Back in Post 18, as long ago as March, I tried to explain the rules to you and probably caused great confusion. Now that we’re off, let me do it again with results. If you want more technical details, the Clipper website has Course Instructions for each race which gives reasons for infringements (things they must not do), exact start and finish, times and positions etc. I don’t know if it’s there throughout the year for all the races or gets taken down once a race has finished. The photos here are from my phone as I forgot the connector for the SD card to my computer. Better ones later I hope. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/course-instructions
Race 1 set off from Southend, Essex, UK at 10.00 on Monday 2nd September 2019. The race went to Portimao on the Algarve in Portugal. The arrival window was estimated to be 8th to 10th September, that is the time between the fastest and slowest was possibly up to two days. Every team has one Joker that they can play once in the whole year and it will double their points. The first team to finish the race gets 11 points, the next 10, down to the last boat in getting 1 point. You can see that they’ll play the Joker when they think they have a good chance of winning. No one played their Joker this time, not surprisingly as they’re still learning about the boat and each other.
To add more excitement to what is an already exciting event, there are two other possibilities to score points. The first is the Scoring Gate, an imaginary line in the ocean through which they may pass. The first three (and only the first three) collect three, two and one point respectively. It means a diversion from the straight route they should be taking to come in first at the end of the race so is often used either by boats lagging a bit behind wanting to pick up three extra points or by the leaders if they are so far ahead they think they can do this and still come in on the podium (1st, 2nd or 3rd).
The very first Scoring Gate was into the Bay of Biscay on 5th September and caused a great deal of angst for us Watchers. If you go onto Race Viewer (assuming this is before the next race starts on 15th September) you can replay the course the yachts took by pressing the back button (an arrow going anticlockwise) just below the map. This shows Zhuhai, lying in 6th, be the first to make a break for it. We then see quite a few of the others, including Unicef and Qingdao, do the same before Unicef turns back on course. This could be because they realised they were not going to be in the first three, or because they wanted to steal a march on the rest of the fleet by getting a greater lead. This proved to be the correct decision as they went into the lead with a good margin. Those of us addicts watching the Scoring Gate saw Qingdao (George) go for it but it looked as though they had missed it and scored nul points and also lost their place in the main race. Thankfully, the Race Viewer is not accurate enough to allow exact positioning and they were first through. The Skipper has to record the time and email it to the Clipper Office and also take a photo of their GPS which can be checked at the next port if there’s a dispute.
The very first points of the race to Qingdao!! Three points in the lead!
The next excitement is the Ocean Sprint. This is (again) two imaginary lines in the ocean, for Race 1 roughly from Finisterre in Spain to Coimbra in Portugal (43N to 40N for those who are techies). This is the fastest boat of all eleven so we’re never absolutely sure who wins the three, two or one point until they’re all through. For this race it was Punta del Este in 15 hours, 2 minutes and 26 seconds, then Ha Long Bay in 15 hours, 51 minutes and 54 seconds followed by Zhuhai in 15 hours and 53 minutes. A long sprint! This is all very precise; the skipper takes a photo of their position and time at both ends and sends it to the Clipper office. George says they were four minutes slower than Zhuhai so next time…The first few boats were slower than the ones at the back as the winds changed and improved, so there’s luck as well as skill involved. As we saw at the end of the race.
For much of the last two days it was Qingdao and Unicef at the front with GoToBermuda third and all the other boats a long way behind. Once around the corner towards the Algarve, the wind dropped and the rest of the fleet caught up with them. We waited and waited, their estimated arrival times going back and back from mid afternoon to early evening to late evening. We’d planned to walk to the end of the breakwater and wave them in but not in the dark! Six of us got together and had a meal then went back to one of the apartments and polished off the Cava bought to celebrate a safe arrival of one of the boats. At midnight we decided to call it a night, they could be another 24 hours for all we could tell. About half an hour later Punta del Este was the first boat in with Dare to Lead second and Qingdao third at about half three. Unicef was sixth just after 6 am and GoToBermuda ninth. Seattle came in mid morning and WTC Logistics the last boat at about 3 pm Monday afternoon. I missed Qingdao as I was asleep (as was George, I found out later,waking up for the actual arrival then going back to bed!) and we didn’t get an alert from the Live Facebook page. We were on the dock in time to see Unicef arrive. They had a celebratory beer then moved the boat to the marina mooring they’d been allocated. Each boat has a different regimen. Qingdao left their deep clean for the next day but Unicef did it immediately. Thus I was able to have lunch with George but John wasn’t free until after two o’clock, by which time he was falling asleep on his feet. He did shave the beard off though!
Enough verbiage, what are the results? In first we have Punta del Este with a total of 14 points (eleven from winning the race plus three for the Ocean Sprint), second Qingdao (ten points plus three for the Scoring Gate), joint third Dare to Lead and Zhuhai with ten points, fifth Sanya with nine, joint sixth Unicef and Ha Long Bay with six, eighth Imagine Your Korea with three, ninth GoToBermuda with three, tenth Seattle with two and last WTC Logistics with one. All can change though in the next race to Punta del Este in Uruguay!