After eleven months and more than 40,000 nautical miles, there is just hours left in the thirteenth and final race of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.
Qingdao, barring any mishap or weather change, seems set to take the win and Skipper Chris Kobusch says: “The tide turned earlier this morning and we are seeing double digits on the speedometer again. With Liverpool 2018 and Garmin right behind us we have to hope that the wind will stay with us for another few hours and that we won’t have another wind hole just before the finish again.”
Liverpool 2018 and Garmin are hot on Qingdao’s stern, with Garmin on track to collect back to back podiums. Skipper Gaetan Thomas comments: “I'm really focused on the "right now", now we still racing, now we have moderate visibility and a big spinnaker up in an unstable wind with lots of current, my pirates are working to get the best of it and if we keep like that we might gain a position hopefully two!”
For Liverpool 2018, this is set to be a fairy tale end, with a podium in its home port. Skipper Lance Shepherd reports: “It’s been a tough night, we had a cracking upwind section at the start of the race however, we can never seem to match the speed of the others downwind, it is very frustrating. Qingdao have pulled away and Garmin are catching very quickly.
“But to be honest, I'm actually too worked up about finally coming home to Liverpool. It’s going to be something special and we are so excited to do this for everyone who has been supporting and following us for the last year.”
IMAGE: Positions at time of writing
As well as the fight for the podium, the battle for the overall win continues between Sanya Serenity Coast and Visit Seattle. Whilst Visit Seattle pulled away slightly overnight, Nikki Henderson’s team will be hard pressed to overtake Sanya Serenity Coast for the right to lift the Clipper Race trophy if the current race order remains unchanged. Given victory is in reach, things are understandably tense on board Sanya Serenity Coast as Skipper Wendy Tuck explains: “For those of you watching the Race Viewer, we are happy to keep you sitting on the edge of your seats, biting your finger nails, and that is exactly what is going on here.
“Last night we had a small squall that pushed us away from where we wanted to be, that is right next to Visit Seattle. We had opened up a teeny-weeny gap on them and now it’s all come crashing down. So, now we are praying for a bit of a wind build on the right-hand side of the course to push us down and fast.”
IMAGE: Positions correct at time of writing
Whilst it will be tough to take out the overall win, Nikki is not losing sight of the bigger picture, saying: “We crossed our tracks last night - we have officially circumnavigated the globe!
“Every now and again someone clearly gets this reality check of 'wow we are sailing home and we are nearly finished and Liverpool is just round the corner and wow, wow, wow' feeling and you see this enormous wide giddy smile spread from ear to ear - pride, accomplishment, happy inside and out.”
To follow the progress of the Clipper Race teams, as they fast approach Race Finish of Race 13, keep an eye on the Race Viewer. You can also find out more about life on board by reading the Skipper Blogs in full and Crew Diaries.
Can’t make it to Liverpool for the Race Finish? You’ll be able to watch the conclusion of the Sprint Finish, Parade of Sail and the final Prize Giving live on the Clipper Race website.Join The Race