Fleet motors 200 miles to new start line

Within a few hours of the start of Race 11 of the Clipper round the world race, from Jamaica to New York yesterday, the fleet stopped racing and began heading towards a rendezvous point in the Windward Passage, midway between the islands of Haiti and Cuba, some 200 nautical miles from the start line at Port Antonio.

The decision was taken because the weather forecast for today and the next week shows little or no wind for this initial stage of the race. To prevent the teams wallowing around for several days making no progress and the race becoming a lottery the Race Director decided to restart the race today north of the Windward Passage.

Joff Bailey, Clipper 07-08 Race Director, said, ‘The conditions that the crew will experience over the initial part of the race will be similar to the Doldrums. Unfortunately, unlike the Doldrums which move around, this area of light winds is very static at the moment and we could not see when, if at all, the light and even no wind would be replaced with more steady pressure that would allow fair racing.

‘During the skipper and crew briefings all the teams were informed that this would be a likely possibility and Simon Bradley, the lead skipper at the moment, made the final decision after talking to me a couple of hours after the race start yesterday. The effort put in by the teams during the start was still recognised as the positions around the first turning mark were used as the start order for the Le Mans start today.’

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