Skippers share their thoughts ahead of Leg 2: The South Atlantic Challenge

04 October 2017

The twelve Clipper Race Skippers have been checking the latest weather reports and are ready to go for Leg 2: The South Atlantic Challenge after experiencing a fantastic time in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Sanya Serenity Coast claimed line honours on the Atlantic Trade Winds Leg and Skipper Wendy Tuck is looking forward to the race to Cape Town, saying: “I never like to be too over confident because that’s just being too arrogant but we’re feeling good."

Roy Taylor, PSP Logistics Skipper, has been reflecting on the first stopover of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, commenting: “We’re all feeling quite relaxed and recharged after our nice ten-day stay here so we’re ready to go now.”

The stopover has been the first opportunity for new Greenings Interim Skipper, Andy Woodruff, to meet his team following the injury to David Hartshorn. Andy says: “Since arriving, the team have been very welcoming of me and also welcoming of the new team members for Leg 2. We want to go out there and give it our all. The forecast for the first couple of days is quite a tough one…so it will be interesting to see what the fleet do and how we tactically manage the fleet.”

Lance Shepherd, Skipper of Liverpool 2018, adds: “It’s going to be a lot more tactical than the last race; because it’s shorter, every little mistake is going to count. There’s no big distance to make up mistakes and faults.”

GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns has been preparing his crew for the challenges ahead and reports: “The crew are ready, I’ve had a bit of a chat at changeover. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the water and obviously getting into Cape Town and whatever is in the middle is great.”

At the Crew Brief yesterday, it was revealed that Dare To Lead will be playing its Joker Card for this leg, meaning that the team will double the amount of points earned by crossing the Finish Line in Cape Town. As a Capetonian himself, Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth explains: “I’m highly motivated – I’m sailing home so that’s good news for me. There is no way that anyone can ever claim to be familiar with the ocean but in some ways, especially when it comes to the final approaches towards Cape Town and right in to Table Bay, that is my home territory and my home sailing ground.”

For some Skippers, it will be the first time sailing in to Cape Town. Nikki Henderson, Skipper of Visit Seattle, says: “I have never sailed in to Cape Town so it is very exciting.”

Looking ahead at the weather, she adds: “The next couple of days will be very windy – the first day will be getting windier overnight and then it looks like it might drop off so we’ll see what happens.”

Gaëtan Thomas, Skipper of Garmin, says: “It’s going to be a bit tough for the first night and the second day. There’s going to be a bit more match racing, which will get us faster towards Cape Town. We’re expecting a bit of everything – there’s going to be a bit more wind and we’ll be playing between the high and low-pressure systems.”

The conditions on Leg 2 are expected to be quite different from the previous leg, and Bob Beggs, Skipper of Unicef, comments: “The crew are really focussed and looking forward to it. Lots of different people do the Clipper Race for lots of different reasons. Many choose the legs which are less windy and more sun but the ones that choose to do these legs are the ones that really want to see the power of the sea so hopefully we’ll see that over the next few days.”

Nasdaq Skipper Rob Graham reports: “Looking at the forecast, it’s going to be a very different start. We’ve got quite strong northerly winds for the first few days so possibly a bit rough and then we’ll see what happens after that.”

The conditions excite Conall Morrison, Skipper of, who says: “I’m looking forward to the downwind sailing, the spinnaker work and getting the boat going fast. Just looking at the weather for the first couple of days, there seems to be a need to go south for the first couple of days due to the high-pressure system coming in.”

Chris Kobusch, Qingdao Skipper, agrees, adding: “In the beginning, we have to try and avoid wind holes. We’ll start off with really strong winds and then a couple of wind holes for the first three or four days and I think that the boats that manage those the best will probably be in the lead.”

Supporters at home are already preparing to resume their Clipper Race Viewer addiction to see how tactics will play out over the coming days.

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