After a two year, Covid dictated wait, the Clipper 2019-20 Race officially restarted off the north coast of Luzon, Philippines.
This race across the mighty North Pacific will see teams encounter an extraordinary challenge, sailing in huge waves and extreme weather systems as they race toward Seattle, USA.
The race originally started in September 2019 and saw teams depart St Katharine Docks, London. They raced over 20,000 nautical miles (nm) stopping in Portimão (Portugal), Punta del Este (Uruguay), Cape Town (South Africa), Fremantle and The Whitsundays (Australia) before racing to Subic Bay (Philippines)
Then the pandemic struck and the fleet remained there stuck in hibernation mode, for two years.
Although the Chinese city partners Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao are still unable to host the Clipper Race due to ongoing restrictions, the respective race teams will be carrying the pride and spirit of each destination for the remainder of the race.
The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind which trains people from all walks of life to become ocean racers. Participants sign up and pay up to compete in one or multiple legs, or even the full eleven-month, 40,000nm circumnavigation.
On this edition, a third of the fare paying crew are female, including several circumnavigators. The Clipper Race was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, and late last year the sailing event celebrated 25 years since its first edition in 1996.
Whilst the teams are formed of non-professional sailors, mother nature still serves up the same extreme conditions that those on the professional circuits experience.
During the first half of the circumnavigation, teams faced a cocktail of contrasting conditions from the heat of the tropics to the freezing cold temperatures of the Southern Ocean, and frustrating wind holes to hurricane strength winds.
The current leg 6 will see teams race across the mighty North Pacific. Known as ‘the big one,’ the yachts will race through tough conditions, huge waves and cold weather as they sail towards Seattle, and are expected to arrive in the US city in mid April 2022.
The fleet will then race down the West Coast of America to Panama, where it will transit the Panama Canal, sail through the Caribbean and up to first time host Port Bermuda.
After some much needed R&R, the eleven ocean racing yachts will head to New York, before racing across the North Atlantic to Londonderry for the city’s Maritime Festival running from 20 July 20 –24 July of which the sailing fleet is the centrepiece.
Then there’s one final sprint, with London’s Royal Docks hosting Race Finish.
The Clipper Race fleet and the fare paying race crews departed Subic Bay, Philippines, on an emotional and electric day, following months of hard work and preparation by all for the restart.
On leaving Subic Bay, the teams spent the past four days making their way up to the start line north of the island of Luzon, ready for a racing start to get the race underway.