Leg 5 – Race 2 – China to Philippines Course? + Race Update


Leg 5 Race 2 will start on Friday, February 21, 2020 from Sanya, China to Subic Bay, Philippines. This is the first time the Clipper Race will be visiting Subic Bay and it will be my first time in the Philippines as well.

Race 2 of Leg 5 will be “quick” at about 660 nautical miles (nm). To put that in perspective, it is slightly longer than the iconic sailing races of the Sydney to Hobart (630nm) or the Rolex Fastnet (608nm).

The Clipper Race projects Leg 4 to take between 3 to 4 days to complete, which may come as a welcome after Leg 5 Race 1 potentially taking 26 days. I anticipate the sailing to be a bit more intense as the racing should be close and tactical given the short length. There are numerous islands in the South China Sea that we will need to navigate between as well.

The wind should be predominantly from the northeast. This would mean sailing on a close reach to beam reach for a majority of the race. This is just a general observation, local conditions will ultimately dictate the sail plan used.

Depending on the wind direction, “wind shadow” produced by the island of Luzon could create a tactical problem or opportunity. In the screenshot below the light blue represents light winds and you can see how the land mass of Luzon causes light winds on the lee of the island. This is another factor to consider.

Racing starts just offshore of the Sanya Serenity Marina, which will be our stopover port after Leg 5 Race 1. The race will be a straight line in the east-southeast direction, passing just north of the Paracel Islands, about 200nm from the startline.

You may recall in the news over the past few years China’s claim of islands as their territory in the South China Sea. The Paracel Island group is one of the contested areas.

After passing the Parcel Islands, the route will continue southeast. With only 170nm to the finish line we will pass the Scarborough Shoal, another disputed island between China and the Philippines.

We will finally arrive at Subic Bay, Philippines. Our host will be the Subic Bay Yacht Club. I’m definitely looking forward to the cuisine of the Philippines!

This stopover will be a quick turnaround. Depending on our arrival into port, we will only have 48 to 72 hours before the next race start. Leg 5 Race 3 starts on Friday, February 28 for the final race of Leg 5 to Zhuhai, China.

RACE UPDATE

The following is my update from the race.

Leg 3 of the Clipper Race is over and the yachts are in Fremantle, Australia. Team WTC Logistics has improved each leg of the race, and our team finished in 5th place for Leg 3. We also placed 2nd in the Ocean Sprint, a huge boost for morale.

Unfortunately, we received news that our Skipper, Mark Burkes has resigned from the race due to personal reasons. He will be leaving the team in Fremantle. This is a big blow to the team. However Mark said that the new skipper Rich Gould is a great skipper and a personal friend of his. Rich partook in the 2011-12 Clipper Race, was race skipper in the 2013-14 race and skipper for legs 7 and 8 of the 2015-16 race. With over 175,000nm in his logbook he is an experienced ocean racing yachtsman.

We wish Skipper Mark Burkes the best of luck in his future endeavors. His witty way with words in the daily skippers blog will be sorely missed.

Leg 4 starts on December 22nd, with the fleet departing Fremantle and heading down south again towards the Roaring Forties and continuing East, around the island of Tasmania and then up the east coast of Australia, finishing in Airlie Beach, Queensland. Leg 4 is about 4,000nm, taking an estimated 20 days to complete.

The Leg 4 arrival window is January 9th to the 12th. I will be arriving in Airlie Beach on January 8th and I’m looking forward to welcoming the teams into port!

I’ve uploaded another YouTube video that takes a more in-depth tour aboard a Clipper 70 during my Level 4 training. You can check it out below. It’s also posted it in the “Gallery” section of my blog.

If you haven’t already, please make sure to subscribe to my blog to receive the latest updates!

My time to join race is fast approaching, I leave for Australia in less than 3 weeks!

Categories: Mike's Clipper Blog

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