Times Clipper 2000 - Leg 1 - 19th October 2000

The front of the fleet is approaching Cape Finisterre

Thursday October 19th 2000, Author: Sue Warden-Owen, Location: United Kingdom
After Sunday's start, the leading yachts are now approaching the north-west corner of Spain, and they will be beginning to consider the tactical choices available to them. The less miles they have to sail the better, however, rounding close into the coast may not prove to be the best option.
Cape Finisterre is in fact the southern-most of three capes (Cabo Toriana and Cabo Villano being the others) that make up the actual corner. A harsh, rugged landscape with high, rocky cliffs the area is renowned for very localised winds, variable currents and fog. Busy with shipping heading to and from the English Channel and the industrial ports of northern Spain, plus a large local fishing fleet - there will be plenty to keep the skippers and crews on their toes.

So far Plymouth and Bristol's tactic of keeping very much to the rhumb line has enabled them to maintain their lead over the rest of the fleet. However, with the wind forecast to go round to the south and ease off they could well start slowing up, experiencing either strong headwinds or calm if they do cut the corner. One of the few advantages of not being in the lead is the ability to see the effect of conditions ahead and alter course to avoid them. Played well this could be a good opportunity for the rear grouping to make some very useful gains.

Even though this is only the first leg and the crews will still be settling in a good result is important. The winning boat will be awarded eight points, the second seven, with the last boat crossing the line awarded one point. This will be the same for all legs regardless of length. When the yachts eventually cross the finish line in Portsmouth in September 2001 the team with the highest score will be the proud winners of The Times Clipper 2000 Trophy.

Five of the race yachts started their engines to prevent them being swept by the tide into the yacht marking the outer end of the starting line. Taking into account all the unusual circumstances and conditions surrounding this particular start, the Race Committee has awarded a penalty of one hour to the following yachts: Plymouth Clipper, Leeds Clipper, Jersey Clipper, Liverpool Clipper, Glasgow Clipper.

Additionally Bristol Clipper and Liverpool Clipper temporarily hoisted sails at the start that were excluded by the Race Instructions and have been awarded a penalty of 30 minutes.

Penalties only apply to this race (Race 1 of 16) and will be added to the finishing times at the Algarve finishing line. A summary of the penalties is:

Plymouth Clipper: 1 hour
London Clipper: nil
Leeds Clipper: 1 hour
Jersey Clipper: 1 hour
Bristol Clipper: 30 minutes
Liverpool Clipper: 1 hour 30 minutes
Glasgow Clipper: 1 hour
Portsmouth Clipper: nil

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