A fleet of 12 yachts competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race headed out of Table Bay today to start a 4,700 mile Southern Ocean sleigh ride to Albany, Western Australia. Following a parade of sail in front of the Cape Town waterfront, the fleet headed for the start line at 14.30 local time.
Great Britain crossed the line first ahead of Qingdao, closely followed by Henri Lloyd, in 15 knots of wind, with Table Mountain providing a spectacular back drop to the fourth race in the 16 race series.
However, it was the current overall front runner Henri Lloyd that progressed from third place to pass the first of two windward marks ahead of the fleet, with Team Garmin and OneDLL in hot pursuit. After a sharp tack to the second windward mark OneDLL was the first team to fly its kite and take the lead with Team Garmin making a great comeback in second round the mark with Henri Lloyd in hot pursuit.
Olly Cotterell the skipper of OneDLL, said, 'It is very tight but going forward were looking to get a place of the podium. We know how competitive the teams are and how fast the racing is, we know it’s going to be hard but we are determined to push hard on this race.'
Eric Holden, skipper of overall leader Henri Lloyd which currently lies in first place in the overall race, said, 'We pulled up into Cape Town in first place overall I think the other teams realise we are a threat, but in the same breath we also have a target on our back. Yet we also realise how tight the racing is mid-fleet and at this point we aren’t considering on boat as our competition. Everyone is still in with a shot and there are few boats chasing us really closely and we will be watching them all the way.'
The winner of Race 4 from Cape Town to Albany, will be presented with a special prize by the City of Albany - the Kinjarling Cup. 'Kinjarling' translates as 'place of rain' and has special significance as it is the name for Albany used by the traditional owners of the land upon which Albany sits - the Minang Noongar Aboriginal people.
Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said Albany is looking forward to welcoming the Clipper Race crews and their friends and families with open arms:
'We are proud to honour the traditional owners of our land by presenting the Kinjarling Cup to the first yacht into Albany. Albany has been closely watching the progress of the Clipper fleet and we will be very excited to see them sail into our spectacular King George Sound in just a few weeks,' Mr Wellington added.
The fleet is due into Albany between November 24 and 28 and will be berthed at the Albany Waterfront Marina. The Clipper Race will return to the UK in July 2014 after a total of 670 crew race 40,000 miles and visit 15 ports on six continents.
For more information please see Clipper Round the World