After 28 days at sea, all the fleets have crossed the finish line of the All Australian Leg. We recap over the last 4,700 nautical miles of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, as the crews celebrate in port in the Whitsundays.
Leg 4, consisting of three individual races, has been challenging in every way. Commencing on the 2nd December 2017, the constantly changing conditions, from brutal to mild, meant that there has been no relaxing – the crews have been pushed mentally and physically in what is one of the most inhospitable parts of the planet, further south than on any other leg.
The Leg has been full of close finishes and competitive racing. Sanya Serenity Coast took an early advantage in Leg 4 Race 4, and competition for the lead heated up ahead of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. Sanya Serenity Coast edged Visit Seattle with the fastest time, just thirteen seconds separating the winners.
The advantage continued into Leg 4 Race 5, while HotelPlanner went to the assistance of a fellow competitor shortly after the race started after being informed of a crew member falling overboard. The casualty maintained superficial scratches to his leg and returned to the competition in good spirits.
On approach to the finish line, there was just 90 minutes separating the eleven Clipper Race teams, with mere seconds between some teams. It turned out to be an incredibly thrilling finale as Sanya Serenity Coast took a second win.
Leg 4 Race 6 quickly turned into one of the toughest races of the Clipper 17-18 Race so far. Changing, challenging wind conditions and a lightning strike to Qingdao, tested both the strength and character of the crews.
Sanya Serenity Coast officially finished Race 6 in eighth place, but after picking up bonus points, the team will finish the All-Australian Leg on top of the overall standings.
Over the duration of Leg 4, Healix has responded to 26 requests for assistance at the main ports of arrival, mostly for minor medical problems.
The Healix team have been arranging appointments with our preferred urgent care medical providers for those with more minor medical problems and have had ambulance transportation on standby at the port, ready to take patients with more serious injuries straight to our predetermined preferred hospitals.
The Clipper Race crew have sailed almost 20,000 miles and half way around the world to get to the Whitsundays, and have been welcomed by a two week celebration of vibrant regional events and activities.
Leg 5, the Asia Pacific Leg, starts on 29th January, 2018 where the fleet will begin heading north towards the Equator, where the breeze may drop. High levels of concentration will be needed, as every tweak will affect the boat speed and teams with strong light wind sailing skills will have an advantage.