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Times Clipper Cup..Close racing as fleet arrives in Japan

by Sue Warden-Owne on 27 Feb 2001
Bristol Clipper, skippered by Bob Beggs, stole Jersey's victory in the final
4 miles of one of the most exciting races so far in The Times Clipper 2000
Round The World Yacht Race, a 16 race event. Paul De La Haye, skipper of
Jersey Clipper, commented on how they had been leading for the last four
days as they favoured the more westerly approach. 'This morning's dawn was
really unforgettable and we now know why it is called The Land of the Rising
Sun. We knew Bristol Clipper was a threat to windward but we could not see
any lights, so we thought we had it. As the sun came up, we saw the sail
abeam to windward and that's when we were worried. It all depended on the
wind and today was not our wind. As we were headed our course dropped off
and gave Bristol the advantage. Five miles from the line we were forced to
throw in a tack and that's when they got past.'

Bob Beggs congratulated the Jersey Clipper crew for a tremendous race and
commiserated with them. 'We always knew we had a chance, but it was a
anybody's race. In the end we also had to tack to make the line but by that
time we had snuck past them. That's now a Pacific win for three different
boats, us, Jersey and Plymouth. That makes great racing.'

The finish of Race 6, a 3400 nautical mile race from Hawaii to Japan, is a
line 2 miles south from Nojima Saki Light, which is situated at the eastern
entrance to Tokyo Bay. After finishing, the boats have a further 50 miles to
transit into Tokyo Bay to the Bayside Marina at Yokohama.

Bristol and Jersey Clipper came into the Bayside Marina at midday, only half
an hour apart, and in brilliant sunlight. Not far behind Liverpool Clipper
was expecting to finish some 6 hours after the leaders, but 15 miles from
the finish the strong NE head wind deserted them and has left them drifting
almost in sight of the line. It now looks as though they will not finish
until about 1200 GMT. They will then have a six hour transit to Yokohama and
so will not be alongside until the early hours of Tuesday, local time.

Portsmouth Clipper appears to be doing a good job holding any challenge from
Glasgow who at one time looked as thought they would 'do a Bristol' on her.
However the wind is becoming fluky for the run in, so there could still be
some surprises in store. London Clipper has had a relatively good run but
like the others will be worried that the developing high pressure will bring
light winds and slow their progress.

Matt Baker in Plymouth Clipper and Paul Burke in Leeds have both suffered
from having head winds and have been having a frustrating time beating to
the north. The arrival times for both boats is difficult to calculate in
these conditions, but the last few miles are certain to be difficult and
frustrating.

This is the Clipper fleet's third visit to Bayside Marina, the prime marine
recreational centre of the Kanazawa Waterfront Area and race organisers
Clipper Ventures Plc, the AIM listed yacht racing and branded sailing event
company, have arranged a high-profile 5-day stopover for crewmembers and the
business associates of the race.

The British Tourist Authority will be co-ordinating tourism promotions
during the stopover, with representatives from Glasgow, Liverpool and London
making special presentations at the Ambassadors Residence on Thursday 1st
March at 1830. In addition, the UK Hydrographic Office, who supply
Navigational Charts, Publications and ARCS Electronic charts to The Times
Clipper 2000 fleet, will be working closely with the Japanese authorities to
host a Sea Day on Friday 2nd March, from Bayside Marina.

Two Japanese crewmembers will be especially delighted to set foot on home
territory; Akira Satou, a 29 year old Researcher from Yokohama City, Japan,
is competing on the full circumnavigation aboard London Clipper, whilst
Keiichiro Yoneda, a retired 61 year old from Tokyo, is racing on the outward
half of The Times Clipper 2000 aboard Portsmouth Clipper and will complete
his voyage when the fleet arrives in Hong Kong next month.

The fleet of eight identical 60-ft yachts, each sponsored by UK cities
including Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Plymouth, Portsmouth
and the island of Jersey, will set sail from Yokohama on Monday 5th March,
racing on to China and a voyage up the Yangtze River.

The Times Clipper 2000 is the only yacht race to travel up the Yangtze,
where the eight-strong fleet of identical 60-foot Clippers motor in convoy
up this very busy waterway to Shanghai. Following a stop over here, the
race then re-starts for the final stretch of this leg, sailing through the
Taiwan Strait for a stopover sponsored by Fox Pitt Kelton Ltd in Hong Kong,
which is the half way point of the eleven-month circumnavigation.

The fleet will then race onto the Philippines, Singapore, Mauritius, Cape
Town, Brazil and New York before the final Atlantic crossing to Jersey. A
short sprint back to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth will ensure a close and
exciting race finish, with an expected arrival date of 21st September 2001

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