​Race 1 Day 5: Thrill ride conditions as Ocean Sprint gets underway

07 September 2019

“The surfing at constant 25 knots for some time was some of the best sailing I've done, ever…”

Chris Books, Skipper of Qingdao

Image: Ha Long Bay Viet Nam surfing down waves off the coast of Portugal today

The eleven Clipper Race teams enjoyed a real thrill-ride during the fifth day of racing as they zoomed through the start of the Ocean Sprint. Wind speeds of over 40knots with a swell of over four meters made for some of the most exhilarating downwind conditions that the professional skippers, and their non-professional crews, have faced.

Speaking from on board this morning, Chris Brooks, Skipper of Qingdao, currently chasing race leaders Unicef, said: “The conditions of Finisterre were phenomenal! Surfing up to 26.5 knots with non-professional crews and helms. Absolutely fantastic. These guys never cease to impress, taking each problem within their stride”.

Image: Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks at the helm this week.

The speedy conditions are likely to provide some very close Ocean Sprint results once all times have been collected by the Race Office. The Ocean Sprint is a time trial between two lines of longitude or two lines of latitude. The fastest three teams gain extra race points (three for first, two for second and one for third).

Image: Taken by Guan Xi on board Visit Sanya, China

The fastest boat speed reported back by Skippers this morning is from Josh Stickland on Ha Long Bay Viet Nam at 29.7 knots. In his morning report, Josh said: “My, my... Tony, Tony, Tony (Castro), what a machine you have built!

“We have been skimming for the last four to five hours with our speed now averaging 14-15 knots surfing across and down waves! I myself am a keen surfer and for anyone else who is, it's the closest I feel like dropping in on a wave - only my surfboard weighs 40 tonnes!”

Image; Visit Sanya, China, crew members enjoying the ride!

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