Clipper 2017-18 Final Update: The Atlantic Homecoming Leg

After sailing over 40,000 nautical miles of the circumnavigation, the Clipper fleet blast back towards Europe. We recap over the final 4,000 nautical miles of the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the crews celebrate their victories.

On 25th June, the Clipper 2017-18 fleet waved goodbye to the Big Apple and set sail for the North Atlantic to complete the final Leg of the circumnavigation.

Race 12 to Derry-Londonderry began with champagne sailing conditions under bright blue skies. As the fleet charged forward a whale obstacle course emerged around them, and teams had to rapidly dodge whales breaking the water to breathe.

Over the first few days we saw plenty of movement on the leaderboard, although the racing conditions were as tight as ever. The pack stayed close with Garmin maintaining a lead in search of the Gulf Stream, where teams hoped to pick up speed.

The teams eventually reaped the rewards of ducking south and making it to the Gulf. This decision was a huge gamble – adding on extra miles to their course in exchange for an extra four knots of promised current.

Shortly after, fog descended making visibility tough while the fleet carried on the bumpy ride of the Gulf, battling to maintain a lead. Liverpool 2018 was forced to divert to Newfoundland, Canada to medevac a diabetic crew member. Healix were on hand to provide assistance, organising a hospital administration and a commercial flight safely back to the UK. We are pleased to confirm that the patient has since made a full recovery and Liverpool 2018 returned to racing.

With the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint in sight, the Clipper fleet splintered off into two distinct packs at the halfway point as important tactical decisions were made, with Unicef storming ahead taking a lead. With two boats in stealth mode and some tricky weather conditions ahead it was some edge-of-the-seat viewing.

Visit Seattle emerged on top but with a dreaded wind hole ahead, there were no early celebrations. Just 100 miles off the finish line the pressure was on as Visit Seattle, closely followed by Unicef, stormed ahead in order to beat the low winds slowly forming.

After what had been a thrilling race full of tactical, close racing, incredible whale and dolphin sightings, and a thrilling finish, the youngest Clipper Race Skipper and the Visit Seattle team powered to victory.

Once the full house made it in to port at Derry-Londonderry the crews got to enjoy an action-packed fortnight filled with festivals and celebrations, before they set off on their final sprint back to where it all began almost a year ago in Liverpool.

With tricky sailing conditions in the initial stages, positions were tightly contested from the start, but competition was at its most intense for two teams in particular. Having scored the most race points over the duration of the circumnavigation, it was all to play for as Sanya Serenity Coast and Visit Seattle went head to head to battle it out for the overall race title.

The two boats remained virtually neck-and-neck in the middle of the pack as the upwind beat down the Western Irish coast continued. Sanya Serenity Coast remained very much in Visit Seattle’s shadow as they mimicked every move and every tactic so not to lose any time or ground on their rivals. Visit Seattle continued to look for any advantage to no avail as Sanya Serenity Coast managed to open up a small lead just hours away from the finish line.

Up ahead at the front of the pack, Qingdao powered into first place and claimed a race win after a nail-biting finish with Liverpool 2018 and Garmin hot on their stern. The win for Qingdao guaranteed them a spot in the top three overall race standings.

The battle between Sanya Serenity Coast and Visit Seattle continued as the teams worked their boats to the maximum in a tremendous effort to take the overall win. Despite Visit Seattle playing its Joker Card (a device which doubles the race points earned) the team fell just short of the overall win. After a tough 40,000 nautical miles, history was made as Sanya Serenity Coast clinched the victory and Skipper Wendy Tucker relished in becoming the first woman ever to lead a team to win a round the world yacht race.

In total, 712 people representing 41 different nationalities and from all walks of life have taken part in the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Race, the event’s eleventh edition. It has been an absolute pleasure to provide our services to those taking part and we would like to congratulate not only Sanya Serenity Coast on their victory, but all crew members on their outstanding achievement. We wish you all every success in the future.

To learn more about Medical Assistance provided by Healix, click here.

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