After over a month at sea, all the yachts have crossed the finish line of the USA Coast-to-Coast Leg. We recap over the last 6,000 nautical miles of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, as the crews celebrate their victories in the “city that never sleeps”.
Leg 7 “The USA Coast-to-Coast” has been a tough 38-day, 6,091 nautical mile physical and mental challenge for the crews of the Clipper Race 2017-18.
Race 10 took off to a great start that made for exciting viewing. The Clipper fleet splintered off into two groups as important tactical decisions had to be made very early on: stay inshore riding the currents or head for the offshore waters where the winds are consistent. There was an early win for the Clipper teams that opted to stay inshore as their bold tactical decision gave them a head start with Qingdao leading the pack.
Light winds soon arrived which slowed down all progress and the distance gained by the teams taking an early advantage begun to close. Whilst the wind hole didn’t spare anyone, Qingdao’s lead remained uncontested.
Frustrations were high for PSP Logistics, HotelPlanner.com, Unicef, Dare To Lead, Sanya Serenity Coast and Liverpool 2018 who all had lost ground due to repairs. The light winds continued off the coast of Mexico, and the fleet became more tightly compressed than ever as they pushed towards port in Panama. This kind of close racing required high concentration, as the teams worked their boats to the maximum.
Tensions began to rise, and it all got too close for Qingdao’s liking, as they made the bold tactical decision to enter Stealth mode, disappearing from public view for 24 hours in the hope to gain a competitive edge. Dare to Lead followed suit shielding any tactical moves or favourable wind shifts.
Once out of Stealth mode, it was revealed that the leaderboard had seen an almost complete transformation. The gamble paid off for Dare to Lead who reappeared in first place position, just 15 nautical miles from the finish line in Panama, and ended the race with a surprise eleventh hour victory!
After a short stopover in Panama, the Clipper fleet set sail again for the crystal seas of the Caribbean, on to New York. Although the Clipper Race fleet spent the majority of the race to Panama in close quarters, it only took minutes for a split to emerge in Race 11. The fleet was playing a game of snakes and ladders, battling choppy upwind conditions, as they headed towards the first race mark off the coast of Jamaica.
The teams were relishing in returning to full race mode as they bolted past Jamaica, with PSP Logistics rising up the ranks and storming ahead into first place position. Light conditions ahead began to raise concerns as the fleet entered the passage between Cuba and Haiti, as many of the teams opted to enter into Stealth mode to keep everyone guessing about leaderboard positions for 24 hours.
The breeze began strengthening as the fleet made it out of the Caribbean and into the open Atlantic Ocean, setting the scene for a tight finish as the teams emerged out of Stealth mode, with PSP Logistics maintaining their lead, but the rest of the finishing positions still very much up for grabs. While PSP Logistics powered to victory, claiming its second win of the Clipper Race 2017-18, Sanya Serenity Coast bested GREAT Britian into second place.
The Healix team were on hand to deal with any medical issues throughout but luckily there were no major events.
All teams in the Clipper fleet have now crossed the finish line and made port in New York City, where they will celebrate their victories for the next seven days before setting sail again for Leg 8, the Atlantic Homecoming Leg. While this might be the homeward bound Leg, there is plenty more racing to be done and the competition is hot, with teams battling it out for the final race points as they blast back towards Europe.
From everyone at Healix to all taking part – good luck!