Close finish into Cuba
Yesterday had been marked by the excitement surrounding Samantha Fuller’s victory in New York when she had finally triumphed over Richard Butler’s Bristol Clipper. Sunday started differently and it was soon evident that the wind has deserted the remaining fleet and so we had to wait patiently for the third boat home.
Finally at 10:51 local time, Jersey Clipper with Ed Green as skipper, crossed the line to take the last podium position. This was a hugely popular result and a personal triumph for both the acting skipper and the Jersey crew.
Having welcomed Jersey Clipper into Marina Hemingway, which is some 8 miles west of the entrance to Havana Harbour, I drove back to wait for the next finisher. As I looked out to sea from the castle I was able to see no less than five sails approaching the finishing line. There, just as sure as eggs are eggs, were the last five boats all racing for the line. After 28 days and some 4,000 miles of racing, I was witnessing a finish similar to that which members of the Royal Yacht Squadron would see from the Castle Lawn, when watching a day race round the Solent.
Hong Kong Clipper, skippered by Justin Taylor (the victor in Cascais) was fourth. Then 27 minutes later Adam Kyffin took Liverpool across the line in fifth place. Next was a somewhat relieved Chris Hazeldene in London who, having being stuck in various wind holes, had managed to climb back a place or two.
A mere 13 minutes later Glasgow Clipper, skippered by Rupert Parkhouse, steamed across the line with their spinnaker driving them at full speed. After a wait of just a further 13 minutes, Roger Steven-Jennings skippered Cape Town Clipper across the line to conclude the proceedings. In the space of 84 minutes, five Clipper yachts had finished their race.
Just four hours and two minutes separated the last boat from third place Jersey Clipper.
A special mention needs to be made of the Herculean efforts from Cape Town Clipper after getting stuck off the Canaries Islands in light winds. This put them in a different weather pattern and they saw the gap between them and the leader open to an amazing 529 miles. After days of disappointment, they gradually reeled the fleet back in and finally overtook some of them before being pipped. Although not a result they would have wished for, they have proved a most valuable point.
After 2 of the 16 races, New York Clipper is the overall leader with 13 points but only 2 points cover the first half of the feet. It is still very early days and we have seen how close and competitive the racing is.
I have sat on several castles, headlands and even lighthouses seeing the Clipper yachts start or end races. My two hours on Castillo del Morro is one memory I will never forget. My congratulations to all of the crews on their magnificent performances.
Clipper 2002 - Cascais to Havana Race Order
New York 1 8
Bristol 2 7
Jersey 3 6
Hong Kong 4 5
Liverpool 5 4
London 6 3
Glasgow 7 2
Cape Town 8 1
All places and points remain PROVISIONAL
Clipper 2002 Overall Order after Race 2
Place Yacht Cum Pts
1 New York 13
2 Hong Kong 12
3 Jersey 12
4 Bristol 11
5 London 9
6 Liverpool 8.5
7 Glasgow 5
8 Cape Town 2