Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: Update
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is in full swing though it might be better to say that it is in full CRAWL! Most of the 11 teams have officially arrived in the notorious doldrums, an area of latitude known for its sluggish, sticky and windless sea conditions.
The first crews to take advantage of the doldrums corridor by switching on the engines of their vessels were Qingdao and UNICEF, who are respectively in 3rd and 5th position at the time of writing. Teams are permitted to use their boat's engines for no more than six degrees latitude for a maximum time of 60 hours, ensuring that the fleet does not become becalmed in the fickle, sporadic winds just to the north of the equator.
The decision on when to turn on the engines adds an exciting tactical element to this particular section of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Commenting on this aspect, Deputy Race Director Dale Smyth said: "There are always a lot of decisions to make and factors to consider when ocean racing, the Doldrums Corridor just adds further questions for the teams to consider. Do we need to use our engine? And if so, when and where do we want to enter and exit the corridor?
Prior to entering the zone of the doldrums, crews experienced plenty of rough sailing due to the effects of powerful tropical storm Lorenzo. The conditions meant that even the most experienced skippers struggled with fierce winds and high waves and so the calm of the doldrums has been something of a relief: many crew members took advantage of the slower pace to enjoy alfresco dining on board.
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