Conditions hard work, as Clipper fleet approach the first scoring gate

Increasing winds combined with a tough sea state are testing the Clipper Round the World fleet as they head towards the first scoring gate of leg-five.

As they battle
upwind in to 30 knots of apparent wind, teams have been reefing and peeling
down to their heavy air headsails. “The increasing wind has seen us go from
Yankee one, to Yankee two, to Yankee three,” says Ben Bowley.

“Life below deck
has also become a little harder to deal with, the increased sea state has
necessitated the closing of all hatches, which has made it very sweaty, and is
allowing for moments of weightlessness in one’s bunk, neither of which are
conducive to getting much sleep,” the Singapore skipper continued.

Once again the
crew of Gold
Coast Australia
themselves out in front, although skipper Richard Hewson is taking nothing for
granted at this stage of the race.

“This is the
first race of the series that is almost entirely upwind and with the renowned
conditions of the Pacific and Yellow Sea Gold Coast Australia has adopted an entirely new ethos of how we
are sailing the boat. This race is about endurance and survival the only
way we are going to win is to first of all finish the race.”

With the
leg-five finish in their homeport, Chinese entry Qingdao will want to pick up the pace, as they currently lie
in ninth place. However, it’s proving hard work getting past the competition.
“As we continue our beat northeast I am reminded of an old saying; Gentleman
only sail downwind,” says Qingdao’s skipper, Ian Conchie.

“There is good
reason for this as it is hard physical work weathering a boat to windward. This
morning finds us under Yankee two with two reefs in the mainsail and a bumpy
confused sea with three metre waves. Try as hard as we may we cannot seem
to make a dent in the gap to the boats ahead of us but we will keep pushing,”
he opined.

Yachting World’s
Jonathon Medway will be joining the Clipper Round the World Race on board Qingdao for leg-six; Qingdao to San Francisco. Starting
in March, keep up-to-date with the onboard action, as regular blogs are posted
here at You
can also follow the race by heading to Clipper’s Race Viewer at