The eleven teams competing in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, including Visit Seattle, have arrived into Sanya, China as part of their 40,000 nautical mile, eleven-month circumnavigation.
Visit Seattle finished sixth after sailing for 23 days, 16 hours and 38 minutes but also picked up the maximum three Scoring Gate bonus points, giving them ten points for the race and cementing their position in the top three overall with still their Joker Card — where the team gets to double their points for a stage — to play.
The Visit Seattle team, featuring the youngest ever Clipper Race Skipper, Nikki Henderson (24), have already won one stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race from Hobart into the Whitsundays and are hoping to build on recent successes for future races.
The latest race (officially named as “The Forever Tropical Paradise Race) from the Whitsundays, Australia, on January 29, 2018, has been a particularly exhausting stage, sailing in extreme heat and covering 4,293nm.
The team started the stage well, scoring three bonus points for being the first team to the Scoring Gate but it sacrificed position in doing so being in seventh place for most of the race but then overtaking another team in the final few days to finish sixth. The crew have shown remarkable determination in making up the miles and consistently outperformed the other teams in the latter stages of the race.
The latest stage has featured an equator crossing and a mixture of fast, downwind surfs as well as frustrating wind holes that have slowed progress. Throughout it all, tremendous teamwork has been on display to keep up morale and get the boat moving as shown by one of Nikki’s Skipper blogs.
The team was awarded a pennant for being the first team to reach the Scoring Gate at a spectacular Prize Giving ceremony in Sanya and are now preparing for the next race to Qingdao which begins on March 4.
After Qingdao, the teams will face the mighty Pacific Ocean and will be aiming to arrive into Seattle between 14 – 19 April 2018.
Here’s a log entry from Nikki during the race:
“Another sprint – aka another driftathon. We have just started edging forwards after 12 hours in a hole. Just what we needed whilst sitting at the back of the pack. Our internet has been down for the last day so we have no idea where the rest of the fleet are – hoping they have been going as slow as us. Definitely feeling ready to get there now. If only I had someone to ask “are we nearly there yet” – trials and tribulations of being the Skipper.
To avoid wind hole syndrome this time round (feels like we have had a fair few of these this Leg), I helped out in the Galley today. Big thanks to my friend, Nat, for the recipe – to use up our excess of nearly bad eggs I made a jam roly-poly. Well it tasted like one at least… you had to close your eyes and imagine how it should have looked. The crew were slightly surprised that I even knew how to turn the oven on I think. Note to self – don’t make cakes taste too good or they will want you to cook more regularly! It was actually really nice to do something that wasn’t sailing for a change and feel like a real person. I forgot how immersed you are in the goings on of the boat when cooking – it truly is the heart of the ship (at least on Visit Seattle anyway)!
Phil Whittaker, Lizzie Howe, expert (First Mate) Nqoba and apprentices Bronwyn McAllister and Toni Wilson, have been hard at work on Ariel (our mediumweight spinnaker) now for almost 48 hours and it is nearly ready to fly again. Lizzie actually stayed up all night last night … that’s commitment for you. Honestly, the dedication, hard work, and attention to detail from these guys all to get the Code 2 flying again has been exceptional. And hats off to the whole team, who have stepped in to fill their duties: cleaning, cooking, sailing, which with an already pretty shorthanded crew has been a lot of work. I haven’t heard a bad work spoken about anyone in three weeks … and particularly with this struggle at the end – wind hole, ripped kite, steamy conditions – that is truly a sign of a great bunch of people and an even better team. Thank you!
Sailing with style – Nik”
Report courtesy of Clipper Round the World Race