Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire won its third consecutive race, finishing the Seattle Pacific Challenge and a hat trick at 0915 local time, 13 April.
The Unicef team recorded its best ever result and first podium of the race series, finishing in second place after a duel with LMAX Exchange at 2052 local time, Wednesday 13 April.
The team, representing the world’s leading children’s organization, managed to hold off LMAX Exchange after just a few nautical miles separated the two yachts in the final stages of the 5,400 nautical mile race.
LMAX Exchange crossed the finish line at 2155 local time Wednesday 13 April in third place.
The professional skippers leading each of the 12 teams have reported the worst conditions they have ever experienced on this race from China’s Olympic sailing city, with the yachts pounded by huge seas and winds gusting over 80 miles per hour, causing injury and damaging the yachts.
Upon arrival into Seattle’s Bell Harbor, Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Dan Smith said: “It’s fantastic to be here. It has been a long, tough race with very arduous weather.
“With the temperatures being so cold and wet with snow flurries from time to time, we had to keep cycling the team through down belowdeck to warm up, with two hours being the maximum amount of time you could spend on deck. It was very tough on the crew.”
Unicef Skipper Martin Clough said his team had been nothing short of amazing over the 24 days while it had battled numerous low pressure systems and Pacific rollers. “I am full of admiration for their spirit and resolve. I salute them all.”
LMAX Exchange Skipper Olivier Cardin said his team had come through great adversity to complete the crossing, known to be one of the toughest of the circumnavigation.
“We are proud of our achievement. We have reacted, acted and stood up to every challenge that the seas and weather have thrown at us. Despite the tricky conditions, we managed to pass Japan first and score three points at the Scoring Gate.
“In the second part of the race we had to deal with freezing weather, heavy winds, significant boat damage, fatigue and we managed that quite well as we finished third. We fought a great close fight with Unicef who, along with Derry~Londonderry~Doire, we wish to congratulate on their impressive racing. With the success of the Scoring Gate and third position, we have hopefully increased our lead in the overall Clipper Race competition (penalty points pending) and will continue to push for success in the upcoming races.
“Ultimately, we have safely crossed the mighty Pacific Ocean and for that we are delighted,” Olivier added.
GREAT Britain finished Race 9 in fourth position. Skipper Peter Thornton sent notification to the Race Office to say the team had finished at 1127 UTC on Thursday 14 April.
The remaining eight teams are due to be welcomed into Seattle over the next six days, including home port entry Visit Seattle.
For the Seattle stopover program of events, click here.