finish in tenth. Mission Performance will finish in twelfth.

If any of the teams end up with the same points the tie would be broken using the countback method of scoring.  For example, if Invest Africa scores a full 12 points and Team Garmin only 1 point, then they will tie on 76 points each. 

However, Invest Africa would actually be tenth overall as they have a win in Race 1 (London to Brest) and Team Garmin has no wins.  If neither team has a first place to countback to then it would be counted back to second places and then third place, and so on.

Clipper Race chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston added: "Well here we are with just one short race left before the boats and crews complete their circumnavigation.

“There are still some close placings and we may yet see some change before they cross the finish line off Southend but that is what racing is all about - not giving up until the final finish line is crossed."