143. They Are The Champions!

I had planned to tell you about Race 15 before it finished but life got in the way. The fleet set off from Derry last Sunday, 24th July, and I flew back to England via Stansted on a small plane, very exciting. I saw a wind farm in the sea close to the Isle of Man and was grateful the fleet weren’t trying to negotiate that. It’s today’s header but you might think it’s just a cloud in the sky, look very carefully!

My plane

They had to get through Pentland Firth between the top of Scotland and the Orkneys, which has a pretty strong tide. If you get the timing right then the tide works for you. If you’re too late then you’re struggling against it. If you followed the race on Race Viewer you’d have seen that the first four boats did well but others didn’t get there on time and lost hours. In addition, poor IYK got tangled up in fishing nets as they left Ireland and never recovered. They retired on Thursday afternoon so that they could motor to London and get there in time for the celebrations on Saturday afternoon.


The fleet were meant to be racing until sometime on Friday to the finish line off Southend, but as the weather conditions were not favourable (not enough wind) the race was curtailed at 0100 on Friday. The new finish line had the co-ordinates 52.40N 02.10E which is off the coast of Norfolk /Suffolk. No boat would make it that far but they all had to take a photo of the navigation station to show their position at 0100 and then the distances were calculated by Clipper. I don’t think any supporter got to bed last night, waiting for the finish. We then had to wait until around 8.30 this morning to have it officially announced by Clipper. If this reads a bit disjointed, blame lack of sleep. I’d never survive the watch system on the boats (four hours on, four hours off, repeat then six on six off. With a full day Mother Watch cooking for around 20 crew and cleaning thrown in once a week or so).

Qingdao leaving Derry

Two photos of our boats setting off from Derry. I’m not sure how WTC managed to get a first place pennant for the Zhuhai to Qingdao race, I’m sure that one didn’t happen in this time line.

Unicef leaving Derry

Results for Race 15: Unicef first, bringing home that all important missing yellow pennant. Second WTC, third Qingdao, fourth PdE, fifth GTB, sixth Sanya, seventh Zhuhai, eighth Seattle, ninth DTL, tenth HLB and last IYK, as mentioned above.


Results for the Clipper 2019-20 Round-the-World Yacht Race: First Qingdao with 145 points, second PdE with 135 points, third HLB with 127, fourth WTC with 121, fifth Unicef with 117, sixth Sanya with 107, seventh GTB with 104, eighth IYK with 79, ninth Zhuhai with 74, tenth Seattle with 65 and eleventh DTL with 64. Just in case I’ve made any unforced errors in the numbers, I’ve given you the links. If only WTC had come in nearer the end Unicef would have been fourth overall. Never mind, we got to be on every part of the podium.


So, both of OBB done good. Photos to follow after the prize giving tomorrow but here’s a taster, on Unicef in Derry setting off for the Parade of Light. I got to sail on a Clipper yacht!

Ready to sail