​Race 6 Day 4: Offshore tactics pay off as Derry~Londonderry~ Doire takes the lead

06 January 2016

With eleven of the twelve strong Clipper Race fleet making the tactical decision to sail close to the eastern Australian coast, Derry~Londonderry~Doire’s plan to remain further offshore has seen the team take the lead in the Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race with less than 700 nautical miles to go to the finish line.

As of 0900 UTC Skipper Daniel Smith and his crew also recorded the fastest speed of the fleet, travelling at 11.3 knots in a bid to take the two points for the fastest Ocean Sprint time. However even though the team’s gamble of remaining offshore seems to be paying off, Skipper Daniel knows how the varying wind speeds can easily affect the race positions: “Over the past 24 hours we have seen the inshore fleet slow. If they have experienced conditions like us this will be due to terribly squally weather followed by a wind hole. We saw our race ranking jump from twelfth to first and to then to fourth.

“The squally weather made Skipper and team work extra hard, changing between all Yankee headsails multiple times and reefing as conditions changed, no sooner did we have the right sail up than the wind decided to give us more work. Now it has filled in we are sailing north across the Ocean Sprint making good speed under spinnaker. When all the results are in we'll find out if it is enough to make up for all the time we were going nowhere.”

ClipperTelemed+ has climbed up to second place, pushing GREAT Britain, which is now the team furthest inshore, down to third. Having recorded its highest finishing position of the Clipper 2015-16 Race by coming fourth in the Clipper class of the Sydney-Hobart Race, ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell says his team is happy to push hard for continual improvement: “A timely tack made by the on watch this morning saw us moving swiftly along in the right direction once again. Just before lunch we hoisted our heavyweight spinnaker in anticipation of the wind building to 30 knots this afternoon. However, I was soon getting a bit antsy with our less than optimum progress so up went our medium weight spinnaker that has been doing a fine job pulling us along ever since.

“It seems we came out pretty well after the vigours of last night which has made crew spirit even higher, although the breadth of a cigarette paper difference between us and some of the other boats means that racing will be close right until the end.”

Da Nang – Viet Nam, which led for the first 48 hours of the race is now in fourth, and in this tightly fought affair, less then six nautical miles separates Qingdao in fifth and IchorCoal in tenth position, as the teams search for the most favourable route to the Ocean Sprint, and ultimately, race finish. IchorCoal Skipper Darren Ladd says: “What a nice surprise to see Garmin, LMAX Exchange, PSP Logistics, Qingdao and Unicef all within sight! Usually after race start the boats slowly disappear first from view, then from the AIS (Automatic Identification System), after that you're on your own. This time it seems half the fleet have gone for the inside passage and arranged to meet up mid-race. Must make for an exciting spectacle on the Race Viewer for all the friends and family at home.

“The good ship IchorCoal has been basking in sunshine all day. The night brought light and variable winds but since then we have been making steady progress under spinnaker and full main. Various predictions give gusty weather soon although with every new update the wind strength seems to be lessening and its arrival time further away.”

Despite the closeness of the yachts, the low front over the fleet means fickle winds in the area have led to a real difference in speeds with sixth placed LMAX Exchange currently recording 7.5 knots compared to seventh placed Unicef at 3.6 knots.

Mission Performance is currently in twelfth place after a dramatic and rewarding day for Skipper Greg Miller and his crew. In an act of selflessness and outstanding seamanship, the team suspended racing temporarily to answer an SOS call from a nearby yacht which had a crew member stuck up the mast for several hours. Skipper Greg explains: “I suspended racing immediately to offer assistance which involved a two hour motor to their position followed by a transfer of one of our crew members, Gavin Reid, to their yacht. Gavin remained up their mast for a couple of hours trying to sort things for their crewman who had been stuck up there for hours by the time he was released from his ropey grip at 0730 this morning and brought down.

“Well done to our round-the-world Mission Performance warrior Gavin. We are all very proud of you for the effort you put in getting on board and up someone else’s mast.The crew of the yacht were very happy and relieved to get their crewman back down and thanked both Gavin and Mission Performance for a job well done.”

Mission Performance has resumed racing and applied to the Race Office for redress. As of 0900 UTC is travelling at 10.2 knots at the beginning of the Ocean Sprint course.

To follow all the action in this exciting race, tune into the Race Viewer for position updates.

If this has whet your appetite and you would like to join the Clipper 2017-18 or 2019-20 Race crew then please contact our recruitment team for more information.

All positions correct at 0900 UTC.

Clipper 2015-16 Technical Clothing Partner Henri Lloyd is proud to support the Clipper Race.

Picture Craig Greenhill/News Corp Australia

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