Henri Lloyd wins Race 15, the OneDLL Cup to Den Helder, the Netherlands

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Henri Lloyd has won its fifth race of the series, the OneDLL Cup, Race 15 from Derry-Londonderry to Den Helder, The Netherlands, the fleet’s penultimate stopover before the homecoming into London. 

The win is the team’s ninth podium overall and Canadian skipper Eric Holden and his crew have secured enough points to be unbeatable in the series. They will look forward to being crowned champions of the Clipper 2013-14 Race in London on 12 July. 

Henri Lloyd finished at 09:41 local time, 07:41 UTC and is now making its way into the dock at Willemsoord in Den Helder, a naval port in North Holland.

Old Pulteney, skippered by Dutch man Patrick van der Zijden, finished in second place at 09:57:11 local time, 07:57:11 UTC, and Switzerland finished in third place at 10:36 local time, 08:36 UTC, its third podium of the race.

Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden said it had been a very stressful race with wind holes, strong tides, busy shipping lanes and oil rigs to look out for.

“We knew we had a good position but that anything could happen and we could have gotstuck in a wind hole at any time, and gales were also a concern.“We followed our same strategy where we are always in the hunt nipping at the heels of the front pack and then waiting for an opportunity to make our move. You have to be ready.

“First comes relief then elation will come after, but right now its exhaustion and we are happy it’s over,” he added.

Skipper of Old Pulteney, Patrick van der Zijden, said: “We really wanted to win after the comeback we made in the last race, and to get second place into my home country was extra special.

“We have always been a happy boat, but now we have turned into a winning team. We have massive amounts of enthusiasm. We changed one person on a watch and it has given the extra pressure we needed.”

Skipper of Switzerland, Vicky Ellis, added: “I have been sailing in the North Sea and Scotland for many years and that podium was not going to go to anyone else. 

“It was a very stressful last 90 miles with Derry~Londonderry~Doire a mile or two behind and you cannot miss a beat. This morning we saw we were missing a knot of speed and we had 20 minutes to try and retune and trim the boat and thankfully we found it. 

“We are exhausted but delighted with our third podium.”

Derry~Londonderry~Doire finished six minutes behind Switzerland in fourth place at 10:42:04 local time, 08:42.04 UTC.

GREAT Britain finished off the Dutch coast in fifth place at 11:19:14 local time, 09:19:14 UTC. OneDLL finished in sixth place at 11:26:25 local time, 09:26:25 UTC.

Team Garmin finished in seventh at 12:06 local time, 10:06 UTC. PSP Logistics finished in eighth at 13:25 local time, 11:25 UTC.

All the teams will be welcomed to Den Helder in traditional Dutch style with a ‘jenever’ drink, pickled herring and Dutch clogs. A ‘Holland Days’ festival awaits them over the weekend with music, international food, street theatre and the official OneDLL Cup prizegiving on Saturday evening from 20:00.

The fiercely fought 800 mile race from Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland is the penultimate stage of the 40,000 mile ocean odyssey. 

Clipper Race director Justin Taylor said Race 15 had a tough start with light airs, wind holes and a becalmed sea state as it turned into a huge tactical game.

"Congratulations once again to Henri Lloyd who now has an unassailable lead and will be crowned champions in London.  

"We have had a very tactical race dominated by light airs and strong tides.  Every wind shift has to be seen and played for maximum benefit, amongst a fleet of boats where every tenth of a knot counts."

Paul FD Strzelecki, Joint Chief Executive of marine clothing company Henri Lloyd, also congratulated the team on arrival into The Netherlands.

" I still can't believe it. It's the first time we have sponsored a boat in a round the world race and the amazing team led by Eric have won. It's a very emotional time. I can't help thinking about my late father Henri who founded Henri Lloyd and equipped Sir Robin Knox-Johnston back in the 60's. He would have loved this so much. I'm sure there is a big smile on his face as there is on mine.

"We often say we equip legends- well we've just done it again and our name is on the boat! Well done to Eric and all the crew over the different legs. Thank you for making us so proud."

OneDLL skipper Olly Cotterell said coming in in sixth and not winning the OneDLL Cup was disappointing, but the team was still focused on maintaining its final podium position - the team is still in third just ahead of Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

"Things started off badly when we fell into a wind hole off the Northern Irish coast. After that we made a comeback though but I made other mistakes and in the end a wind shift cost us. My guys really deserve the final podium place and we are all aligned to achieve that still going into London. We have been on the podium a lot of the time since Albany and this is a frustrating situation to be in.

"Not getting a podium would be clutching defeat with the claws of victory."

Simon Talbot, skipper of GREAT Britain, said his team left Derry Londonderry with very high expectations and a send off like nothing he had ever seen, but they drove straight into wind holes.

"It was a real race of snakes and ladders. We managed to get out of Pentland Firth first, we were all dreading it with the strong tides and wind over tide stories but we escaped that.

"We made far too many mistakes on the second night in the North Sea and that saw us drop down the leaderboard. However we managed to chip back on Team Garmin and get enough points to secure enough points to hold our second place overall. We can go into the race into London with one mission - to win it. We can't win the overall race now but we can hold onto our second place on the podium."

Jan Ridd, skipper of Team Garmin, said this race had a bit of everything. "We had a really good start, then light winds off the Shetland Isles and it turned into a very close race. I got our position going through Pentland Firth just as I wanted it and we got ahead of the front. We had beautiful scenery and wildlife.

"Then it was very windy and nasty in the North Sea and there were a lot of ships around which was stressful. We had a guard ship that made us go off the course that I wanted and caused us to lose height and despite being in third on the morning of the finish, we slipped down the leaderboard.

"It was a very enjoyable race though and the team have really proved themselves to be contenders."