As to not confuse you, I will be posting periodic updates of the race, in between my posts about the training that I did over the summer in the UK and the preparations currently taking place in anticipation of joining my race team WTC Logistics in Australia in early January 2020. The following post is an update of Leg 1 of the race, which is currently taking place at the time of publishing.

The 2019/2020 Clipper Round the World Race started on September 1st, departing St. Kathrine’s Dock in London. Leg 1 of the race consists of two races. The first race was from the UK to Portimào, Portugal. Unfortunately team WTC Logistics arrived last into Portugal. It’s an 11 month race so there is still plenty of time. You can see the official Clipper Race video of the stopover in Portimào here.

On September 15th the yachts departed Portimào for Leg 1 Race 2 to Punta del Este, Uruguay, some 5,000+ nautical miles south west. This race takes the yachts south along the west coast of Africa, past the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, across the equator and down along the east coast of South America before arriving in Punta del Este. The race will take the yachts about four weeks to complete, with an arrival window of October 13th to 16th.

You may have seen in the news this past week about Hurricane Lorenzo, one of the furthest east category 5 hurricanes on record. The Clipper yachts witnessed the formation of Hurricane Lorenzo just south of the Cape Verde islands off the west cost of Africa. The following images are from the race tracker on September 23rd. You can see the low pressure starting to form at the start of the doldrums corridor. As the low progresses west the wind speed increases and the storm becomes more defined.

Current, as of September 23 – 1500 UTC
Forecast – September 24 – 1500 UTC
Forecast – September 25 – 0300 UTC
Forecast – September 26 – 1500 UTC

The yachts are currently (at the time of writing this blog post) crossing the equator, over halfway to Punta del Este. They passed through the doldrums which is where the northern hemisphere weather meets the southern hemisphere weather. It is officially called the inter tropical convergence zone or ITCZ. The area is known for light and variable winds, rain squalls and intense heat. This is exactly the type of weather I will be going through between Australia and China on Leg 5 in January.

The Clipper Race has a rule called the “Doldrums Corridor”. Due to the potential lack of wind for days on end they instituted the corridor rule to allow the yachts to use their engine for a set period of time. This ensures that the arrival window dates stay accurate and the in-port logistics are kept on schedule. More information on the doldrums corridor is in the Clipper Race video below.

If you are interested in getting more up to date information on the race I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter. You can check it out in this link.

In addition to the daily newsletter, each skipper posts a daily blog update about life on board and how the race is going. These blog posts can be found on the team page on the Clipper website. Our team has had some unfortunate issues before the Canary Islands putting us in last, but have been proudly fighting our way back into the mix. Our skipper Mark Burkes has by far the best written blogs. You can check it out here. If there is one thing I have learned thus far is that anything can happen in a yacht race and to never give up.

If you are new to the blog thanks for reading! And if you haven’t already done so, make sure to subscribe to get the latest updates and to learn more about the training and preparation I’m going through to get ready to sail from Australia to China in January 2020.

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