LMAX Exchange has claimed victory in the third stage of the tenth edition Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race after it crossed the finish line first in Albany, Western Australia at 2143 UTC November 22, (0543 local time, November 23).
The win on the 4,845 nautical mile Southern Ocean Race 3 from Cape Town is the team’s second victory of the global series, and it is currently third in the overall leaderboard. The team led the race since day two, and also secured the extra maximum three Scoring Gate points available by crossing the virtual gate first on day 10 of its 22 day, 8 hour, 8 minute long race.
LMAX Exchange’s French skipper Olivier Cardin will be awarded the Wardan Whip trophy by Host Port, the City of Albany at a prizegiving event on 26 November.
Olivier said: “There was a lot of different conditions ranging between the low and high pressure systems and the anticyclone at the end. The first day we had a big storm and managed to weather it well by being in an easterly position in the fleet, and took the lead at this point. We all expected storms and big waves, and it was always wet on deck and down below, but it was not as extreme as we thought it would be, so we were always able to push the boat hard.
“We are a very tough team and we know we can take the lead quickly and hold onto it. We are always motivated when we see the schedules and know we have to push harder if others are gaining miles on us, and that keeps us going. We pushed pretty hard and others behind pushed too.
“The team always responds to whatever conditions are thrown at us, and are able to change the sails quickly, which makes it a lot easier for me tactically. ” he added.
Crew member Gabrielle Barthelemy, from France, competing on the Southern Ocean Leg 3 and the All Australian Leg 4, added: “I am very happy to arrive into Australia, but it was an incredible experience to cross the Southern Ocean and see Mother Nature at her most raw.
“The first storm was very hard, but I adapted well to the conditions after that, and learnt a lot. I feel very competent now ahead of the next leg and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.”
The team finished strongly, approximately 130 miles ahead of its nearest competitors, Qingdao and Derry~Londonderry~Doire, in second and third place still at sea. The race saw a mixture of conditions, with a storm giving the fleet a battering in the first 36 hours, and then regular fronts bringing gusts of up to 80 knots and big, confused seas, as well as periods of lighter winds.
LMAX Exchange made good tactical choices early on, weathering the first storm well and taking an early lead to be at the front from start to finish.
The CEO of Team Sponsor LMAX Exchange, the UK’s leading financial technology firm, David Mercer, sent a message of congratulations to his team as he said: “We are immensely proud of Olivier and his team for sailing an immaculate leg to Albany, Western Australia. They have set the bar high and have earned some well-deserved down time in Australia, but knowing the crew I am sure in a few days their focus will be firmly set on improving further en route to Sydney in the next race.”
The team will now enjoy the stopover in host port Albany, where various public and crew events are planned, including aerial displays, try sailing events, rugby and rowing challenges and farmers’ markets.
UPDATE: Podium places decided
LMAX Exchange finished at 2143UTC on November 22, Derry~Londonderry~Doire at 0932 UTC on November 23, and Qingdao three hours later the same day at 1226 UTC.
The race was a typical Southern Ocean leg, with the fleet enduring a storm as it left Table Bay and taking a battering. The choices made in those first 36 hours shaped the race for a lot of the teams, with the top three yachts enduring it well and keeping up a lot of sail during the storm. They eventually had a lead of 1000 miles on the backmarkers.
All the boats reported boat-breaking conditions with gusts of 70-80 knots on several occasions, extremely confused seas and waves of 8-10 metres during the race.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith said: “We had a real mix of weather, absolutely everything from being becalmed and having to work really hard to keep the boat moving, to way more wind than we wanted at times, so exciting sailing but frustrating sailing too.
“We had big winds and waves, some good speeds and lots of surfing. We had been ahead of Qingdao, but there was a big area of light wind coming into Albany, so there were big tactical decisions the last few days about which way to go to try and pass that area of low wind, and it was very frustrating. We weren’t sure about our position coming out of it, so we worked very hard to make sure our position was good. I am very proud of the team, they have worked very hard, especially the last few days – we could have easily ended up in third place.”
Mark Light, Deputy Race Director, added: “These teams have consistently shown they are good racers over the three legs so far, and get the weather and tactics right. They are clearly working well as a team. Every day they gained miles on the rest of the fleet during Race 3, and these performances puts them in a very good position for the rest of the series.”
The winner, LMAX Exchange, will be awarded the Wardan Whip trophy by Host Port, the City of Albany, and the other two teams pennants at a prizegiving event on 26 November.
The nine remaining teams are expected into Albany over the next five days, with yachts at the back of the fleet suffering in very light winds.
Race 4: The Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup from Albany to Sydney will start on Tuesday December 1. British watch company Elliot Brown is the Official Timekeeper for the Clipper 2015-16 Race.
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 1000 special edition Clipper Race crew member watches which are available to pre-order today.
You can track the progress of the rest of the fleet via the Clipper Race Viewer at www.clipperroundtheworld.com/raceviewer