Clipper Race fleet begins race across South Atlantic from Punta del Este to Cape Town

After an electric stopover hosted by the Yacht Club Punta del Este, hundreds of local and international spectators and supporters flooded the dock to wave off the 200+ Clipper Race Crew members as they departed on a testing race across the South Atlantic Ocean.  

After final goodbyes and loud cheers from the crowds, the eleven teams departed the marina, and after performing a spectacular Parade of Sail, lined up on the Start Line ready to begin the next Leg of the adventure: Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown.

It was a light-wind start for the third race making for a tricky line crossing. The first yacht across was Our Isles and Oceans (skippered by Max Rivers), followed by Yacht Club Punta del Este (skippered by local Nano Antia) second over, followed by Zhuhai in third. With two teams, PSP Logistics and Dare To Lead playing their Joker in this race, it’s definitely set to be an even more intense battle for the top spots. The Joker enables teams to double the number of points scored, and can only be played once in a circumnavigation.

The Clipper Race sees adventurers from all walks of life, ages and nationalities take on the extraordinary challenge of racing across the world’s oceans. A number of Race Crew had no prior sailing experience before signing up to the four-stage compulsory and rigorous training programme that is required to race. Electricians race alongside primary school teachers, lawyers and cabinet makers in this true test of human endurance.

This race (Race 3) is a 3,500 nautical mile challenge from Punta del Este, Uruguay to Cape Town, South Africa. Yacht Club Punta del Este will be looking to hold onto the top spot on the race leaderboard. Race Skipper Nano Antia, who won the previous race into his hometown, said ahead of leaving the dock: “It’s been such a special stopover for me – I was born and raised here, so it’s truly inspiring for me. I’m very very proud of my team and all of the effort we put in as this really paid off.

“Now I’m a little sad that we are leaving, but we need to keep going. We are looking forward to the next leg. We set a high competitive mindset and we are going to try and keep this throughout the next leg. Half of the team are new, which is great as they bring a lot of fresh energy, and they all want to experience how it feels to be on the podium.” 

Currently second on the leaderboard is Perseverance. Ahead of the race, Skipper Ineke Van Der Weijden said: “We are currently second, one point behind Yacht Club Punta del Este. We have seven new crew joining on board. Following the team on the Race Viewer has got them super excited to join the team. I think the crew is in a really good state, they are happy, they had some extra rest because we got in early, and it’s such a great port to come in to! Everyone is ready to come back on board with a really different rhythm!” 

Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown will be a test for the Clipper Race teams. Typically, the race features fast, downwind conditions in huge swells, however the current forecast means that the yachts will first have to battle some tough headwinds.

Clipper Race Director Mark Light commented on the conditions ahead: “This will be a tactically challenging leg as the normal, strong downwind conditions do not look like they will materialise, certainly in the first part of this race. Big decisions await, as the teams desperately search for the favoured downwind conditions to be able to fly their powerful asymmetric spinnakers. However, with this thrill comes the responsibility to ensure that it is not overpowered, as a blown spinnaker can cost valuable time and race standings.  

“It really is everything to play for in this race, and previous editions have seen podium places decided by just 15 minutes.” 

The Clipper 2023-24 Race began in Portsmouth, UK in September 2023 before sailing to Puerto Sherry in Spain and across the Atlantic Ocean to Punta del Este in Uruguay. The next stage of the adventure will see the eleven-strong matched fleet sail to Cape Town, South Africa, and the teams are expected to arrive between 6-10 November.

Follow the fleet as it races across the South Atlantic on the Clipper Race Viewer. 

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