Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

​Race 2 Day 28: Thunderstorms and Lightning

Wed Dec 31 23:59:59 1969

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam during a squall in Race 2

As Race 2: The Commodore’s Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay, continues, huge squalls brought powerful wind, driving rain, hail, thunderstorms, and put on a spectacular lightning show for the Clipper Race fleet on the twenty-eighth day of racing.

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam looks set to take third place and claim its first podium position with just 14 nautical miles (nm) to go to the finish line at the Yacht Club Punta del Este. Boat speed however, remains low in the aftermath of squalls with the Race Viewer showing the team averaging just 3.5 knots. Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper Josh Stickland reports: “It has truly been a very difficult day. I think the crew have done more sail changes in the last 24 hours than they have done in the last 24 days.

“Depending on which forecast you look at, we may be in by breakfast. Or if you believe another forecast, we will be stuck in a windhole floating around looking over our shoulders.”

IMAGE: all positions correct at time of publishing.

Dare To Lead, currently in fourth place, has been chasing down the stern of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam since the end of the Doldrums Corridor some two weeks ago. With less than 15nm separating his team from third, Skipper Guy Waites said: “It started straight away at 0600 UTC; six sail changes in two hours and that was only the beginning of the avalanche of thunderstorms, wind shifts and other funny weather effects we encountered throughout the day.

“All that under torrential rain, lightning, the sky was literally sparking around us, AWESOME! The crew has decided to push harder on the last 24 hours, with Zhuhai closing in and us closing in on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.”

Mid-table positions are still all to play for with a mere 20nm separating fifth to eighth, but the main focus for all yesterday was to navigate the tumultuous squalls. Ian Wiggins, Unicef, explains: “Squalls galore!! Clouds that look like they descended from MOUNT DOOM arrived in the afternoon. At first they looked like any normal thundery rain clouds. But, these clouds suddenly reared up like monsters above us. The clouds turned night to day and laughed at our feeble attempts to outrun them. The low, thick cloud was beautiful and the lightning has been breathtaking - if not a bit scary at times.”

Every race point is precious over the eleven month circumnavigation and at the back of the pack Imagine your Korea has overtaken GoToBermuda with just 140nm of the 5,196nm race to go. Imagine your Korea Skipper Mike Surridge describes the last 24 hours at sea: “As the miles passed and the beads of the abacus are gently slid from one side to the other counting the miles down, we were all focusing on the finishing of the race. Little did we know that we were sailing straight into a battle between Zeus and Neptune.

“With Neptune whipping the seas up and Zeus throwing the most spectacular bolts of lightning into the sea and across the skies, while the contents of olympic size swimming pools were dumped on our heads. We were quick to drop our spinnaker, the winds rose quickly and the speed of our magnificent sailing machine accelerated like a startled gazelle topping at 18 knots. Fortunately during our Equator crossing we gave suitable gifts, so Neptune looked after us well and cleared a safe onward passage to Punta del Este with plenty of opportunity to witness the amazing show being put on before us.”

With arrivals into Punta del Este expected to take place all day and into the early hours of Monday morning, what will the final leaderboard of Race 2: The Commodore’s Cup look like? Keep an eye on the Race Viewer to find out!

A warm Uruguayan welcome awaits the Clipper Race fleet in Punta del Este. For all the activities planned for both the crew and in the Fan Zone at the Yacht Club Punta del Este, see the Host Port page on the website.


Podium Finish for Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Wed Dec 31 23:59:59 1969

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Vietnamese team Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, led by Josh Stickland, has secured its first podium win taking third place in Race 2: The Commodore’s Cup; the second of 15 races that form the Clipper 2019-20 Race circumnavigation. The team crossed the line at 13:03:00 UTC.

Image: The Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team battling heavy weather during Race 2.

The 5,100nm race, which started from Portimao, Portugal on 15 September, has been a test of skill and nerve for the Ha Long Bay Viet Nam team. As the race has drawn to a close, Josh and the team have been holding their nerve, coping with a drop in wind speeds and managing the impending threat of the Dare To Lead team, which has been bearing down in an attempt to clinch the final podium spot.

Image: Taken on board Ha Long Bay Viet Nam during Race 2: The Commodore's Cup

The podium place was well-earned by the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team, which has been jostling with race leaders for much of the month-long endurance race across the Atlantic Ocean.

Image: sent back from on board Ha Long Bay Viet Nam last week.

In addition to the ten points received for third place, the team has accrued two bonus race points for achieving the second-fastest Ocean Sprint time.

Congratulating the team, a representative of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam said: "Despite the harsh climate, even though strong waves and winds sometimes seem to submerge it all, but with the spirit of "concentric discipline", the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team has overcome all difficulties, ranking in third position into Punte del Este, Uruguay. Quang Ninh province prides itself on you – the valiant and brave warriors of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team."

The rest of the fleet is racing down the South American coastline towards Punta del Este, Uruguay's sailing hub and fashionable holiday resort, with Dare To Lead hot on the Vietnamese team's heels.

Keep up to speed with the latest team positions as the battle for race points continues via the Clipper Race Viewer. Head over to the Clipper Race: Live Facebook page to cheer in your team from home.