Spinnakers out as Clipper fleet heads to La Rochelle

Following a truly magnificent send off from Hull and Humber yesterday, the ten teams competing in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race are making excellent progress on the first leg of their 35-000 mile circumnavigation. The fleet benefited from the forecasted northerly airflow which, along with the ebb tide, pushed the Clipper yachts quickly out of the Humber and into the North Sea.

Reporting from on board Cape Breton Island yesterday, crew member John Wraw, said, “It has been a real needle race up the Humber with Cork just holding the lead over Team Finland. We have jostled with Edinburgh Inspiring Capital for third all the way out past Spurn Point, the gateway to the North Sea.”

The northerly winds continued to build over night and most of the yachts have been moving south at speeds in excess of 10 knots.

Team Finland has taken an early lead having opted for a more direct inshore route, whilst the other nine boats have chosen to stay offshore to avoid the worst of the tidal conditions around the Thames Estuary.

Eero Lehtinen, skipper of Team Finland, said, “It has been a good first night, even if we are slightly frustrated about the wind going up and down. We have played it safe and kept our spinnakers in the bags while avoiding sand banks, wind farms, gas rigs, ships, Clipper yachts (something about those Irish, we always end up neck to neck with them!).

“As a skipper I am being made redundant already, I haven't been let near the wheel since driving through the lock in Albert Dock basin. Watch leaders Emil Vartiainen and Minke Docter are running the show, while Mark Cole had a perfect plan to get us out of the River Humber.”

Most of the skippers opted for a conservative sail plan overnight to allow the crew to settle into the watch systems before starting to ramp up the power as daylight arrived.

Skipper of Hull & Humber, Piers Dudin, said, “We are currently scooshing down wind under full main and poled out Yankee. It was a fast night round Norfolk and we are now heading across the Thames Estuary; we should be past Dover by lunch time. The tide will be against us round the corner of Kent and with the wind building behind us it should be a nice little sleigh ride!

“We've also settled into our routine nicely, the watch system is rolling along and the team is getting some good rest before the spinnaker session kicks in.

“Finally, we all want to say how blown away we were by the send off we received. Shame we weren't leading the fleet down the river but it has given us a nice list of boats to tick off as we over take them!”

POSITIONS AT 0600 GMT, 14 SEPTEMBER

BOAT LATITUDE LONGITUDE DISTANCE TO FINISH
Team Finland 51.42.50N 1.37.04E 560nm
Hull & Humber 51.42.53N 1.51.46E 563nm
Cork 51.40.38N 2.02.02E 564nm
Qingdao 51.43.46N 1.59.18E 566nm
Spirit of Australia 51.44.41N 2.03.10E 568nm
Cape Breton Island 51.44.19N 2.04.36E 568nm
Jamaica Lightning Bolt 51.46.31N 2.00.45E 568nm
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 51.48.20N 2.01.48E 570nm
Uniquely Singapore 51.50.13N 2.00.26E 572nm
California 51.50.28N 2.18.02E 578nm

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