Published: Friday, 08 April 2016

Derry~Londonderry~Doire continues to lead the way Leg 6’s Seattle Pacific Challenge of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from Qingdao, China to Seattle, USA.

Derrylondonderrydoire Leads The Fleet In Race To Seattle 1

(Photo: Unicef / Clipper Round the World Yacht Race)

Unicef is following just 87-nautical-miles behind the leader. ClipperTelemed+ is in third. With just under 1700nm left to the finish line, the following fleet remains optimistic.

“This will keep us focused to the end. We are all looking at each other and trying to always take every little advantage,” says LMAX Exchange Skipper Oliver Cardin.

The storm that was forecast to reach the fleet in the last 24 hours proved not to be as ferocious as had been expected. Despite the teams all racing with conservative sail plans due to the anticipated strong winds and sea state, high speeds and distances were recorded.

Seventh placed Mission Performance has covered 137nm in the last twelve hours, the greatest of any of the teams, with Skipper Greg Miller recording their highest speed so far this leg, 23 knots under the heavyweight spinnaker.

Derrylondonderrydoire Leads The Fleet In Race To Seattle 3

(Photo: Mission Performance / Clipper Round the World Yacht Race)

For Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith, it has been a tense 24 hours as his crew work to maintain the lead which would result in a third consecutive victory.

“Flatter water has meant that we have managed to carry our heavyweight spinnaker at times throughout the day and for a while during the night,” says Smith. “This has meant good speeds, sometimes pulling away from the fleet. Unfortunately at other times, despite still having good speeds, they have been managing to catch us. We are putting this down to different bands of wind causing different groups to travel at slightly different speeds.”

“For now the wind is building and coming forward which fits with the forecast of the second front approaching. This front is expected to be windier so we are preparing for a night under reduced white sails until it blows through. Hopefully it'll be fast but not too full on.”

Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell says: “Looks like that front is right over pretty much all of the fleet now. They could be experiencing gusts of up to 60-70 knots, but once they go through and the wind veers northwest the gusts should ease off significantly.”

Derrylondonderrydoire Leads The Fleet In Race To Seattle 4

(Photo: Heath Holden)

Further back the fleet, a game of cat and mouse is going on between PSP Logistics and Visit Seattle for ninth place, which are remarkably close after 3000nm of racing.

The Clipper fleet is set to arrive in Seattle beginning April 18. Crews will then embark on Leg 7 of the race to New York.