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Strong Caribbean winds test Clipper Race fleet

Isabel Hokken
16-05-2012 The crew members of the world’s longest yacht race are finding their sea legs again, as competition heats up in day two of Race 11 to New York.
“It is fast, exhilarating wet and slightly wild,” sums up Gold Coast Australia skipper Richard Hewson.
It’s been busy for all then 68-foot yacht entries currently at the south of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea. Qingdao’s racing came to a brief halt, as a crew member attached by his safety line was washed overboard.
“It brought home to everyone the importance of the safety procedures we have to follow at all times, and showed the value of the Clipper Race training as the crew dealt with the situation perfectly.  Luckily for us the worst outcome of the situation was that he lost a shoe,” says skipper Ian Conchie.
Throughout the fleet sail changes are back on the agenda, with the Clipper Race crew getting back into the routine of rough ocean racing, enduring up to 20 knots of wind. Drama continued elsewhere, with Singapore’s Yankee 1 ending up in the sea and crew working hard to recover the sail. Similarly on Derry-Londonderry skipper Mark Light describes his unlucky day starting with a Yankee 1 headsail making a break for freedom and ending with a bowl of cereal being thrown of him!
The fleet remains close together, with entries having overtaken each other during the night. Currently leading the fleet is De Lage Landen, closely followed by Gold Coast Australia and Singapore.
For now all ten Clipper Race entries remain focused on getting up to the Windward Passage, a strait between the island of Cuba and Hispaniola , the fastest to get the vital Scoring Gate points up for grabs.
For real time race positions check out the race viewer