Please select your home edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Next stop Australia: Clipper Race teams embark on huge race across the Roaring Forties

by Clipper Round the World Race 18 Nov 19:59 GMT 18 November 2023
Race 4: Clipper Round The World Race © Clipper Race

The Clipper 2023-24 Race has passed its quarter-way mark as teams embarked today (18 November) on the 4,750nm Roaring Forties stage of the race from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Western Australia on Race 4: Marlow Roaring Forties Challenge.

Waving goodbye to friends, family and the laid-back atmosphere of Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront, the eleven teams of non-professional sailors departed the marina with an impressive send off from a traditional African Choir. Following a Parade of Sail with the beautiful Table Mountain backdrop, the teams lined up to begin the fourth race of the circumnavigation and jostled for positions in the changeable winds of Table Bay.

This stage of the event, Leg 3: Roaring Forties is one of the longest and most testing races of the circumnavigation, where huge swells, ferocious weather conditions and freezing temperatures are not uncommon, and the crew can expect to spend around 20-25 days at sea, in heavy weather in one of the most remote parts of the planet before arriving in Fremantle to some well-earned Aussie sunshine.

Capetonian Skipper Ryan Gibson, who led his Dare To Lead team to victory into his home port on the previous Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown, spoke ahead of the race to Australia:

"I think everyone is ready, and the boat is ready. It's a north westerly wind, so it should be a really nice start and a nice way to leave Cape Town. This is a difficult leg, so I'm a little bit anxious but excited. It's a long leg, so we have to be really safe but still we want to push the boat and have a really good race.

"We are getting a low pressure quite early, by day two. There's a lot of low-pressure systems between here and Australia and in the middle, I think we will get some really big seas. We want to find wind, but we don't want a lot of wind. We could have 70-80 knots in a big system so we'll try and avoid that, but hopefully it will be big, downwind, fast sailing, I think! Everyone is feeling so good, and I think everyone is still going to bring the momentum from winning the last race. The crew are fitting in, but everyone is feeling good and ready for another good result and a good sail. The current is something to watch out for in the beginning, then it's just looking for good systems all the way to Australia."

As the yachts race away from the Cape of Good Hope, the teams will head toward the Roaring Forties, where the crew can expect some of the most exhilarating sailing on the planet, in one of the most remote areas- something that few sailors get to experience.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Clipper Race founder and Chairman of Clipper Ventures summed up the conditions ahead for the team: "If you get it right, and are reaching, you'll really go. Then the fun comes when the waves build up, and you tend to start surfing. In the past we've had boats going over 30 knots going down the front of the wave. Until you see this, you haven't seen how majestic raw nature is.

"When you see the crews come into Fremantle, you'll see them stand a little taller, a little more confident and self-assured. Because they've done it. They've been in the Roaring Forties; they've had their turn sailing through the Roaring Forties. Not many people have done it, so they will become part of an elite and something very special in sailing terms."

First to cross the start line was Yacht Club Punta Del Este, followed closely by Our Isles and Oceans and Qingdao.

Race Director, Mark Light said: "It was a good upwind start, Yacht Club Punta Del Este got across the line first, followed by Our Isles and Oceans and Qingdao. The yachts all used different tacks to cross the line, they looked really powered up and well healed over.

"It was a really good start and I think they will have a great beat up to the first virtual mark"

Among the Clipper Race fleet, there are 13 Australian crew members who will experience the pride of sailing into their home country. Among them is Justin Howard, an agronomist from Queensland who is sailing around the world on PSP Logistics: "I get to go home three times: Fremantle, Newcastle and Airlie Beach, and my children are going to come and see me then! In your mind, when you hit the tough times, but when you think about seeing your family and going back to your home country where you are very comfortable really gets you through those times. I'm really excited about this race. We have seven new crew on board who have a really nice vibe and they're ready to go!"

The fleet is expected to arrive in Fremantle between 8-11 December. From here, the crews will have time to recharge before Leg 4: The Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg where the teams will race to Newcastle and Airlie Beach.

Related Articles

Marlow Roaring Forties Challenge
Thoughts from the Clipper Race fleet The eleven Clipper Race Skippers have had their final briefing ahead of Race 4: Marlow Roaring Forties Challenge from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. Posted on 17 Nov
Capetonian Skipper leads team to victory
In South Atlantic Ocean race into home city After a gruelling 3,500nm race across the South Atlantic, from Punta del Este, Uruguay, the Clipper Race fleet is arriving in Cape Town, with Dare To Lead, Skippered by Capetonian Ryan Gibson, taking the win. Posted on 11 Nov
The Clipper Race is returning to Cape Town
This edition is the eleventh time the race will arrive in Cape Town After the action-packed stopover in Punta del Este, Uruguay, the fleet is now closing in on Cape Town, taking on the epic 3,555nm journey across the South Atlantic. Posted on 5 Nov
Clipper Race 3 Day 9: Scoring Gate results are in
The TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown It's Day 9 of Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown and the Scoring Gate results are in. Posted on 2 Nov
Clipper Race 3 update: Stop go, stop go
That's been the theme of this race to Cape Town so far, but could that be about to change? That's been the theme of this race to Cape Town so far, but could that be about to change? Posted on 27 Oct
Clipper Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown
Race across South Atlantic from Punta del Este to Cape Town begins After an electric stopover hosted by the YC 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. Posted on 24 Oct
Mother and daughter cross Atlantic Ocean
As part of 40,000nm Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Amanda Shehab, 56 and daughter Megan Allpress, 26 have arrived into Uruguay having crossed the Atlantic Ocean together and ticking off the first major ocean crossing of the competition. Posted on 24 Oct
Clipper Race: Five Scottish cross Atlantic Ocean
The first major ocean crossing of the Clipper 2023-24 Race Five Race Crew from Scotland have just crossed Atlantic Ocean - the first major ocean crossing of the Clipper 2023-24 Race. Posted on 23 Oct
Hundred Years Cup Punta del Este prizegiving
An extravaganza celebrating the Clipper Race teams A Punta del Este prize-giving extravaganza celebrated Race 2: Hundred Years Cup. Posted on 19 Oct
Clipper Race returns to Cape Town this November
The epic journey through the South Atlantic and will take around 17 days Having left Portsmouth, UK on 3 September, the fleet of eleven racing yachts had already completed over 1,200 nautical miles, which took them to Puerto Sherry in Spain, a first in the history of the race. Posted on 16 Oct