Close racing for Clipper fleet

Just 57 seconds separated the first and second placed teams in the race from Santa Cruz, California, to Jamaica as Hull & Humber secured a fourth victory in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race.

Crossing the finish line first, Hull & Humber brought to an end three days of fast and furious racing, beating New York by the narrowest of margins in the 590-mile race from Colon, Panama.

Eight of the ten internationally-backed yachts were in sight of each other as the fleet raced towards Port Antonio, the leading pack separated by 13 miles or less for much of the last 24 hours. The skippers pushed crews and boats hard to gain every extra knot of speed to put distance between themselves and the opposition.

The favourable easterly breeze helped the fleet speed towards their destination, a welcome change after the light airs on the race from Santa Cruz to Panama.

Spraying celebratory champagne over his crew, Hull & Humber’s skipper Danny Watson said, “Another win! Obviously it was very, very close. We had the other boats in sight for three days and squalls in the distance at night so the positions were always a bit of a mix up during the night time but we pushed hard. The guys just had belief all the way through. We had a good lead coming in to the end and found a bit of a wind hole but we just kept belief and it came good in the end.”

The victory extends Hull & Humber’s lead over New York to three and a half points, with Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, who finished third in Race 10, ten points behind the English team.

The race will restart from Port Antonio on Saturday 24 May at 1400 local time. The boats will leave Errol Flynn Marina at 12 noon and sail in formation past Folly Point where spectators will get an excellent view of Jamaica and the other nine yachts in the Clipper fleet.