Clipper Round the World Race: Crews Prepare for First Leg

The Clipper Round the World race is due to start, with emotions, excitement and energy growing to fever pitch. Divided into eight legs, each of which presents its own unique challenges, the race will see yacht crews navigating their vessels 40,000 nautical miles around the globe. Here we look at what the crews will face in the first stage of the Clipper Round the World Race: the Atlantic Trade Winds Leg.

The first leg involves crossing the Atlantic Ocean. After leaving port in the UK, the route takes crews towards the Canary Islands, with the weather improving as each mile is completed. Reaching the Canaries brings with it the first tactical decision of the race: whether to pass the islands to port or starboard or to sail right through the centre. Tall, imposing mountains create a wind shadow that can extend hundreds of miles so it's essential to make the right choice.

After clearing the Canaries, it will be time to catch the Trade Winds, which will hasten yachts towards the equator: boat speeds of 30 knots or more can be expected. The relief that crews will feel at this increased speed is short-lived as ahead lie the dreaded Doldrums, where fickle wind-holes and sudden squalls will test the patience of even the most experienced sailor.

Yachts will then cross into the Southern hemisphere, where the wind will make a welcome return. As crews head towards the end of the leg in South America, looking forward to a traditional Latin welcome, their final challenge will be to avoid the notorious counter-currents and stay on track.

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