The Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge has thrown up plenty of tests for the Clipper Race fleet over the last five days and now with eight teams having arrived into port, the podium has some new faces as all the teams share in the glory of Visit Seattle’s first win of the series and PSP Logistics’ first podium finish.
Visit Seattle achieved its first overall race win and second podium of the series when it crossed the Race 13 finish line off Den Helder, The Netherlands at 0016UTC/0216 local time Friday.
Claiming its first podium of the 14-race series, PSP Logistics crossed the Race 13 finish line in second place at 0117 UTC/0317 local time following the race from Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
And Da Nang – Viet Nam clinched the third podium spot, crossing the finish line at 0217 UTC, its second podium of the 14-race series which concludes in London on 30 July.
Following regular major shakeups throughout the fleet since the race began last Sunday due to strong tidal gates around Scotland and patchy, shifty wind, Visit Seattle had managed to hold onto the lead for the last two days.
Upon finishing, Skipper Huw Fernie said: “It was a great race. We’ve had a little bit of everything out here during this sprint of a race and we’ve seen many moods from the North Sea. The first tactical decision was getting through the Pentland Firth in a favourable tide. We focused on efficiency and made good use of our Yankee 1. As we approached the Pentland Firth I really didn’t think we would make it back to the front runners.
‘We came through that in fourth, then it was a case of working the tides down the coast. You could tell the boats that had the local knowledge, and even though I have done that trip several times, I didn’t think we would catch up with ClipperTelemed+.
“It then took about two days to work our way into first position, and then we held that. We knew this was going to be a tough one with the changeable forecast, and that any lead we had was liable to change – especially towards the end. It never felt like we had it in the bag.
“It was very stressful and tiring. We have led other races before and we have never let it stick so that was in my head a bit.
“We are good in short races. We kept the focus and the overall the race win has what we have been working for since the start.
“It was my team’s drive and input that got us to where we are and I am immensely proud. As always, it’s been fun,” Huw added.
PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell’s team lies twelfth at the bottom of the overall rankings, so the result was a welcome surprise for the team. Upon arrival, he said: ‘I am still speechless. That was a lot of hard work and I am very proud of the crew. There was a lot of pushing and not a lot of sleep.
‘We were very lucky at Pentland Firth as we were trailing the fleet after a kitemare. When we came round the corner at Pentland Firth the fleet as parked up in the extreme tidal conditions, and we sailed past.
‘Our 40,000 nautical miles of luck came all in one go. I knew the crew had it within them, and we have always set out to get a podium. Unfortunately it has happened this late in the race, and we have a taste for it now. However, it is a really nice way to finish the series and great to go out on a high. It’s been a long time coming but we never gave up and I’m so proud of them all. Bring on the next race,’ Max added.
Da Nang – Viet Nam Skipper Wendy Tuck said her team’s race had a bit of everything.
“This short racing sure keeps you on your toes. I’m really happy with our result and the crew worked hard to get us here and finish in third position. Well done to Visit Seattle on its win and extra well done to PSP Logistics on its first podium, we are really happy for you guys.’
Overall race leader LMAX Exchange finished in fifth place, one spot behind rival Derry~Londonderry~Doire in fourth, which is in second on the overall leaderboard. The result means that the gap between LMAX Exchange and Derry~Londonderry~Doire is now down to six points with one race remaining.
And for Garmin, chasing the third overall podium spot behind GREAT Britain, its seventh place result as opposed to GREAT Britain’s sixth today makes it all the more difficult for it to make it onto the podium when the series concludes in London on 30 July.
Still racing, Mission Performance, Qingdao, ClipperTelemed+ and IchorCoal are facing a frustrating time on approach to the finish line. With only 10 nautical miles remaining as of 1100 UTC, Mission Performance is expected to claim ninth place and is due to arrive into Willemsoord marina between 1400 – 1600 UTC. To stay up to date with the latest ETAs, click here.
Currently in twelfth place, IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould says everyone is doing their best not to let the conditions get to them as they edge ever closer to Den Helder.
“North sea and no wind. The last twelve hours have been slow, very slow indeed. In fact I would like to be able to say that we are going slowly right now, but we are not, our ground speed currently reads 0.0 knots so we are not going at all.
“The slow, or no progress is made a little bit more painful by the proximity of the finish line. The light weather has allowed us to get on with a few running maintenance tasks and get going on some cleaning and polishing on deck to get the boat looking good for our arrival in St Katharine Docks in less than two weeks’ time”, Rich added.
There is a range of activities planned for the fleet’s stay in Den Helder, including a Summer Carnival and Nautical Festival. For more information on some of the events happening, such as live music, DJs and a food truck festival, click here.
If you are inspired by our courageous crew and feel like an adventure of your own, speak to our recruitment team about joining the 2017-18 race.Click here for more information.
The final test of nerves, Race 14 – Den Helder to London, UK, starts from The Netherlands next Thursday.
The final leaderboard prizes will be awarded at a prize-giving ceremony in London at St Katharine Docks on 30 July following a Parade of Sail up the River Thames.
by Clipper Ventures