Updates, Updates, Updates!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here in the Clipper world. With only 25 days remaining until the race starts, all of the outstanding details are starting to fall into place. Over the last couple of months Clipper have been releasing information on the route, the teams, and the sponsors as it’s been finalised. We’ve been teased with a new titbit every couple of weeks or so. Last two weeks have been different, it’s been like Christmas, with something new announced almost every day, and there have been some big packages to open.

The biggest package was the confirmation of the stopovers for Australia (which is Leg 4). There had been much speculation over the previous 6 months, since it was announced that New Zealand wouldn’t be included. On Monday it was confirmed that the overall race would include the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race (RSHS). The RSHS is one of the iconic sporting events in Australia, let alone sailing. Spectator numbers reach 500,000 around the harbour and the same again on television. The atmosphere is electric, being out in the middle of it will be an experience to remember. This has to have been one of the most popular announcements of the race.

This means that we will be in Sydney for Christmas, which will be nice for the Australian crew to spend with friends and family. Having sailed around the south of Australia from Albany in WA, the fleet will spend two weeks in Sydney while the yachts are given a thorough check at around the halfway point of the journey. We’ll be based at the CYCA in Rushcutters Bay, if you’re around come down for a visit. After arriving in Hobart, there will only be time for a small break before leaving for Brisbane on New Year’s Eve. From there is off north to Singapore and onto Qingdao in China. A full update of the race route and dates is below.

In addition to the Australian information, the stop in Mexico has been replaced with a visit to Jamaica instead. This is more direct route and also personally a more appealing place to visit, having never been before. A stop has also been confirmed in Derry/Londonderry, in Northern Ireland. The welcome there from the locals, last race is the stuff of legend. This really leaves on the Netherlands stop, the last one before we return to London, as the only one outstanding. A couple are yet to have the exact marina confirmed.

Along with the route the other large piece of outstanding information is the sponsors of the boats. These are quite important as they are strongly tied to the identity of the yacht and the team sailing them. Having a sponsor that you can identify with can make a large difference to the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the crew. At crew allocation, 3 months ago, there was only one sponsor, OneDLL. Since then another six have been announced. They are Qingdao, Switzerland, Jamaica, Derry-Londonderry, GREAT Britain, and Old Pulteney Distillery. All but the last sponsor have been allocated to a crew/yacht. This currently leaves five team/yachts without a sponsor. Hopefully we’ll find out soon who we are….

The current route:

Leg 1 – Race 1 – London, UK to Brest, France – 01 September to 4 September
Leg 1 – Race 2 – Brest, France to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 09 September to 3 October
Leg 2 – Race 3 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Cape Town, South Africa – 11 October to 27 October
Leg 3 – Race 4 – Cape Town, South Africa to Albany, Australia – 4 November to 26 November
Leg 4 – Race 5 – Albany, Australia to Sydney, Australia – 3 December to 13 December
Leg 4 – Race 6 – Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Australia – 26 December to 29 December
Leg 4 – Race 7 – Hobart, Australia to Brisbane, Australia – 31 December to 7 January
Leg 5 – Race 8 – Brisbane, Australia to Singapore, Singapore – 11 January to 8 February
Leg 5 – Race 9 – Singapore, Singapore to Qingdao, China – 15 February to 3 March
Leg 6 – Race 10 – Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA – 13 March to 8 April
Leg 7 – Race 11 – San Francisco, USA to Panama – 18 April to 9 May
Leg 7 – Race 12 – Panama to Jamaica – 14 May to 16 May
Leg 7 – Race 13 – Jamaica to New York, USA – 24 May to 1 June
Leg 8 – Race 14 – New York, USA to Derry/Londonderry, UK – 7 June to 22 June
Leg 8 – Race 15 – Derry/ Londonderry, UK to Netherlands – 29 June to 2 July
Leg 8 – Race 16 – Netherlands to London, UK – 10 July to 12 July

*As they say sailing yachts have destinations not arrival times, all the arrival dates above in the middle of the expected arrival window. The windows range from 2 days on the shorter races, up to 5 days on the longer ones.