Clipper Race fleet survives 130 knot winds as teams fight to finish line

The crew of the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race are mostly amateur, but the conditions they are continuing to face in Race 4 are anything but. Their tough Southern Ocean education reached a powerful new level in this second week as hurricane force gusts of up to 130 knots tore through the fleet.

Skippers reported winds that screamed through the riggings like banshees and made your face feel as if it would blow off, evil skies, biblical level rainfall and jagged waves that crashed repeatedly into the side of the boats like hammers. Gladly, huge lessons were learnt from the first storm and despite the violent conditions, no major injuries or incidents were reported.

The conditions have now gladly died down over the past 48 hours, the sun is out and crews are now racing as fast as they can in the lighter conditions to the desperately well-deserved BBQ’s and sandy beaches that await them in Western Australia’s coastal town of Albany.

Invest Africa skipper Rich Gould reflects: “The Southern Ocean has certainly not held back in terms of showing us what it is capable of, the wind and the sea state have been incredible and I feel very lucky to be leading such a great team through some of the toughest conditions on the planet, in one of the most remote places in the world that you can take a yacht.”

At 1000 UTC, the race is tighter than ever as in the past 24 hours Henri Lloyd (1409.3 miles to finish) have stolen the lead from long term front runners Qingdao (1426 miles) who had held the spot for the previous two weeks.

OneDLL (1435.3) and GREAT Britain (1435.6) are battling for third place and Invest Africa (1596.5) and Switzerland (1618.5) are also chasing hard and making gains. As with many of the Clipper 2013-14 Races so far, it looks like it will be another fierce fight to the finish.

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