Skippers Thoughts Ahead of Race 11: Nasdaq Race to New York

03 June 2018

It’s time to return to racing, and the Clipper Race Skippers couldn’t be more excited heading into the third last race of the 40,000 nautical mile , eleven month circumnavigation.

After the twists and turns of Race 10, which resulted in Dare To Lead swooping in and take its maiden victory at the eleventh hour, the Clipper Race teams have been getting some much deserved R&R in Panama City.

After transiting the legendary Panama Canal, the entire fleet regrouped on the Atlantic side of Panama ahead of the Le Mans style start of Race 11: Nasdaq Race later today, and the Skippers know every point will count in the final stage of the penultimate leg.

IMAGE: The Clipper Race fleet lines up for a Le Mans style start in Race 7.

Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch and his crew dominated much of Race 10, leading for 14 of the 18 days of racing, but a change in fortune towards the end of the race saw Qingdao cross the finish line in eighth place. Whilst Qingdao remains second in the overall standings, the disappointment of the last race has left the team keen to earn maximum points before the final Homecoming Leg 8. Chris explains: “The next race is going to be interesting. We lost a few places in the last race so we will be looking to get as many posts as possible during Race 11.

“It should be predominantly upwind at the beginning but hopefully we should get some downwind conditions later on in the race and I imagine it will be a drag race to the finish in New York.”

Chris will be the lead Skipper for the Le Mans style start, whilst has drawn the favoured windward position. The line-up will be as follows:

  • (windward boat)
  • Dare To Lead
  • GREAT Britain
  • PSP Logistics
  • Garmin
  • Qingdao (Lead Skipper)
  • Visit Seattle
  • Sanya Serenity Coast
  • Nasdaq
  • Liverpool 2018
  • UNICEF (leeward boat)
For further information about a Le Mans start, see the FAQ Section on the Clipper Race website.

Meanwhile, the win in the race from Seattle to Panama has boosted morale in the Dare To Lead team and Skipper Dale Smyth reports: “The win into Panama was really exciting for the team. We have been wanting that for a long time so we will be hoping that we can keep the momentum going in the next race.

“I have never been to New York so I am really excited to sail into the city and looking forward to it.”

IMAGE: Overall standings going into Race 11 from Panama to New York.

Race 11: Nasdaq Race promises lots of upwind action, with the possibility of hurricane force winds to negotiate. Bob Beggs, Skipper of Unicef, has raced a similar route during previous editions of the Clipper Race and while he is keeping his cards close to his chest, he did comment: “You really need to be ready for anything. We might get light breeze, or we might get a lot of wind to push us through. It’s a bit of a pot luck really but that’s exciting.

Australian Wendy Tuck, Skipper of Sanya Serenity Coast, is feeling the pressure with her team still maintain a healthy lead on top of the overall leaderboard. Wendy says: “The morale is pretty good but the pressure is on to keep up the good work!

“We have an awesome team and they work fantastically, so hopefully we can keep the intensity on and stay up at the front. However, we are going into an area where a lot of the Skippers have a lot of experience racing and sailing around the Caribbean so there will be a lot to watch out for!”

Over on Garmin, the team is fired up for the upcoming challenge as Skipper Gaetan Thomas explains: “We really want to win Race 11! We are going to push hard – we always do – but even more so this time.

“The last race was predominantly downwind and this race will be more upwind so there will be lots of Yankee changes and that should keep it busy and exciting.”

The final part of the penultimate Leg of the Clipper 2017-18 Race is due to start at 18:00 UTC (13:00 local time) on Sunday 03 June and is estimated to take between 10-13 days to complete. Teams expected to arrive into New York between 14-16 June where they will be berthed between North Cove Marina, Manhattan, and Liberty Landing Marina, New Jersey.

You can follow the progress of the Clipper Race fleet 24/7 on the Race Viewer.

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