Precautionary action causes the ten yachts to motor in convoy

All ten yachts of the Clipper 11-12 Race are now motoring
towards their next port for refueling before the next part of Race 7. The
decision to allow the yachts to motor in this ‘cruise’ phase was taken by the
Clipper Race Committee after piracy concerns.

Race Director Joff Bailey says, “As a precautionary
measure, we have decided to extend the ‘cruise’ phase that the fleet is
currently in to allow them to reach a Malaysian port for refuelling. We intend
to refuel all of the yachts over the next few days. We have thought very hard
about this decision and firmly believe that it is in the best interest of all

“It means the boats that were due to resume racing
this evening will now not do so as they will continue to motor to the
refuelling port to top up their tanks. We are currently looking at when to ask
the teams to restart and this is unlikely to be until Thursday as the first of
them will not finish re-fuelling until late tomorrow local time,” adds

The Clipper yachts are cruising through the Celebes and
Sulu Seas in 4 groups for security and this has given the crews the opportunity
to barter with each other for much valued treats onboard.

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital has
now caught up with Visit Finland and Welcome
to Yorkshire
who had been waiting for them in order
to travel in company.

“At 0600 UTC we met up with the other two yachts and
after exchanging pleasantries we have continued in convoy towards the Basilan
Strait,” reports Gordon Reid, skipper of the Scottish team. “It is
great to see the familiar friendly faces of our fellow ocean racers and
exchange lively banter and possibly do a bit of bartering for goodies when we
raft up together.”

Cruising together further ahead of them are New York and De Lage Landen. Ahead of them are
the second out of the four groups, consisting of Singapore, Qingdao and Geraldton Western

Skipper Ian Conchie from Qingdao says, “Another sunny, windless day in the Sulu Sea but a hive
of activity on board. We have finished our planned maintenance list and
everyone is now keen to get racing. The question now is when to start? Is it
better to watch the clock count down and start at the last possible minute or
as soon as possible which will get the best wind? We are busy going over the
weather forecasts and looking through the books trying to work out what the
best plan is,” he explains.

Cruising at the front of the fleet of ten racing yachts are
Gold Coast Australia, the first team to reach
the end of the first part of Race 7 and Derry-Londonderry who were a close second.

Boiling away in temperatures up to 40C over the last 24
hours, the crew of the Australian entry has been preparing for the race
re-start in lighter wind conditions.

“The forecast for the next week is looking very light
and so we are trying to mentally prepare ourselves for some light wind sailing
in hot weather,” explains Richard Hewson, the skipper. “Lots of work
has been done to the boat over the past few days, so we are ready to go, all we
need is wind!”

“Today is the hottest we have experienced on the Sulu
Sea,” concurs Mark Light on board Northern Ireland entry, Derry-Londonderry. “Very clear skies, little cloud and not a breath of wind -
thank goodness we are motoring across otherwise we would have been stuck here
for days on end.

The first yachts are expected to arrive in Batam early next
week. They will gather there before transiting the busy Singapore Straits and
arriving on 28 January in the Marina at Keppel Bay. 

Gate crossing times. All times are UTC:

Gate crossing times. All times are UTC:

1 Gold Coast Australia              2154.59 13 January 2012
2 Derry-Londonderry                2314.00 13 January 2012

3 Geraldton Western Australia   0229.40 14 January 2012
4 Qingdao                                0313.25 14 January 2012

5 Singapore                             0325.31 14 January 2012
6 De Lage Landen                    0936.29 14 January 2012

7 New York                              1224.02 14 January 2012
8 Visit Finland                          2022.00 14 January 2012

9 Welcome to Yorkshire            0322.20 15 January 2012
10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital   1551.06 16 January 2012

For more information visit the Clipper website.

Photos courtesy: onEdition