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Clipper Round the World: Clipper 11-12 Race enters final stages

04-July-2012. With just two races left in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, the top of the leader board continues to be fiercely contested. Although Gold Coast Australia is  the clear leader, the fight for second and third place in the world’s longest ocean race is still anyone’s for the taking.

In Race 13 Gold Coast Australia secured its eleventh victory after a 2,350-mile tough upwind battle across the North Atlantic. The Queensland entry celebrated its win into Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, all but guaranteeing overall victory in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

Barring massive penalties or disqualification, Gold Coast Australia cannot be beaten on points with a massive forty point advantage over current second place entry, Visit Finland.

The fight for second and third place continues to be fought out as only a handful of points separate the contendersfor the remaining podium positions on the leader board. With two races left until the Clipper 11-12 Race finish in Southampton, just six points separates second place Visit Finland and third place De Lage Landen. Singapore, sponsored by Keppel Corporation, is snapping at their heels while Welcome to Yorkshire is just four points behind the Singaporean entry.

Tasmanian skipper Richard Hewson was composed and focused when discussing his domination of the overall race, and has his sights set on another challenge to smash the record set back in 1998 under skipper Alex Thompson, who took  his entry to six consecutive wins.

“This is now our fifth consecutive win, and trust me when I say every win is as important to us as the next. If we win the next race, we will have matched the current record. If we win the next and final race we will break the record for the most consecutive wins ever achieved in Clipper Race history. I want this for my team.”

With the last two races foremost in everyone’s minds, Ben Bowley, the skipper of Singapore, discussed his determination ahead of the Race 14 start on Saturday 7 July, “We’ve always said we have to be at the top of the leader board. We’re really chasing De Lage Landen which is just five points ahead of us at the moment. With just one great race we could be looking at third place which would be brilliant.”

Race Director, Jonathan Bailey has a few words of warning for those who think Race 14, the short sprint to Den Helder will be an easy race to navigate, “The race from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Derry-Londonderry was much harder than expected due to a tropical storm that was created in the Atlantic which gave all of the teams significant head winds. The unsettled weather in the UK is also likely to make the 800-mile race to Den Helder very challenging as the teams go over the top of Scotland into some strong northerly winds.”

The penultimate race, an 800-mile sprint from Derry-Londonderry to Den Helder in the Netherlands, will start at 1600 GMT on Saturday 7 July.