Yacht claims third victory of campaign

Hull & Humber has won Race 9 of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race, crossing the revised finish line at 2022 GMT on Tuesday 6 May. It is the team’s third individual stage victory of the 35,000-mile race which is being contested by ten internationally-backed 68-foot yachts.

Skipper Danny Watson says, “It was incredibly close racing from start to finish. Gybing under spinnaker at night with Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper a quarter of a mile away on our beam was pretty exciting stuff! Routing repositioning meant you dropped from first to mid-fleet within a sched. We needed to have belief in our navigation which ultimately paid off.”

Hull & Humber was one of a group of boats which also included New York, Qingdao, Nova Scotia and Uniquely Singapore who have been matching each other move for move in the bid for a podium position and the all-important points to add to their overall tally and for much of the race from Santa Cruz several of them have been within sight of each other.

Crew member Natalie Booker, 28, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, joined the crew in Santa Cruz for the last two legs of the race back to Liverpool. She says, “It was very frustrating trying to keep the boat going in light airs but it turns quickly into perseverance to keep going forward. It gets increasingly exciting when another Clipper boat is in view. It gives you that extra energy and adrenaline to put in more and more effort to be able to push harder!”

New York was second across the finish line at 2223 GMT. Skipper Duggie Gillespie commented, “It was very good sailing for most of the race until we came across this light winds – that was frustrating, very frustrating and a lottery at times. I said to the guys that there would be winners and losers given this race finish amendment and the time scale. Still, we are always pleased to be on the podium in this competitive fleet. The team work on board reached new heights with the continual spinnaker work. They did really well.”

The results are provisional until all the skippers have submitted their race declarations for scrutiny by the race committee. If the results remain as they are Hull & Humber’s victory will take them into overall first position, one and a half points ahead of second placed New York.

Clipper Race Director Joff Bailey says, “As much as this has been a thrilling race for us to watch unfold at home, with the variety of tactics being played out and the really close racing, this has been a difficult one ace for the crews taking part. There is great skill involved in keeping a yacht moving in the kind of light airs they’ve been experiencing and Danny, Duggie and their teams have done very well.”

The rest of the fleet is expected to cross the finish line over the next 36-48 hours and will then motor sail towards Panama, with the arrival of the first yachts anticipated on 13 May.