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Clipper Racers Face Another Onslaught

Wind speeds registered as high as 120 knots.

Clipper Round the World Race
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

On the thirteenth day of the Clipper Round the Word Race’s fourth segment, sailors faced incredible weather conditions, with winds gusting well beyond 100 knots. This after repeated storm systems have battered the mostly amateur racers. Sunday’s conditions proved exciting and, unlike previous heavy-weather interludes, left crew and boats mostly unscathed as they journeyed from Cape Town, South Africa to Albany, Western Australia though the Roaring Forties.

Clipper racers face incredibly harsh conditions.

Clipper Round the World Race
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As Sunday night fell, wind speeds built into the 50-knot range and grew steadily to 80 knots. The system saved its greatest strength for the very end as some skippers reported gusts much higher.

Thankfully these conditions lasted only 20 minutes.

Clipper Round the World Race
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

“‘Riders on the Storm’ by The Doors is the soundtrack that comes to my head,” wrote Old Pulteney’s skipper Patrick van der Zijden in his blog. “Although if we would have played it on our outdoor speakers, I doubt we would have heard it. The top of the storm gave us wind Force 9 to 10, with gusts up to 70, and peaked at over 120 knots.”

“These conditions lasted about 20 minutes and then nothing,” according to skipper Chris Hollis aboard PSP Logistics. “The wind backed to the northwest and just dropped to 20 knots, and soon we were bobbing around in the very lumpy, confused sea. It left us behind not really knowing what just happened!”

Not all boats were affected, leaving some to ask, why not us? “It has been a frustrating night of sailing, waiting for this front to come through," says fourth place Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden. "We battened down quite early expecting some stronger winds that still have yet to materialize, so we spent the whole night going slower than we should have.”

Racing continues though the Southern Ocean and is expected to finish in about a week. You can watch video footage of the storm below.

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