RACE 4: CAPE TOWN TO GERALDTON
* Gold Coast Australia lead the pack at the start of Race 4
* Skippers predict a tough race through the Southern Ocean
* Fleet heads for Cape of Good Hope
After a week enjoying all Cape Town has to offer, the ten teams taking
part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race have set off on
Race 4 of the 15-race series. At 40,000 miles, Clipper 11-12 is the
world's longest ocean race and in this next stage the non-professional
sailors will round the Cape of Good Hope and face the might of the
Southern Ocean before arriving in the City of Geraldton, Western
Australia, at the end of their 4,800-mile journey.
Race 4 started under cloudless blue skies and a brisk south easterly
breeze of 15 to 20 knots, typical of a Cape Town early afternoon. It
made for a lively start for the stripped down 68-foot yachts as they
crossed the start line and tacked upwind to the first mark in Table Bay.
Gold Coast Australia was first to cross the line, marked at one end by
the South African Navy mine hunter, SAN Umzimkulu. The yachts were
packed tightly together and Derry-Londonderry was just behind the
overall race leader with Geraldton Western Australia and Welcome to
Yorkshire also crossing on a starboard tack. Singapore approached the
line from the eastern end and turned across in fifth place while over at
the western end, De Lage Landen, Qingdao and New York were followed by
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Visit Finland.
As Gold Coast Australia rounded the Royal Cape Yacht Club's Paarden
Island turning mark, just 100 metres off the shore, the team hoisted
their medium weight spinnaker, while Singapore, who'd tacked their way
up the course into second place and also looked set for a hoist, veered
off the line and lost some ground to Geraldton Western Australia and
Welcome to Yorkshire.
The teams have opted to head away from the shore to avoid the wind
shadow created by Table Mountain which frames the Cape Town skyline will
allow them to keep some good breeze as they head for the Cape of Good
Hope this evening and the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
collide. Half have opted to go north around the back of Robben Island
while the other half have stayed to the south.
Tasmanian yachtsman Richard Hewson is in charge of the team which
currently tops the Clipper 11-12 leader board having scored three wins
in three races. Preparing to leave Cape Town the Gold Coast Australia
skipper said, "We've got the usual pre-race jitters I suppose;
everyone's a bit nervous about what's to come but we're all well rested.
Luckily we didn't need to do much maintenance to the boat after the race
from Rio to here, so that allowed us to give the crew lots of time off.
"It's going to be quite a tough race and I've already briefed the crew
on that. We'll probably see wind and sea stronger than we have before,
so it's going to be tough, but everyone's looking forward to it and
getting to Australia."
South African yachtsman, Juan Coetzer, is the skipper of the other
Australian yacht, Geraldton Western Australia, and has enjoyed being
back in the city in which he worked for a number of years, but now he is
looking forward to the race across the Southern Ocean.
"I'm looking forward to get into the Roaring Forties and seeing the
ocean at its optimum, with good surfing conditions and a nice breeze.
Not too much, though, so we can get the kites up and let the crew have a
really good experience and enjoy the race," he said.
"We're looking forward to seeing the people of Geraldton and swapping
the South African braai for an Aussie barbecue!"
Clipper 11-12 is 'raced by people like you' and those taking part
represent more than 40 nationalities and come from all walks of life.
Their ages range from 18 to 72 and almost half of them had no sailing
experience before signing up to the challenge of a lifetime and
beginning their rigorous pre-race training for the gruelling race.
Logistics specialist and Cape Town resident, Nick Barclay, said, "It's
great to come back home and have some of the pet comforts that we were
used to before but get swiftly forgotten on the race. I've had a few
days of sleep, rest and relaxation - what more could one ask for?"
Nick is a kidney transplant recipient who is part of a relay team of
transplant patients, specialist nurses and surgeons on board Edinburgh
Inspiring Capital. They are aiming to raise the profile of organ
donation by showing the massive difference it can make to a seriously
ill person's life. While he was in Cape Town he was reunited with the
man who gave him a new lease of life when he performed Nick's kidney
transplant six years ago, Professor Delawir Kahn, as well as his
physician, Professor Charles Swanepoel.
The Clipper Race was established 15 years ago by sailing legend Sir
Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail around the globe solo and
non-stop in 1968-9. Clipper 11-12 is the eighth edition of the biennial
race which is contested by a fleet of ten identical stripped down
68-foot ocean racing yachts, each of which is sponsored by a global
destination or organisation.
Sir Robin's aim is not only to open up ocean racing to anyone but also
to create a global platform for sponsors to profile their destinations
and promote business, tourism and culture, acknowledging the traditional
trade routes serviced over a century ago by the original clipper ships
from which the race takes its name.
A number of sponsor delegations visited Cape Town during the stopover
the event has created and a significant economic impact, the race
organisers, crews and sponsors spending millions of Rand in the city, as
well as introducing its destination and trade sponsors to Cape Town with
longer term business building potential for local companies.
Sir Robin, who is chairman of the Clipper Race, said, "Our sponsors
raise their profile on the world stage with tangible benefits in
developing trade, promoting tourism, sharing cultural experiences and
involving their respective communities. It creates a powerful legacy."
The fleet is expected to arrive in the City of Geraldton, Western
Australia, between 29 and 31 October. It will be the second time the
city has hosted the event following a hugely popular debut visit in
The first episode of the six-part television documentary series, Against
the Tide, which follows the crews on the last edition of the race,
Clipper 09-10, is due to begin on Discovery World DStv channel 250
across southern Africa on 11 October at 8.05pm.
Positions at 1800 UTC, Wednesday 5 October
Boat DTF* DTL**
1 Geraldton Western Australia 4772nm 0nm
2 Gold Coast Australia 4773nm 2nm
3 Derry-Londonderry 4775nm 3nm
4 New York 4776nm 4nm
5 Qingdao 4777nm 6nm
6 Welcome to Yorkshire 4778nm 6nm
7 Singapore 4778nm 7nm
8 De Lage Landen 4779nm 8nm
9 Visit Finland 4781nm 9nm
10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 4781nm 10nm
*DTF = Distance to Finish **DTL = Distance to Leader