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5 Clipper 1516 Sydney to Hobart race

6 Clipper 1516 Hobart to Whitsundays

7 Clipper 1516 Whitsundays to Viet Nam

8 Clipper 1516 Da Nang to Qingdao

9 Qingdao to Seattle

10 Seattle to Panama

11 Panama to New York

12 New York to Londonderry

13 Londonderry to Den Helder

14 Den Helder to Southend-on-Sea, London

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Home > Miscellaneous > Sailing > Clipper 1516 Whitsundays race to Da Nang, Viet Nam - leg 7

Clipper 1516: Whitsundays to Da Nang, Vietnam: Leg 7

This page refers to the Virtual Clipper round the world sailing race game and the log of the BRITPACK 7 team.

The start is 07:00 GMT Monday 18th Jan 2016.

To join in the race game go to Virtual Regatta (external link) and invent your boat. Its free of charge for a boat with basic sails and manual steering. You can pay for options: faster pro sails, a route waypoints programming capability and automatic locking of the wind angle. Boats with options are called AO (avec options). Boats without options are called SO (sans options). In the team competition the scores for SO and AO boats are adjusted to compensate for the difference.  Obviously, in the main individual boats race, an AO boat does better and has more chance of winning a prize. The number of competitors is now over 43616.

Our Britpack 7 team comprises 8 boats, the first 5 of which score in each race. We need more boats volunteered on standby, in case someone wants a rest, drops out or does not start. Email me eric@satsig.net

Our team comprises:

Beowulf 1
Kames Bay
Lady Phyllis May

Start of leg 7, the twelve strong fleet of real yachts leave Airlie Beach, Whitsundays and head for Da Nang in Vietnam. Watch this video :

Clipper 70's starting from Hobart in the previous leg.

BRITPACK 7 Team log here...

7amGMT 18th Jan 2016.  At about 6:55 I managed to login and set the heading to 34 deg using my portable Android device with a 2" x 3" screen.  I had estimated a starting bearing of 35 deg based on weather forecast that was 48 hours old. After 7am I was unable to login and this remained the case for three hours till 10am.

This was a complete mess up at the start.  It may have affected everyone, and unfortunately will have meant that most boats will have proceeded north west locked to the slow default heading for the first 3 hours. 

Obviously, people can choose which way to go but having been involuntarily pointed slowly going north west for 3 hours, this rather sets you up on a long term strategy route via the south of New Guinea, which may or may not have been your preferred choice.

I'm now back from the shopping and have updated my GRIB forecast and generated a new possible routing. See below. I deliberately chose the longer route via the north of New Guinea, hoping for stronger (yellow) winds to the north.

Sailing routing to the north of New Guinea

Possible routing shown above, having chosen to go round the east end of Papua New Guinea with the objective of getting into the stronger (yellow) winds further north. It is a strategic decision and a bit of a gamble - one way or the other might turn out to be best. No idea right now as super long term wind forecast not available. Someone clever might be able to put together average GRIB files for each month of the year. Now that would be a good project !

Start of the Clipper race: Whitsundays to Dan Nang, Vietnam

1pm This is what it looks like 6 hours after the start from Whitsundays by the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. It looks like the bulk of the fleet have followed the 'suggested; orange route to the north west.  I'm out on a limb to the east (red boat with white circle). My position now is 11845, which might well be the "sweep" position, i.e. right at the back! There are supposed to be some 43,616 competitors but  don't see much sign of most of them. Sad.

About 10,500 boats have gone north west and 2,800 gone north east.

Alternative sailing routes to Soloman Sea

6:22pm 18th Jan. Possible routes for this evening and next 3 days, for Aberlady and satsig.net.

22:04pm 8th Jan. My position now 13,324th

Sailing the Coral Sea

12:21G 9th Jan 2016.  I'm now down to 13724 and far out to the east. I'm aiming for a narrow channel at the east end of New Guinea between Sideia Island and Basilaki Island.

Satellite view image
(satellite view image from http://www.satsig.net/maps/satellite-photo-image-viewer.htm )

Intended route. The gap is just 400m wide and at 9kts the boat goes 1.5 nautical miles in a straight line per 10 minutes.


Sailing towards New Guinea

Both routes going well, but I'm now 350 miles behind the leaders and this looks to get worse as the wind remains good for the west group.

Satellite view of virtual Clipper boats in the Coral Sea

I was becoming a bit lonely thinking there might be only 15 boats going the north east route. So I had a look at this satellite view which shows there are thousands, possibly the 2,800 or so, that I estimated earlier. It is interesting to see so many boats are in the intermediate area.

qtvlm route analysis

20 Jan 1200G.  Starting where I am now and aiming in the general direction of an arbitrary buoy R001, it appears that the south route boats will be some 700 miles ahead in 7 days time (the length of my GRIB weather forecast). They are already some 350 miles ahead now (around the 270 number mark on the compass). To make up 700 miles in 7 further days, due to possibly stronger winds north of the equator, needs a speed difference of 4kt all the time.  We will see...

20 Jan 16:49G. Next problem is tackling this 400m wide gap between the islands (see fifth image further up this page). I've been adjusting the wind angle to 120 deg, every 20 minutes or so, to keep speed to maximum. The wind direction changes near the coast and I will turn more to the east just prior to setting up the trajectory into the gap. Hoping not to run aground.

Wriggling through a narrow creek

20 Jan 2016  8pm.  A rather intense last hour wriggling through a narrow creek !

Team members not shown above are Beowulf 1, Lady Phyllis May and Flambouyant. I must try and give them some attention tomorrow. They have probably gone off in the north west direction, where most of the fleet went, and are already some 400 miles nearer the finish than ourselves.

BRITPACK 7 full team boat locations

21 jan 2016: 0842G. Here is the full team locations. Flambouyant leading with Lady Phyllis May and Beowulf 1 close behind. The eastern group are 480 miles behind.

Real Clipper race routing map: Whitsundays to a Nang

10:05G  Heard on the radio: Just looked at the Real Race to see where the actual boats are -- They are all going to the east.  Why ?, because they have 2 gates to go through. Why do we not do the same course as the Real Boats?  Both here and in the Fastnet.  Just spent a little time on the rocks - but am OK now - till the next time!

I agree; it is a pity the course for the Virtual Race is not the same as the Real Race. It would also be interesting to have the positions of the Real Boats shown on the Virtual race screens.

qtvlm comparison of the prospects for two sailing groups

After a further 7 days the west group may be approx 480 miles ahead, the length of the red arrow. The outer boundary yellow line shows where you are supposed to be able to get to in 7 days.

Slow progress due to light winds

11:05G 23rd Jan 2016. Very slow progress in the eastern group for the last 2 days due to light winds 3 - 5kts. My position now 14680th !  ( 14737at 1328G ). The furthest back boat I can find is Winalgo (yellow on the chart) at 14817th which has run aground on Yanaba Island.

Britpack 7 progress at 24th Jan 2016

13:50G 24th Jan.  Myself in the west group. Still lots of slow going with adverse light winds from the north west and its tropical raining most of the time. Not sure of the prospects, the problem being that every day the slow moving adverse winds seem to move ahead into where we want to go.  What hope of a breakout into the better north easterlies with are clearly there, but keep moving further north in latitude each day.

Stronger winds in the yellow areas

This shows a 7 day forecast, indicating that by next Saturday the strong wind (yellow) area will have moved well north. It looks like the yellow route line for the westerly group might win. At the ends of the two route lines, the range difference to the finish in Da Nang is about 200 miles with 900 miles to go. I'll have to look at navigable routes through that mass of Phillipine islands.

Sailing to Da Nang

25th Jan. 1919G. Latest analysis puts both groups about equal, with south group just a little ahead. Distance to go 550 miles (from 7 days time). The software can't find a route through the islands south of Manilla, so selects the north route, corresponding to the real boats. I'm now 15479th, definitely close to the back of the fleet !

Alternative sailing routes

26 Jan 1200G  I find it hard to believe that there is any hope for out easterly group.  The west group have much less distance to go and the wind is the west does not appear significantly light.  Our possible winds to the north look smooth and strong, maybe giving a 2-3ky advantage, but it takes a long time to make up 1700 miles difference. So much for yesterday's optimistic 'computer' assessment !" Time to put the spinnaker up and turn left a bit this afternoon.


Finally got some decent wind

27th Jan. 0953. Things are looking up a bit. I've been ill with bad cold for last few days and a feeling a little better now. Last night, we finally got some decent wind from behind and starting from the back, at about 15500th place, gained some 3000 places in 12 hours.  Repeat that five times and we could win! Some chance...

Added the real boats with orange dots.

Southern route looking a better choice

From Aberlady: At 0730hrs on the 1st February there seems little doubt that the southern route is better by far. We are indeed fortunate that 3 of our team have taken the Southern Route with Lady Phyllis May leading our fleet with 1021 nm to go. Then it is Beowulf1/1038 & Flambouyant/1045 next we have Aberlady/1320 who is taking a middle route through the Islands. Kames Bay is leading the 2nd half of our team on the Northern route with 1337 nm to go?followed by Satsignet/1399, Mullionman/1456 and Minzapint 1470.

Zezo indicates that Lady Phyllis May is due to finish around mid-day on the 3rd, Aberlady and Kames Bay at 0200hrs on the 4th Feb. There are going to be the odd sleepless nights - especially for me dodging between all those islands

 Comparison of sailing routes to Da Nang using qtvlm

30th Jan 2016: 1022G.  qtvlm gives similar results. See above. Lady Phillis May is expected to arrive 3rd Feb 16:17. Kames Bay is expected to arrive 4th Feb 01:54

Round the world Clipper race: yacht positions midway to Da Nang


Ocean sprint course for Clipper RTW

31 Jan  14:12G  Interesting situation with team boats non on three quite different routes to the finish.

Three different routes to Da Nang

2nd Feb 2016:  08:40G

Three different routes to Da Nang

2 Feb 2016, 19:49G  Closing in on the finish at Da Nang. The south west group are doing  about 12kt, north group 16kt and Aberlady in the middle currently 14kt.

Lady Phyllis May in the lead, followed by Beowulf 1 and Flambouyant.

3rd Feb 13:40 Approaching the finish. Lady Phyllis May is in the lead, with about 15 miles to go, followed by Beowulf 1 and Flambouyant.

Kames Bay, Flambouyant and Aberlady approaching the finish

3rd Feb 2213G. Kames Bay has done really well via the longer north route and has just pipped Flanbouyant at the finish.

Mullionman and Minzapint finishing

4th Feb 2016. pm.   Finally Mullionman, Minzapint and all the team are now safely home at the finish.

Team results listing

The "Round the World Clipper" boats in the real race have all followed the north east course and are well ahead of schedule with the lead boats having just rounded the north end of the Phillipines, so much so that their course has been extended by about 1200 miles to the south west before turning north to Da Nang. The timing lines for the ocean sprint section of their race have been altered. They don't want to arrive too early in Da Nang as the customs people will be on holiday and the crew visas, lasting 15 days, need to extend to the time of the next start scheduled for 27 Feb: Race Start of Race 8 to Qingdao.

If anyone wants a rest please tell me. If anyone wants to join the team please tell me.

If you want to add comment or images here please send to me by email: eric@satsig.net

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Page created 17th January 2016, amended 30th July 2016   ECJ (c) 2016 Copyright Satellite Signals Limited, All rights reserved.