ClipperTelemed+ Clipper 2015-16 Race Highlights

11 August 2016

The fourth team we are profiling this week is ClipperTelemed+, which finished ninth in Clipper 2015-16 Race.

Under Skipper Matt Mitchell, a two-time Race Skipper, ClipperTelemed+ found its form in the final third of the series, with three consecutive podiums in Races 10, 11 and 12.

After two previous poor results on the preceding races, the team achieved its best result of the series so far with a fourth place in the Sydney Hobart at the end of 2015 before New Year celebrations in Tasmania.

It was not until Race 10, the PSP Logistics Panama Cup from Seattle to Panama, that the team began reaching its full potential.

Despite ClipperTelemed+ having commenced racing seven hours after the rest of the fleet due to a mast track issue that needed fixing, the team made a comeback good enough to get on the podium for the first time.

After three weeks of racing in extreme heat and lightening winds, ClipperTelemed+ crossed the third compulsory gate in second behind LMAX Exchange with just metres in it after LMAX Exchange Skipper Olivier and crew managed to sneak ahead in the final moments, winning by two minutes. Unicef also crossed in third moments later.

ClipperTelemed+ also picked up its first ever bonus points at the Scoring Gate; and was the winner of the PSP Logistics Panama Canal Photo competition.

In Race 11, Panama to New York, the ClipperTelemed+ crew went one better to claim their first win of the Clipper 2015-16 Race, after overtaking Garmin in the night following a fraught battle between the two teams at the top of the leaderboard over the final four days of racing.

ClipperTelemed+ beat Garmin to the finish by around nine nautical miles.

Speaking at the time in New York, Skipper Matt said: “A couple of days ago Garmin was 25 – 30 miles ahead of us, then we would get a little bit back and overtake but then it would overtake us. Every six hours getting the position report was a tense moment. This race certainly had its moments. There was a bit of a curveball towards the end with Tropical Storm Colin, it was quite windy, but that helped push us towards New York.

“We've been putting in 110% every minute of this race, coupled with a couple of good decisions along the way means that we have secured victory for the first time since leaving London. It's a very special moment for us and we couldn't be more pleased."

At the New York prize-giving, the elated team received its pennants for Race 10 and 11, and also won the Stormhoek Social Spirit award for the first time for its successful string of results.

The good results continued, with ClipperTelemed+ third to finish the LegenDerry Finale and win a third podium place in as many races.

Despite leading for some of the race after making it out of the Pentland Firth and its furious tides and eddies in first place by taking an inshore route, the team dropped down the leaderboard and finished Race 13 to Den Helder in tenth place.

Going into the final race of the series, the team was tied on points with fifth to eighth place on the overall standings along with Da Nang – Viet Nam, Qingdao and Mission Performance.

Sadly for the team, round the world crew member Linda McDavitt had to be medevaced off the yacht in the final hours of the circumnavigation with a suspected broken shoulder. The yacht finished in eleventh position in Race 14 and ninth overall after completing the rescue with the aid of the coastguard.

Linda was discharged from the hospital with a sprained shoulder and was able to re-join the yacht for the Parade of Sail on the River Thames where she completed the journey with her team.

The 69 year old from Texas proved a popular crew member across the fleet and attracted media attention when it came to light that in order to build up her core strength for the race she had taken up pilates and pole dancing. Features on the NBC Today Show ensued, as the biggest breakfast programme in America followed Linda’s journey around the world.

The ClipperTelemed+ team was also nominated for the Henri Lloyd Seamanship Award for its preservation of equipment, maintained safety and ability to work well as a happy team throughout its race.

The nomination particularly highlighted Race 10: The PSP Logistics Panama Cup when the team urgently repaired a faulty mast track at sea, delaying its start by eight hours. Within days it had caught up with the rest of the fleet.

It came from behind, engaging in a tightly contested battle for first place. The crew responded continuously to changes in wind direction, wind strength and sea state, often using all hands to safely complete the jobs. They continuously checked and adjusted sail trim. They patiently double clipped in rough seas and made safety the priority over speed of action.

The crew’s team player attitude shone through when they gave a standing ovation to the competitor boat that had crossed the line just ahead of them.

And the race’s youngest male crew member, Spanish ClipperTelemed+ crew member Alex Laline was also nominated for the Henri Lloyd Seamanship Award. Despite being the youngest circumnavigator in the tenth edition of the Clipper Race, his team mates nominated him for showing the maturity, courage, compassion, skill, and leadership that only a proficient seaman would have.

In her final crew blog of the series, fellow circumnavigator Elaine Hargreaves wrote: “This has been an epic race; probably the toughest thing I've ever done. At moments I've been scared; excited, bewildered; freezing cold; very sweaty and in pain. Not all at once thank goodness! Would I do it again? Yes! Will I sail after this? Yes!

“I am the same person; but I've taken away from this experiences that will inform my thinking; challenge what I can accomplish, enhance my relationships and they have already set me on an optimistic path.”

Also on board for the circumnavigation was Han Kim, the race’s first ever South Korean round the world crew member. Han’s ambition is to bring the race to South Korea and he has spent his circumnavigation promoting sailing and the Clipper Race in his home country.

Congratulations to all the ClipperTelemed+ crew as well as Skipper Matt Mitchell and his predecessor Diane Reid who led the team for the first two legs.

Thanks for inviting us to your barbecues in port, your willingness to conduct all the media interviews, and for showing us that hard work and patience is rewarded Nicholas Abramczyk, Laura Benkis, Jason Chan, Craig Depner, Craig Downham, David Elliott, Lynn Ellwood, Carolyn Evans, Ryan Finlay, Jill Garratt, Chris Geary, Helen Greenfield, Dmitri Guvakov, Elaine Hargreaves, Jennifer Holmes, Justin Howard, Neil Hurrell, Chris Ingram, Mark Jenkinson, Timothy John, David Juniper, Imre Kavai, Jo Kennedy, Han (Yoonho) Kim, Judith Kling, Regina Krieger, Alex Laline, Katherine Law, Clement Lee, Sean Lee, Shana Lott, Mark Mccauley, Linda McDavitt, Lorne Merkur, Eric Miglin, Doug Millar, Adrian Morrison, Nigel Odling, Paul O’Shea, Mark Paskowitz, Nick Rainey, John Randall, Mike Sharp, Anna Siraut, Eelco Snijders, Jane Snoswell, Stefano Sommadossi, Javier Sopelana Martinez, Debbie Spicer, Hal Stokes, Dan Tadenc, Tony Hong Truong, Luc Turcotte, Michael Turner, Thomas Vaughan, Sunny Wang, Barnaby Webb, Neil West.

To read the ClipperTelemed+ crew's account of the circumnavigation in the Clipper 2015-16 Race, click here for their crew diaries.

ClipperTelemed+ is a first time Team Sponsor of the Clipper Race. The company, established by Clipper Ventures and the race’s Global Medical Emergency Support Partner, PRAXES Medical Group is an emergency telemedicine service for the maritime world. To find out more about the new business between Clipper Ventures click here.

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