22 September 2017

Unicef has provided a truly thrilling journey for those following from home but for those on board, it has been a frustrating race at times. Despite being close to the top of the leader board on several occasions during Leg 1 from Liverpool, UK, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, Unicef was the ninth team to cross the finish line at 13:55:27 on Friday 22 September.

Morale was high on board Unicef as it docked in the harbour and crew member Seumus Kellock, a 24 year old General Manger from Carlisle, said: “Leg 1 was great, there were lots of highs and lows, a lot of sweat, we thought we were going to get into the top three but we didn’t in the end after getting stuck in the wind hole three days ago. This was tough, it affected morale, but we got through it we are a tough team.”

During the Atlantic Trade Winds Leg 1, Unicef bounced from the top of the pack to the back, and up again to become one of the leaders. It was only during the last few days of racing, when attempting to skirt round the edge of the wind hole off the Brazilian coast, that Unicef became entrapped in the high to see its chance of a podium finish slip away.

Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs said: “Wind holes appear and we just got it wrong. It can be fifty fifty and sometimes you win sometimes you lose but look out for Unicef for the rest of the race.”

Since setting off from Liverpool, Unicef has sailed over 6500Nm navigating the Bay of Biscay, the Doldrums and crossing the equator. With conditions varying from gusts of 30 knots to frustrating wind holes, crew member Lizi Adams, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at UK Power Reserve, said: “One of the most amazing things after nearly five weeks at sea has been how much trust you learn to put in the boat.

“For the first couple of nights, in pretty rocky conditions, you are bit uncomfortable with strange noises and unable to sleep. By week two it’s blowing a hoolie out there and you are completely at ease with the noises and the bangs and the grinding. Its real faith in the boat and that has given me confidence for legs 2 and 3 which are obviously going to be really tough.”

Unicef was followed later in the day by Visit Seattle which became the tenth Clipper Race team to cross the finish line in Punta del Este at 21:57:16 (00:57:16 UTC).

Despite maintaining strong standings for the majority of the first stage, and leading the fleet for eight consecutive days towards the end of the race, the final stretch towards Uruguay proved a to be push too far for Visit Seattle’s spinnakers, which drastically limited its speed for the remaining downwind route.

Speaking about Visit Seattle's ten-position drop on the leader board, crew member Dale Elliott, 38, says: "We had a day, a 24 hr period where we lost the Code 1 (lightweight spinnaker) and Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker) which was just devastating."

Team morale, however, remained high on board Visit Seattle throughout the race. Crew member Emily Woodason, 31, from London, reports: "Leg 1 was great fun, it was a real challenge. Five weeks is a long time to be at sea and away from friends and family but it was good for bonding as a team and everyone really supported each other which was really cool."

The eleventh team to arrive into Punta del Este is due to be Greenings, which is currently led by relief Skipper and Clipper Race Deputy Director, Dan Smith. At time of publishing, Greenings is due to arrive mid-morning local time on Saturday 24th September.

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