En route to Hong Kong

The latest from the Clipper round the world race

Tuesday March 25th 2003, Author: Loretta Spridgeon, Location: Transoceanic
Painfully slow progress is being made on Race 8 of the Clipper 2002 series - the Sinotrans Race from Shanghai to Hong Kong - and the 12-hour reporting period leading up to Monday afternoon saw the boats only achieving 25 to 30 miles.

Since then, the wind has come and gone and hopefully come back again, but it is going to remain fickle and challenging for a while yet.

Jersey and Bristol continue to match race at the front of the fleet, chased by London. Liverpool Clipper moved up to within 5 miles of London, before dropping back.

It seems that whilst the rich have been enjoying the spoils, those at the back have suffered. New York Clipper was alongside Glasgow last night, but then found a private wind hole and has let the others past. Hong Kong Clipper, previously alongside Glasgow, now has a three-mile advantage and is holding fifth place.

The crew of Glasgow Clipper, victors of the last race, are feeling the absence of their lightweight (0.75oz) spinnaker, which was irreparably damaged on the last race from Yokohama to Shanghai.

Cape Town Clipper has drifted past New York, but all the tail enders have had to take a bitter pill as those further up have got the wind and opened up the field.

The fishing fleets continue to dominate events at present and will be presenting the Clipper skippers with some tricky decisions as they mix racing with collision avoidance.

After two long races across the Pacific during which the crews would have seen less than 5 boats in all, the difference now is just staggering with frequently some 50+ fishing boats in close proximity.

The weather in Hong Kong has finally cleared and the sun is now out! It appears that it is also warming up amidst the boats and Polly Pratt in Bristol Clipper is the first crew to be reported wearing shorts.

Looking ahead to the fleet's arrival in Hong Kong, the leaders have 435 miles to run and if they can pick up to 150 miles per day (6.25 knots) they would arrive at the finish off Waglan Island at 01:00 GMT Friday (09:00 local time).

This would be just too good to be true, especially as the Clipper fleet never arrive in Hong Kong in daylight! However, the Race Director recommends a planning figure of 120 miles per day (5 knots). That would make their arrival time 18:00 GMT (02:00 Saturday morning local time).....

Clipper 2002 Sinotrans Race Positions

03:00, 25 March 2003

Pos Yacht Distance to Finish (nautical miles)
1 Bristol 432.21
2 Jersey 434.38
3 London 456.20
4 Liverpool 463.17
5 Hong Kong 466.65
6 Glasgow 469.33
7 Cape Town 479.05
8 New York 481.87

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