Clipper Round the World Race From Rio to South Africa


Some of the most exciting moments of a sailboat race happen in the minutes before the start. It’s there when all the yachts muscle for position, aiming for the perfect combination of forward momentum and place on the line once the gun goes off.

The boats tack back and forth, threatening collisions and near misses, trying to get the other boats to slip up and cross the line too early, or become timid and end up too far back at the start. It’s like an anxious crowd of runners, all elbowing each other and jogging back and forth, and then once the gun sounds, it’s a graceful slip into the race, and off beyond the horizon.

In Rio recently, that ballet played out for the start of the second leg of the Clipper Round the World Race. Race 2 -- The Stormhoek Race – taking competitors from Rio to the Cape of Storms in South Africa is underway. See our coverage of Race 1 here and here. The yachts are now sailing from the Brazilian coast 3,417 nautical miles to Cape Town, South Africa.

It was all sun and a stiff breeze for the skippers and crew. After a parade out of Guanabara Bay and past Sugarloaf Mountain, teams reached the start line and began the dance before the gun.

Deputy Race Director Mark Light, aboard the committee boat, said visibility was good and the teams were experiencing enjoying 22 knots True Wind Easterly (Force 5 to 6) with a moderate sea state and perfect blue skies.

That’s good, by the way.

At the start, it was Derry-Londonderry-Doire crossing the line first, just ahead of Visit Seattle followed by ClipperTelemed.

In keeping with the aforementioned sportiness at the start line, two boats, Unicef and Da Nang-Viet Nam, both started On Course Side, meaning that they were the wrong side of the line during the final minute before race start. Both teams complied with the rules and rounded about to re-cross the line without having crossed it in reverse. It can get a bit involved, but in the end, it’s all salt and sea.

Absent at the start however was the winner of the first race, along with another. LMAX Exchange and Qingdao are anticipated to start racing on Sunday, Oct. 11. The delayed start was ruled after both boats ran aground while being delivered to another marina after the first face, and had to undergo repairs before racing again. Both yachts will have their times recorded and compared to the rest of the fleet for standing.

The Clipper Race fleet is due into Cape Town Oct 21-25 and will be berthed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront until Oct 31.