Visit Seattle has crossed the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms finish line to make it nine Clipper Race yachts now berthed at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.
Huw Fernie and his crew crossed the finish line at 1414 UTC (1614 local time) and were greeted by other teams, friends and family as they came alongside. Huw says: "It feels absolutely fantastic to finally be here. The race was such a mixed bag. It was strong winds, it was light winds, in the end it was a hurricane. We really had to deal with everything. In the same line as that we were in first position, we were in last position, we covered everything pretty much. For the team it was a complete range of highs and lows. We pulled together and here we are, a fantastic welcome into Cape Town.
"The boat really took care of us this race, we have had absolutely everything. The start for us was fantastic. We crossed the start line in second place, then from that we were in first place at the first mark so we really hit the ground running this time and did really well for first half of the race. Unfortunately we had a bit of a kite disaster when the spinnaker sail got wrapped around the forestay and we spent 34 hours not really racing in this race trying to fix that problem. But we dealt with it and came back fighting and it was just a really nice sail from that point onwards focusing on our own boat speed and finally coming in to claim ninth over the line, so still fighting and waiting for LMAX Exchange and Qingdao to see how we do.
"Having such a strong start was a huge boost for the team. Everyone was up there driving hard and everyone wanted to be there as well. It didn’t matter if you were on the bow getting soaked full of sea water, despite the fact that it’s still quite warm in Rio it’s something some would still shy away from. This time it was great, really good team spirit.
"Hoisting the storm sail was good practice for the next race but in fact last night we genuinely needed it because we came through an actual hurricane. It was very unexpected. We were due half of the wind speed that we got but we dealt with it really well and again it gave us that final little push into Cape Town that we were looking for."
Visit Seattle crew member Tiffany Campbell from Texas, USA had never sailed before her Clipper Race training and says racing across the South Atlantic Ocean lived up to her expectations: "I am so, so excited. I was very nervous at the beginning about the whole thing so it’s just an amazing feeling. I’d never sailed before this so I’m a novice sailor and this is basically my introduction to sailing. The reason I did it was like doing boot camp, just jump in and do something extreme and it was definitely that.
"After the training, the race itself was exactly what I expected. I think the training did give you a fair idea of what it was going to be like in terms of seasickness, roughness, duties on board, and the manual work. I came in with eyes wide open, expecting to work, so that was my expectation and that was met.
"It’s hard to sum it up. We had everything – slow times, rough times, even in the last two days it we went from Force 10 gales and then we came into stills, so it’s extreme.
"For me the bonus is coming to this city. I switched legs last minute from Leg 1 to 2 and when I decided to do that and I realised I was going to Cape Town that was just the icing on the cake."
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