Published: Wednesday, 02 December 2015

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet has started Leg 4, the Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup to Sydney, departing Albany, Western Australia.

Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Leg 4 Begins

The start of the leg followed a Parade of Sail while an aerobatic display was performed overhead with hundreds of spectators watching the fleet depart.

First over the line was Mission Performance followed by Garmin and ClipperTelemed+. The fleet then raced round three marks before heading southeast.

“This first race of the Australia Leg goes further south than any other and will take in one of the most inhospitable parts of the planet,” says Clipper Race Director Justin Taylor. “The teams have the option to go south of the rhumb line to get stronger westerly winds which may turn out to be the fastest option, but will add extra miles.”

“On the port beam is the Great Australian Bight and the unforgiving shores of the Nullarbor Plain,” continued Taylor. “With Australia sitting above cold Antarctic waters, icebergs can flow north. The yachts will route toward the southern tip of Tasmania and into the Tasman Sea and the Bass Strait for the first time in an upwind beat against the East Australia current to the finish in Sydney Harbour.”

The leg consists of three races, including the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and then back north to finish in Airlie Beach, Queensland, the gateway to the Whitsundays in mid-January. They will end up crossing the Bass Strait three times in total.

Wendy Tuck is the first female Australian skipper in the 20-year history of the Clipper Race. She leads Da Nang - Viet Nam, in ninth place overall, and will sail into her home city of Sydney at the end of Leg 4 in the 14 leg global series.

Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Leg 4 Begins 1

“I have never set sail from Albany before but will be in familiar waters soon, excited to arrive into my home town Sydney and then take part in my ninth Rolex to Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with the rest of the Clipper 70 teams,” says Tuck.

The overall leader board is currently headed by Derry~Londonderry~Doire after its second place finish into Albany at the end of Leg 3 from Cape Town.

“We have not had a first place finish yet, so we will be pushing for that," says Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith. "I am looking forward to sailing into Sydney for the first time." 

The race to Sydney is expected to take around 11-14 days to complete, depending on the prevailing weather the crew encounter enroute. The arrival window into Sydney is December 12-15.

The race is sponsored by the Clipper 2015-16 Race Official Timekeeper, British watch company Elliot Brown. Built to go the distance during the circumnavigation, Elliot Brown watches are being worn by Skippers and crew to test their durability in the extreme conditions.

Elliot Brown is producing 1,000 special edition Clipper Race crewmember watches, which are now available.