Clipper Race Update

16 February 2020

Race update from the Clipper Race Organising Team:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in China and quarantine imposed on travel from China, it has been announced that the upcoming race route has been changed, with the two remaining short races in Leg 5 being incorporated into one longer race. In addition, the alternative options for the first stage of Leg 6 have also been shared today.

Race 7

Race 7 will now start and finish in Subic Bay, Philippines, and this means that with regret, due to the uncertainty surrounding the current outbreak and the problems imposed by quarantine restrictions, the race will not be stopping in either Sanya or Zhuhai. The Clipper Race is proud of its longstanding relationship with its Partners and friends in China and is extremely disappointed not to be able to have stopovers in the wonderful cities of Sanya or Zhuhai. These are destinations that Race Crew and staff were very much looking forward to.

The 9-10 day race will leave Subic Bay Yacht Club on 23 February and will cover 1600nm (the approximate equivalent of the original mileage for the previous Race 7 and Race 8 combined).

The finish port for Race 7 will be Subic Bay Yacht Club and Leg 5 leavers can depart on 4 March, the original date given.

The new route for Race 7 will see the fleet head north from the Philippines, across the Luzon Strait and around the western most cluster of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands. The teams will then race downwind, east of Taiwan, and battle against the notorious Japan (Kuroshio) Current, which flows north and east of Taiwan, before heading back to Subic Bay.

An interesting feature of this new race is the addition of an extra Ocean Sprint and extra Scoring Gate. This gives an exciting opportunity for a possible six teams to score bonus points in the sprints and also six teams could gain bonus points at the Scoring Gates.

The race route will contain two Ocean Sprints and each team must declare an official entry into only one of the sprint sections. This declaration must be made in advance to the Race Office and within 48 hours of Race Start. For the two Scoring Gates, which are placed either side of the rhumb line, the teams can decide whilst racing which optional Scoring Gate they wish to compete for.

More information will be announced at Race 7 Crew Brief on 22 February and will be detailed in the Course Instructions shared on the same day.

Leg 6

With the evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and the complex logistics in race operations, the Clipper Race Organising Team has announced three alternative routes that are being considered for the first stage of Leg 6. Please note that the Leg 6 Crew Changeover date for all new joiners will be 6 March in Subic Bay, Philippines, refresher training day on 7 March, prep day on 8 March and then departure.

The Race 9 start date will be confirmed as soon as all logistics are finalised and crew will be informed as soon as possible.

Option 1 - Race 9 will leave Subic Bay and race to Qingdao and then across the North Pacific to Seattle. The Clipper Race will not risk the safety of its crew or staff and in light of the current coronavirus outbreak, this option will only proceed if it is safe to do so

Option 2 - Race 9 will leave Subic Bay, race to South Korea and then across the North Pacific to Seattle

Option 3 - Race 9 will leave Subic Bay, race to Yokohama, Japan and then across the North Pacific to Seattle

The arrival window into Seattle remains the same as the original schedule and Leg 7 and Leg 8 timings remain unaffected.

This remains a complex logistical challenge for all concerned and we thank Race Crew and Supporters for their patience and understanding.

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