Updated: May 14, 2021
Watch as the Seattle team entry in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race battle with the helm during a wild South Atlantic storm on Halloween during the 3,555 nautical mile Spinlock South Atlantic Showdown from Punta del Este, Uruguay to Cape Town, South Africa.
Battling giant 9 meter (30ft) high waves in 55mph of true wind, courageous Clipper Race Crew battled hard with the helm in order to maintain control with the yachts speed in excess of 25 knots (28mph). At times requiring three people at the helm to keep the 70ft racing yacht on course and at optimal speed.
Read Clipper Race Crew member John Hawkins diary account from the midst of the South Atlantic storm:
“But on a highlight note… for Halloween, we will never forget we had one of, if not the most spectacular days of sailing on this entire Round the World adventure so far.
At roughly Latitude 36 south, about 1500 miles west of Cape Town, we had a wonderful time sailing in true South Atlantic style. The weather started getting rough … if not for the courage of the fearless crew our sailboat would get tossed. Hahaha and tossed it did indeed.
The winds started to pick up at daybreak. The sour weather from the evening had passed and the sun was on the horizon. Within the first couple hours, the winds had grown and seas were looking a bit ominous. By about 9 am the winds had reached 40+ and the seas were pushing 4 to 5 meters. My dear readers this was just the beginning. The sea was rich and deep blue this day with massive white caps spraying off the crests of these great mammoth waves. As they crashed over the crest into the surf of each wave, the aerated seawater turned a very cool transparent light blue, with the sun-filled bright blue sky and the growing rolling seas the view was absolutely stunning. As spectacular as this was there was more to come. These waves grew to a point of 8.5 meters or near 30 ft, and the wind grew to 53 mph.
We were sailing a perfect reach and were flying down these huge waves. I was truly blessed to be in my position of helming during this incredible experience. Off one wave I clocked 22.8 knots. Somewhat like the fun of skiing an intense ski slope with all the adrenaline pumping through your veins. In addition to the awe-inspiring view and the intense speed, the absolute thrill of rogue waves would hit the yacht submerging parts of the deck sending huge cross waves crashing down over the deck washing away everything in its way, including at times some of our wonderful Seattle race crew. As intense and overwhelming as it was, the somewhat animated wave tosses made most of us laugh hysterically about the incredibly fun and unique experience this Halloween Day.”
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