Skippers Preview Race 4: The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test

02 December 2017

After the toughest Leg in Clipper Race history, participants have had a chance to recuperate in Fremantle (Western Australia) ahead of Race 4: The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test towards Sydney.

The winner of the last race into Fremantle was Unicef, which is currently in tenth place overall, and Skipper Bob Beggs says: “Energy levels are good. Obviously, it’s been a very busy stopover with lots going on. Crew have got a little bit of rest so we are now focussing our energies to the next Leg and all looking forward to it.”

When asked about his chances of repeating his success, he commented: “You’ve got to be confident if you want to put yourself on the podium but there are eleven good boats out there and ten other good Skippers. They push me hard and I’m pushing them so it’s anybody’s race and I’m really looking forward to it.”

IMAGE: Race 3 Winners Unicef ahead of the race from Fremantle to Sydney.

For the first time in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, no team has opted to play its Joker Card for the next stage of the circumnavigation meaning that it is a level playing field with no team looking to double their points for this next race.

The Skipper of current Race Leader, Qingdao, says: “Being at the top of the leaderboard means that everyone is chasing us at the moment. We’ve played our Joker Card already – it went OK – so it’s going to be interesting when the other boats are paying theirs.”

Second on the leaderboard is Dare To Lead, which has also already played its Joker Card previously, and Skipper Dale Smyth reports: “I’m ready to give it some energy again after the Southern Ocean. A nice short race compared to previous ones – not too short, but short enough to put all of my energy into it. I think there will be a lot of tactics working our way down into the Great Australian Bight.”

IMAGE: Skippers, Sir Robin and Clipper Race Officials ahead of Race Start.

Following a remarkable podium finish into Fremantle after the tragic loss of crew member, Simon Speirs, GREAT Britain lies in third position overall and Skipper Andy Burns reports that: “Due to the incident on board the last race, crew are finding their feet again. I hope that we can achieve a podium place again but the priority, as always, is keeping a safe boat.”

For fourth-placed Sanya Serenity Coast, Australian Skipper Wendy Tuck is very much looking forward to the next race: “I’m about to go home and I’m very excited. I can’t wait to see all my friends and family in my hometown. I’ve already been told by my friends that I need to arrive at a decent time not 1am like on the last race edition!”

Another returning Clipper Race Skipper, Matt Mitchell on PSP Logistics which is currently in sixth place, knows that the conditions can be variable and says: “I’ve done the sail from Western Australia to Sydney twice before; on the Clipper 2013-14 Race, we had nice reaching conditions and then a wind hole, whereas on the last edition we had 70 knots on the nose for a week and then a wind hole. So, it’s going to be anything!”

IMAGE: PSP Logistics who achieved a second podium finish in the race to Fremantle.

Visit Seattle will go into Race 4 in fifth place in the overall standings, and after a long slog across the Southern Ocean, the Skipper, Nikki Henderson, is looking forward forward to the sprint to Sydney.

"Short and fast are my favourite kind of races," says Nikki.

"It might be a little slow the first few days and it looks like there is some weather coming through so it should be a bit like Leg 2 and we should fly along in the right direction."

On her team, Nikki adds: "The guys are really focused on having a fun race. Competitive as always but there will be hopefully be a lot of laughs along the way as well.

IMAGE: Supporters wave off Visit Seattle for Race 4 from Fremantle to Sydney.

Seventh-placed Skipper of Garmin, Gaëtan Thomas, is no stranger to the area and is hoping for a better position compared to previous races: “I’ve sailed a bit around the Bass Strait – I know it can be quite tough. There’s a Scoring Gate on the way so we will see the tactic when we get there. Hopefully we will have more westerly winds than we’ve had in the Southern Ocean so far - a big roller-coaster with big waves – and then we’ll see what we get.”

In eighth place, Liverpool 2018 Skipper Lance Shepherd knows it will be a beat up the coast towards Sydney but is looking forward to the arrival: “I’ve always wanted to sail into Sydney with the iconic Harbour Bridge so it’s going to be pretty amazing I think.”

On his chances for the next race, he reports: “We’ve got six new faces on board but four have them have already done a Leg before so we’ve got quite a strong team.”

IMAGE: Liverpool 2018 pose for a team photo ahead of the start of Race 4.

The Skipper of, Conall Morrison, is feeling relaxed having taken on new crew: “We’ve shaken up some of the positions on board as we’ve got new joiners who are going to be Watch Leaders and the boat is well for another fun crew. Morale is high, it’s higher than it’s been for a couple of Legs.”

Having checked out the latest weather updates, he reports: “We’re expecting headwinds for the first two days and then a wind hole after that so we’ll see. And there’s a big storm out there and we know the Bass Strait is notorious so, like the previous legs, we’re expecting everything!”

IMAGE: Members of the team ahead of setting off on the race to Sydney.

In eleventh place, Nasdaq Skipper Rob Graham is looking forward to his maiden trip to Sydney and is prepared for the varied weather on the next stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race: “A quick return to the Southern Ocean and its quite variable wind and weather conditions around the start. I’m looking forward to a great arrival into the iconic Sydney harbour. I’ve never been before so what a way to arrive for the first time!”

Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, reports that the low-pressure system over the first couple of days will bring gusty and squally conditions, which will bring the wind direction round to more of an offshore breeze as opposed to straight up the coast, providing a much better angle for the Clipper Race teams. He adds: “With this being an offshore breeze, it will be coming off the very hot Western Australia land, so the closer inshore, the less stable it will be with lots of wind holes and wind shifts.”

The Clipper Race Communications Team will be bringing you the Slipping Lines ceremony, weather permitting, from 1200 local time (0400 UTC) on the Clipper Race LIVE Facebook page, and you can watch all of the action unfold throughout the race via the Clipper Race Viewer.

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