​Race 12 Day 0: Countdown to Race Start

26 June 2018

After bidding farewell to the Big Apple in style, the Clipper Race fleet has regrouped off Long Island ahead of today’s Le Mans start of Race 12: The LegenDerry Race from New York to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The 3,000 nautical mile Race 12 is due to begin under Le Mans conditions at 1400 local time (1800 UTC), and according to Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell, the teams should see the breeze gradually build to 10 knots and veer to south-southeast for the start. But whilst the wind will keep building and veering over the coming days, visibility will be a concern at times, with fog developing at the centre of the new high cell as it moves east.

IMAGE: All positions correct at time of publishing.

For now, all is well, with the fleet treated to several whale sightings and a dolphin show or two whilst going through refresher sailing training and MOB drills. It also has been a time for reflection ahead of what will be the sixth and final ocean crossing of the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs says: “This our final ocean crossing and cannot be taken for granted. The North Atlantic can be as tough as any and needs to be given respect. Still, the weather forecast is fair at the present time.”

Visit Seattle Skipper Nikki Henderson has also been thinking about the last big ocean race, adding: “Now our minds look to Derry-Londonderry – 3,000 nautical miles or so in the distance - and of home to Liverpool. It feels a significant moment as we head out to start our last ocean crossing of the race.

“Let’s hope we have a successful race, and hold our place on the leaderboard, and most importantly - have a fun crossing!”

IMAGE: Visit Seattle departing New York.

Whilst Visit Seattle, currently third in the overall standings, has opted to save its Joker Card for the final race from Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool, Unicef and PSP Logistics have decided to play the device now and double any race points earned in Race 12. PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell says: “The team is super keen to get stuck in to this race and it's all to play for in the Autumn stages of this round the world race.”

With just 15 points currently separating PSP Logistics in fifth from the second placed Qingdao, Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch knows a lot is riding on Race 12, commenting: “For us it will be a tough last Leg, as Visit Seattle and PSP Logistics both still have to play their Joker Card and might then either take our second place or be very close behind. The next two races will decide who gets onto the podium.”

IMAGE: Overall Clipper Race Leaderboard going into Race 12.

This is the fourth consecutive time the Clipper Race fleet has raced across the Atlantic to Derry-Londonderry, and it will be a special homecoming for Derry-Londonderry born Skipper Conall Morrison and the Irish members of his HotelPlanner.com team. After being bid farewell by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, in New York, Conall says: “I am now, more than ever looking forward to this LegenDerry Race into my own home port and am very proud to have such a great and happy team along with me.”

Race 12: The LegenDerry Race is expected to take up to 19 days, with the Clipper Race fleet estimated to arrive in Derry-Londonderry between 10-14 July – just in time for the Foyle Maritime Festival. The award-winning festival will run from Saturday 14 July until the fleet departs for Liverpool on Sunday 22 July. For more information about Foyle Maritime Festival, see the Derry-Londonderry Stopover page on the Clipper Race website.

To see Race 12 get underway and follow the progress of the Clipper Race teams across the North Atlantic to Derry-Londonderry, keep an eye on the Race Viewer. You can also find out more about life on board by reading the Skipper Blogs in full on the Team Pages and the latest Crew Diaries.

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