21 November 2017

As the Clipper Race teams look ahead to arriving in to Fremantle later this week, Skippers from across the fleet have expressed their gratitude on behalf of the crew for the messages from back home after a tough few days in the Southern Ocean.

GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns explaining: “As you can probably imagine the last 48 hours have been some of the most difficult of our lives here on CV30 GREAT Britain but we have found strength in remembering Simon and in each other. We are all grateful for the messages of support we have all received as a crew and individually and continue to press on to Fremantle.”

Wendy Tuck, Skipper of Sanya Serenity Coast, commented on how crew are coping: “We are still thinking all sorts of thoughts but still sailing our yacht. Today was the first big belly chuckle that has happened onboard for a while and it was really needed - a lot of tension and who knows what other feelings were released.”

She added: “If you are following the Race Viewer, you will see that you cannot see us. Yes, we are in sneaky stealth mode. We have this big wind hole to get through so thought we would try and go invisible and see if that helps getting across it. Of course, I can’t tell you if it’s working or not.

With Sanya Serenity Coast in stealth mode until midday today (UTC), PSP Logistics has taken the lead but Skipper Matt Mitchell is not taking this for granted, explaining: “The wind has been kind to us so far although over the next 100 miles we are expecting it to drop considerably as we near that rather annoying ridge of high pressure that is setting itself up ahead of us.

“It's really getting down to the crunch now as those of us ahead will get into the light airs before those behind, meaning they have ample opportunity to close the gap.”

Visit Seattle is now in second place with Qingdao, which has played its Joker Card for Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race currently in third. Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “We are still flying spinnakers, but are slowly sailing out of the stronger winds and into the lighter airs that come with the centre of the high-pressure system. Soon we will be bobbing around again, looking for wind, in what will be our third Southern Ocean wind hole.

“Once we are past this last obstacle, it will be a final sprint to Fremantle.”

Not far behind in fourth place is Dare To Lead with Unicef, which had made a decision to sail alongside GREAT Britain in a show of support, further south in fifth.

IMAGES: Positions of fleet at time of writing. (NB - Sanya Serenity Coast and HotelPlanner.com in Stealth Mode.)

Having taken a more northerly route, Liverpool 2018 is currently in seventh place alongside Garmin in eighth and Skipper Lance Shepherd explains: “We are pleased to be within AIS range of team Garmin should they need any support with Erik Hellstrom and delighted (and frustrated as they are going faster than us) to see them making good progress towards a safe solution for him.”

Since the time of writing, a successful medevac of Erik has been completed and further updates will be provided on the Clipper Race website.

In ninth place, Nasdaq has completed its Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and Skipper Rob Graham reports: “Now we are back to white sails and trying to work out the best route through the rather mixed-up weather systems that lie between us and destination Fremantle - we will crack the ‘1,000 nautical miles to go’ line soon and thoughts onboard are turning to our arrival and the supporters waiting there for us.”

Meanwhile, further back in the fleet, Skipper of HotelPlanner.com Conall Morrison explains: “We have activated stealth mode to keep our Elliott Brown Ocean Sprint time a surprise.”

The team will come out of stealth mode at midnight tonight (UTC) and the results of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint will be confirmed once all teams have completed the course.

For the teams at the front, Clipper Race Meteorologist has confirmed that the high-pressure system that is holding up the fleet is not as wide as it could be and that once the teams are through, it’ll be a good sail in to Fremantle.

For an idea of when the fleet is expected to cross the Finish Line, please see the Estimated Arrival Times on the Clipper Race website.

You can also follow the Clipper Race Viewer to stay up to date on the fleet’s progress to Fremantle. All positions were correct at time of publishing.

Read more on the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs available on the Team Pages.