Clipper yachts emerging from stealth mode with little among the leading pack

After 25 days and approximately 5,000 nautical miles, amazingly there is little separating the top teams in the final stages of the race across the mighty North Pacific Ocean to Seattle.

Sanya Serenity Coast and Unicef both emerged from 48 hours of Stealth Mode with just 26 nautical miles between them. Whilst the results of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint won't be known until the final team has finished, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck thinks Unicef is more likely to have picked up crucial bonus points, saying: “Here we are again back out of Stealth Mode. I don't like our chances for the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, I think those behind will have better winds. It also looks like maybe Unicef choose to bear off and ran with it to use a kite and go for speed, so we are not holding our breath over this one.”

Qingdao is due to come out of Stealth Mode at 1200 UTC today and whilst Skipper Chris Kobusch wasn't giving much away about his team's position and progress, he does admit it is shaping up to be a close finish.

“We reached the eastern end of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint this morning and are now heading straight for the finish line,” he says.

Sanya Serenity Coast and Unicef came out of Stealth Mode six hours ago, and it was interesting to see where they were in relation to us. We are still in Stealth Mode, so I don't want to give away too much. But it will be a close race to the finish, especially with the light wind forecast right in front of the finish line, which might bring the majority of the fleet back together and shuffle up the current positions.”​

The light winds are due to arrive on Thursday, with the small ridge along the coast to possibly make life difficult for teams close to the finish line. However, it's a different story for the boats to the west. Though the east moving system will create a light and shifty patch on Wednesday, a solid south-south-westerly/south-westerly will drive them home to the finish line.

 
Clipper Race

Currently all is well for the westerly teams, with the front passing over quickly and leaving them to get on with the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. Nasdaq Skipper Rob Graham reports: “Nasdaq began our Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint this afternoon in potentially fast conditions. The weather front we had been expecting passed over without bringing any problems or serious squalls, and once it was gone we were able to get the kite back up and crack on. It's hard work, but everyone is giving it their best.”Whilst the North Pacific Ocean has certainly tested all eleven Clipper Race teams over the past few weeks, it has also definitely impressed with its beauty. Not only did GREAT Britain receive a visit from three humpback whales, the HotelPlanner.com crew also turned wildlife watchers as Skipper Conall Morrison explains: “As I was at the helm, I saw a big whale breech the surface a couple of times only a few boat lengths from our hull. It was very sleek and black and had only a little fin on its back, not sure what species it is at all. This whale then followed us at a distance of 100-200m for about an hour.”

To follow the fleet's progress to the finish and Seattle, keep an eye on the Clipper Race Viewer. You can also read the Skipper Blogs in full in the Team Pages section of the website or find out the latest from the crew in the Crew Diaries.

The latest Estimated Arrival Times into Seattle can also be found on the Clipper Race Website. The fleet was originally expected to finish the 5,600nm Race 9: The Race to the Emerald City from Qingdao to Seattle and arrive into Bell Harbor Marina between Saturday 14 and Thursday 19 of April, but conditions in the early part of the race means the boats are now expected between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 April.

 
 
 
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