2 December 2019 – This week on the Weekend Wrap up we follow the Clipper Round the World race 4, The ARC transatlantic, Luderitz Speed challenge, The Sydney Bird Island regatta, Brest Atlantiques fight for 2nd place and other climate news and sport.
Clipper Round the World Race Update – RACE 4 – DAY 14
After two weeks at sea Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has retaken the lead from close rival Qingdao in Race 4: the Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride.
18 nautical miles separate the two leaders who are currently also competing for the bonus points on offer in the Dell Rugged Ocean Sprint. Rhiannon Massey, AQP on board Qingdao said: “We are pushing hard to go as fast as possible, but the wind isn’t really in the best direction. It’s a bit too far forward to make it a particularly fast run across, but we are still trucking along pretty well and making good progress towards Fremantle, nevertheless.”
As the fleet faces changeable conditions between low pressure systems in the race towards Fremantle, Australia, check out this video for insight into the early stages of the race, and life on board – all filmed by the crew on board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam:
Keep an eye on the Race Viewer to see whether Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam can maintain her lead, and whether the incoming low pressure system could see the chasing pack close down the gap to the leaders and monitor the progress of Unicef, Visit Sanya, China and Punta del Este.
The ARC is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people every year to sail 2700 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia. The ARC fleet of approximately 200 boats started their Atlantic adventure on Sunday 24 November sailing directly to Saint Lucia, spending 18-21 days at sea on the classic trade wind route.
Leaders on Allegra are estimated to arrive in Saint Lucia on 7 December with second place approximately 100nm behind.
The ARC is for everyone; families with children, tough racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats. Crossing the Atlantic together, but having their own adventures. More than just a boat race, the ARC is about friendships made ashore in the two weeks of pre-departure activities continued over the radio net at sea. It’s about arriving in Saint Lucia to be met on the dock with a rum punch and a chilled beer, knowing you have achieved something fantastic – crossing an ocean on a small sailboat.
Keep an eye on their progress with the ARC Tracker.Final Results – Luderitz, Namibia
The 2019 Luderitz Speed Challenge has come to an end today. 27 competitors started and 578 runs were completed during the event. Heidi Ulrich (SUI) has taken 1st place in the women’s division with her fastest run recording at 46.10knts while Vincent Valkenaers (BEL) takes the men’s title with his fastest run reaching 53.25knts. Both world records still stand, but are in real danger come next year’s challenge. The canal is closing this year with seven new National records having been achieved including Karo van Tonder’s record for Africa at 44.55knts which placed her second overall in the women’s challenge.Bird Island race – Sydney, Australia
The Bird Island Race, shortest in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore (Audi Centre Sydney BWPS) at 85 nautical miles has concluded with most of the race living up to its reputation as the drag race in the series.
Strong and gusty southerly conditions propelled entrants out of Sydney Harbour and throughout the majority of the race before winds subsided to a mere whisper as crews closed in on the finish.
The standout of the weekend was two-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winner Quest, taking out first in both IRC and ORCi Division 1. Owned by Bob Steel and Craig Neil they were excited to show the newer of the TP52s that they are still as competitive as ever.
“It has been good to string one together, we have had a few rough races leading into this with a few things not going our way with wind and weather conditions. We were lucky today in that respect, the teamwork was great, everyone is getting used to their roles and their positions with it all coming together,” Said Neil.
49er, 49FX and Nacra 17 World Championships – Auckland, New Zealand
Competitors in this week’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Auckland will be battling for 15 places at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Four spots at Tokyo 2020 will be available in the 49er class, five in the Nacra 17 and six in the 49erFX. Some of the world’s best sailors are still yet to qualify, meaning competition is set to be fierce at Royal Akarana Yacht Club in the New Zealand city.
Rio 2016 49er champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will be hoping to qualify on home water, having finished third in last week’s Oceania Championships at the same venue. The winners of that event, Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl of Austria, are also expected to be challenging for a place at Tokyo 2020. New Zealand’s Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, the Rio 2016 silver medallists and 2013 world champion, are favourites in the 49erFX contest but do not have to worry about Olympic qualification, having secured it last year.
Maloney and Meech should be challenged by Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, the Brazilian duo who pipped them to gold at Rio 2016. Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface of Britain have been dominant in the Nacra 17 class of late, most recently topping the podium at the Oceania Championships. They are yet to book a spot at Tokyo 2020, however.
Watch out for South Africans Alex Burger and Benji Daniels who are competing in the 49er class. They won the 29er World Championships in California in 2017.
Competition is due to begin tomorrow (December 3), with qualifying races in all three fleets scheduled to be held until Thursday (December 5). Gold fleet racing is set for Friday and Saturday (December 6 and 7), while medal races are due on Sunday (December 8). Click here for results.
Brest Atlantiques Battle for second place
While Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now on track to finish in three days, the battle for second place among the Ultim 32/23 Class trimarans in the 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques is well and truly on between MACIF and Actual Leader. With only around thirty miles separating them, it looks like it will be a close call all the way to the finish line.
In the lead since November 14, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier) now has just over 1500 miles to go, and look to advance behind the high that is heading north towards Europe. “They won’t encounter too much wind until the very end, where it will be at most 20-22 knots, and blowing in a southerly direction that will soon change towards the east. These are ideal conditions for them to finish in,” said Christian Dumard, the weather consultant for Brest Atlantiques.
With a lead of now more than 800 miles over its rivals, the next target for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is to reach the Azores archipelago tomorrow. After crossing this point, the two skippers will then embark upon the final 1000 miles back to Brittany, while still preserving their trimaran as best they can.
Behind them, MACIF (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella) will no doubt be fighting it out for second place until the very end. Since yesterday, both trimarans have been sailing in a north-westerly direction: “They’re going to look for the next weather system, sailing as much towards the west of the approaching high as they can. This means they won’t necessarily be heading straight up north,” explains Christian Dumard, who believes that these two trimarans will come into contact at the beginning of next week.
“MACIF will arrive first, to the south of the high, but will slow down considerably in the next two days, so the gap will then tighten between them and Actual Leader. I think they’ll actually be very close to one another in two days’ time, and probably even see each other at some point.”
So, the race is certainly on for these two trimarans until the finish line in Brest, where they are expected to arrive between December 6 and 7. It remains to be seen in what order though…
DNF: Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias retired on November 22 shortly after leaving Cape Town when it was determined that the damages to Sodebo Ultim 3 were too serious to carry on safely. Details.
Southern Charter Classics – Theewaters Kloof, South Africa
Open to all Dinghies and Multihulls the Southern Charter Classics took place this weekend at Theewater Sports Club in the Western Cape. A crowd favorite event at a wonderful venue, this weekend sported some great sailing and entertainment with live bands and lucky prizes.
Ultra Trail Cape Town 2019 – Top international trail runners from round the world gathered along side other international and South African amateur runners to take on the challenge of 21km, 35km, 65km or the massive 100km trail race around Table Mountain. As part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour this event gained a massive international audience and brought in top runners such as Cody Reed, Francois Dhaenne and Nicolas Martin. Cody Reed took the title as the leading man finishing in 10:04:58 in the 100km event. Beth Pascall won the women’s division and broke the current record in a time of 10:55:25 in the 100km event.
‘Block Friday’ Climate strikes – According to CNN’s Darran Simon while some people spent Black Friday shopping for the best possible deals (Americans spent over $7.4 Billion on online purchases on Black Friday alone), others took part in climate strikes around the world. The protests are part of Fridays for Future, a youth-led movement inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. The groups hope to capitalise on the momentum of the September protests, which drew about 7.5 million people worldwide. Some protesters aim to tie Black Friday madness into their demonstrations: One group said it planned to wheel empty shopping carts en masse in a New York City store to invite customers to pause their purchasing and consider the environmental impact of consumerism. After Friday’s protests, the movement has its sights set on a December event to coincide with the COP25 environmental summit in Madrid.
[The Weekend Wrap-up 2 December 2019)