An electric send off from Punta del Este
22 October 2023
It’s been an emotional day in Punta del Este, Uruguay, as eleven teams docked out to embark on Leg 2, and third race of the circumnavigation, heading to Cape Town, South Africa.
Punta del Este put on a dazzling stopover for the intrepid Clipper Race crew, with a huge welcome and amazing Uruguayan hospitality from day one. Race Start day has been no different, with crowds of friends new and old, families and locals lining the breakwater to wave off the sailors on their next ocean crossing – the South Atlantic.
Image: Crowds lined the docks to wave off the intrepid sailors
Following final hugs goodbye, the crew lined up for their team photos and received a special gift and well wishes from Yacht Club Punta del Este Commodore, Juan Etcheverrito, along with British Ambassador to Uruguay, Faye O’Connor and USA Ambassador to Uruguay, Heide B. Fulton.
Image: Hannah Brewis, the USA Ambassador and YCPE Commodore
After slipping lines to cheering crowds, the yachts headed out for a Parade of Sail before lining up on the start line for Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown.
With two teams, PSP Logistics and Dare To Lead playing their Joker in this race, it’s definitely set to be a battle for the top spots. We caught up with the Race Skippers ahead of the race.
Image: Clipper Race Skippers
Josh Stickland, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper
“Race 3 is quite a condensed, compact leg. We leave here and after a few days we get down towards the Roaring Forties and experience the big sea states, big winds and dropping temperatures. Hopefully the weather plays to our tactics!”
Image: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team
Hannah Brewis, Washington, DC Skipper
“This race ahead is a really popular and big race. It is a daunting ocean to go across, with some big seas and fast, downwind conditions. The South Atlantic highs merge with the Southern lows, and so we’ll be trying to get to these favourable winds to push us along to Cape Town.”
Image: Washington, DC team
Mike Miller, PSP Logistics Skipper
“The race should take around 16-18 days. It starts with a lot of typical Latin American weather, but then once we get a little bit further south, we will get down into these great westerlies, ease the sails out and go flying down these huge waves. Lots of whoops and speed records broken, I hope!
“We have played our Joker on this race, which means that every race point won is doubled. So if we can get another third place it will be a massive boost. There’s nothing quite like getting momentum on the leaderboard. I was keen to play it early to make sure we harness that. We are doing really well, our crew is bonded, and this is a short, fast leg so I think we will be the team to beat.”
Image: PSP Logistics team
Dan Bodey, UNICEF Skipper
“It's going to be big, windy, wet, cold and absolutely exhilarating for the crew. The boats are going to be doing some of their top speeds on the big surfs so it’s going to be phenomenal for the crew.
“It’s been the first stop on the race where we have a crew changeover. We’ll be integrating our new joiners, so the first couple of days will be about getting them rolling.”
Image: UNICEF team
Dale Smyth, Qingdao Skipper*
“It’s always good sailing home. For those that haven’t done it, sailing into Table Bay is incredible, especially when it’s home and where your family are. I’ve done this crossing many times, so I’m looking forward to it, even though the weather isn’t favourable at the moment. This race is traditionally very downwind and should see the teams riding the top section of the low pressures, travelling across the South Atlantic, with this stage of the edition going quite far south, to about 40 degrees.”
Image: Qingdao team
James Finney, Zhuhai Skipper
“We are building momentum! I’m hoping we do better than fifth on this race, and I feel like we have every chance of doing that. We have multi-leggers on board, and then bringing on new crew means you have fresh energy on board from the new guys. If you can marry those two together it means you can do really well in the race. Race 3 is going to be short, sharp and cold, and that’s something the crew haven’t experienced yet, being really cold.”
Image: Zhuhai team
Ineke Van Der Weijden, Perseverance Skipper
“We are currently second, one point behind Yacht Club Punta del Este. We have seven new crew joining on board. Following the team on the Race Viewer has got them super excited to join the team. I think the crew is in a really good state, they are happy, they had some extra rest because we got in early, and it’s such a great port to come in to! Everyone is ready to come back on board with a really different rhythm!”
Image: Perseverance team
David Hartshorn, Bekezela Skipper
“We’ve got about 3,500 miles to do to get to Cape Town. For us it’s a big moment for the boat as it’s where our Team Partner, Bekezela Community Foundation is based. Leg 2 is a real eye-opener for people joining the race. We’ve basically had Champagne sailing so far, but this will be the crew’s first experience of prolonged wet, heavy conditions. It's going to be very cold and wet. You do also get a real feeling of remoteness- we will pass two islands, and that’s it.”
Image: Bekezela team
Max Rivers, Our Isles and Oceans Skipper
“At the moment we are joint-fourth on the leaderboard, which is a great place to be, right on the edge of those top three places, ready to take a leap to the top at a moment’s notice. This next leg is a very popular stage of the circumnavigation, as it gives the crew a taste of the Roaring Forties. It’s hopefully going to be nice, fast and downwind all the way to Cape Town.”
Image: Our Isles and Oceans team
Ryan Gibson, Dare To Lead Skipper
“This is really special - to leave Punta del Este and sail into Cape Town. I left there in 2008, so sailing into my hometown will be a special one. A number of our crew are also from South Africa so this will be momentous for them. I’m really excited but naturally a bit nervous. There’s expectations to do well, but I think we are going to get more drive and motivation out of this. We decided to play our Joker for this leg, which you can only play once in the circumnavigation. We have great momentum at the moment- everyone is happy and we have the South African drive. We are sailing into a home port for me and some of my crew, so why not!”
Image: Dare To Lead team
Nano Antia Bernardez, Yacht Club Punta del Este Skipper
“It’s been such a special stopover for me. I was born and raised here, so it’s truly inspiring for me. I’m very proud of my team and all of the effort we put in as it really paid off. Now I’m a little sad that we are leaving, but we need to keep going. We are looking forward to the next leg. We set a high competitive mindset and we are going to try and keep this throughout the next leg. Half of the team are new, which is great as they bring a lot of fresh energy, and they all want to experience how it feels to be on the podium.”
Image: Yacht Club Punta del Este team
Follow the teams as the race across the South Atlantic via the Race Viewer.
Image: Race 3 start
*Dale Smyth is the Deputy Race Director standing in for Qingdao Skipper Greg Hunt, due to a muscular back injury.Join The Race