​Race 3 Day 26: Finish line beckons for final two teams

26 November 2015

The Wardan Whip produced the tightest finish of the Clipper 2015-16 Race so far, when after twenty-five days and 4,850 nautical miles of racing Mission Performance and IchorCoal were neck and neck on the approach to Albany. In the end it was Mission Performance which crossed the line first at 1005 UTC (1805 local time), swiftly followed by IchorCoal at 1007 UTC.

Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston highlights the exhilaration and intensity that comes from such close-matched racing: “The time of two minutes between the finish of the two boats after racing all the way from Cape Town to Albany, Western Australia, through the watery Himalayas of the Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean, does not get more exciting. Both teams will have enjoyed the excitement of such a close competition.

Mission Performance will thank its lucky stars it managed to hold onto its lead, IchorCoal will think back over its race and wonder about when it might have lost such a short margin somewhere along the way. Two minutes is so small. A slow headsail change, a spoiled spinnaker recovery, a delay in setting more sail when the wind was easing, a lack of concentration on the helm, the crew of Ichorcoal will be thinking about how they can do things better on the next race. We shall all look forward to watching how this rivalry pans out on the next race to Sydney. If you cannot be aboard one of the boats, the next best thing is watching their competition.”

There were three more arrivals into Host Port Albany in the last 24 hours, namely Da Nang – Viet Nam at 1340 UTC which finished in eighth place, Visit Seattle in ninth at 1726 UTC and PSP Logistics in tenth at 2356 UTC.

Unicef is the remaining boat racing after ClipperTelemed+ took the decision to retire and accept twelfth place to avoid spending days in the centre of a high pressure system with extremely light winds almost 1000 nautical miles from the finish, which would have further delayed its arrival into Australia.

For the Unicef crew, who now know they will finish in eleventh place and collect two points, the final miles are a time of reflection of the experience spent crossing the Southern Ocean, as Skipper Jim Prendergast says: “The sun has finally arrived as we hit 100 nautical miles to run. The wind is still strong and we are averaging over 10 knots as I type. The crew saw an albatross this morning and were concerned the cold and damp weather was here to stay, but thankfully it wasn’t a bad omen - perhaps it was just checking up on us one last time. We have become accustomed to their daily visits and it will be a shame not to see them again.

“The crew are managing the remaining time by discussing lasts; last breakfast at sea, last time I wear my drysuit etc. We are about to have our last lunch at sea. Will we have seen the last 02:00am watch handover already? We shall see!”

As of 0900 UTC Unicef is 84 nautical miles from the finish line and sailing at a speed of 9.4 knots, so it is expected in Albany between 2000-0000 UTC.

At 421 nautical miles from the finish line and traveling at 8.4 knots, ClipperTelemed+ is expected to arrive on Saturday 28 November.

As racing will officially end when Unicef gets into port, this will be the final Daily Update of Race 3, the Wardan Whip. We will be back with more once Race 4, the Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup to Sydney gets underway on Tuesday 1 December.

In the meantime, stay tuned to the Race Viewer to follow Unicef and ClipperTelemed+’s final approach and arrivals.

For the latest ETAs into Albany,click here.

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