Race 15 conditions: The final sprint to London

24 July 2022

The Clipper Race fleet officially started their final Race 15 from Greencastle at 1800 LT on Sunday 24 July 2022, following a rainy but wonderful departure from Foyle Marina.

Race 15 is a short but tactical sprint of 860nm, taking the fleet will North to and around the top of Scotland, sailing through the tricky conditions of the Pentland Firth and then to the North Sea, before making their way to the mouth of the Thames, finishing in Southend.

From on the water at Greencastle, Mark Light, Race Director, discussed the conditions that lie ahead for the fleet: “The conditions at the start will be light to moderate south westerly winds. The fleet will start across the line upwind and head into Lough Foyle briefly on the last of the flood tide. Once around the two race marks they will turn and head outbound with following winds. The downwind conditions are likely to last for a few hours but as the fleet head further north they will encounter a veering wind which will increase to give strong upwind conditions.”

He continues: “As the low-pressure weather system moves north and east, wind strengths should continue to increase and reach 30 knots from the north. It will be a tough first night for the fleet, as they battle their way outside of the Western Isles and Outer Hebrides into 3 – 4 metre seas and gusty conditions.

“Later, on Monday 25 July, the wind should start to back once again and help the fleet through the notorious Pentland Firth with ferocious tides, and across the top of the Scottish mainland. Once clear, the fleet will begin their descent down into the North Sea, initially with downwind conditions, which will slowly start to morph into light and variable patches. This will be a very tactical part of the race as each team negotiates its way through the lighter wind areas and tides, down towards the lower reaches of the North Sea and the Thames Estuary.

“The final section of this race will be navigating through the narrow channels of the Thames Estuary and making use of the last throes of easterly to southeasterly breeze which should push the fleet on towards the Finish Line off Southend Pier.”

It’s set to be a highly competitive race, so be sure to keep up with the action over on the Race Viewer. Following five days of intense racing, the fleet is due to arrive in London’s Royal Docks on Saturday 30 July ready for the final celebrations and to reunite with friends and family.

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