Visit Seattle crossed the finish line at 1726 UTC (0126 local) to complete the Wardan Whip into Albany in ninth place. The team was in great spirits an hour later when they berthed in the Albany Waterfront Marina despite the cold easterly wind.
“We are a very positive team,” said Skipper Huw Fernie. “After finding ourselves a day behind the fleet after the storm out of Cape Town we’ve gradually progressed and have had an incredible time in the Southern Ocean.
“It’s had its highs and it’s had it lows, but it’s also been very exhilarating.”
Crew member Ana Downer-Duprey (22) who has overcome two major accidents agreed. “The Southern Ocean has been a challenge, but very different to overcoming life in a wheelchair. This made you feel alive. It was an incredible experience surfing down waves under huge grey and black skies. It was everything I imagined and more.”
MISSION PERFORMANCE, ICHORCOAL AND DA NANG – VIET NAM FINISH RACE 3
Mission Performance has crossed the Race 3 Wardan Whip finish line at 1805 local time (1005 UTC), just two minutes ahead of IchorCoal which followed at 1807 local time (1007UTC).
Mission Performance finished in sixth place into Albany, Western Australia, after a close-fought battle with IchorCoal over the last 24 hours.
The tight finish was very similar to the Clipper 2013-14 Race arrival into Albany when four boats crossed the line within four minutes of each other after 4,845 nautical miles of ocean racing.
And this time, aerobatic pilot Bob Grimstead performed in his plane Blue Angel over the yachts as they crossed the finish line. His daughter Lucy Grimstead is on board Mission Performance.
Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller said of the team’s Race 3 experience: “It was not quite what we were expecting, we were expecting the big waves and howling winds and we had upwind sailing and less surfing than we expected.
“It was a very challenging leg both physically and mentally, the toughest one so far. In that sense it has been taxing, and the conditions have been really tough to work with. We had blows on the first day of Cape Hope and lost our Yankee 2 with lots of damage to that so it was a baptism of fire for the new guys stepping on. The people that have been on board since London haven’t seen conditions like that either. For me to talk them through it and get them through it was an eye opener for me.
“On the other side, we had the high pressure systems coming through too, with no wind, so it was hard to keep everyone motivated through that.
“Then 48 hours ago, IchorCoal came up on our Automatic Identification System and Skipper Darren decided to gybe off tactically to get ahead. We waited a bit longer then gybed, then we were both heading towards the coast for the last 48 hours together. It’s been very tense as it came up again on AIS again this afternoon.
“We just managed to pip IchorCoal so we were very happy with that,” Greg added.
Round the world crew member Gavin Reid said: “My Southern Ocean experience was an awful lot different from what I was expecting.
“We had a lot of headwind and lovely rolling swell, then we had a patch of no wind at all, so it was a bit of a surprise, but I am very glad to be in Albany.
“We had many challenges during this race. We had many storms, so trying to cope with that physically was tough, and and overcoming the loss of one of our mail sails was very difficult.
“As a crew we worked really hard, and we are pleased with the result,” Gavin added.
Darren Ladd, Skipper of IchorCoal said of his team’s experience: “The first few days were pretty wild. We saw 80 knot winds, so that was a pretty exciting start. After that it calmed down a bit. We had a few other storms, but generally it was a nice, long four-week crossing. We had four or five day cycles of light and then heavier winds so a real mix of conditions.
“Four or five days ago, Mission Performance was 200+ miles ahead of us, and we didn’t even consider that we could catch it. We were more concerned with our old rival Da Nang – Viet Nam, close behind.
“We concentrated on going south of the high pressure, whereas Mission Performance got stuck in it. We caught up the 200 odd miles and literally over the last 24-48 hours we have been neck and neck. We just got pipped at the end, but we are very happy with the result,” Darren added.
IchorCoal crew member Sophie Crocker described the “crazy” mix of conditions during Race 3.
“One day you would come up on deck and there would be huge waves. The next day it would be totally calm. It was definitely the hardest leg so far, but I really enjoyed the challenge. Physically, you really felt it when you were helming, and your arms started to ache a lot more.
“At one point, we had 80 knots of wind and I was holding the halyard to the Yankee, and the Yankee was not coming down.
“The surfing conditions were amazing fun. Seeing the wind and then your speed pick up and know you’re doing a good job was exhilarating,” Sophie added.
Wendy Tuck, the first Australian female Skipper in the history of the Clipper Race, has arrived onto home soil, finishing the gruelling Southern Ocean leg from Cape Town, South Africa, to Albany, Western Australia.
Wendy, Skipper of team Da Nang – Viet Nam, crossed the finish line at 1340UTC/2140 local time today, 25 November, at the end of the 4,845 nautical mile stage of the tenth edition Clipper 2015-16 Race.
Wendy, 50, the first Australian female Skipper in the 20-year history of the race, finished Race 3 in eighth place.
Wendy said: “We had a very varied race, and it wasn’t as bad as we were expecting overall. We had quite a few fronts come through, but not the big rolling swells, so I think we got off a little lighter than anticipated. However, the storm on day two really caught us off guard as we thought it was just gusts, and we sustained quite a bit of damage as a result.
“We were quite lucky and didn’t stop the boat and managed to go through the lighter patches we also experienced. We had some fast helming speeds and had a good speed and surfing competition going on, although the Leg 2 speed record was not broken.
“I am looking forward to being back in Australia, especially as we ran out of Vegemite on board!” Wendy added.