Adam KYFFIN and his crew aboard Liverpool Clipper have once again stolen the race start glory by securing a brilliant start to the fourteenth race of the Clipper 2002 Round the World Series.
The 4,200 nautical mile charge from the Brazilian port of Salvador to New York, USA, got underway today at 12:15 local time.
As the fleet prepared in torrential rain this morning it looked as though the race start was going to be uncharacteristically wet. Thankfully the sun gods smiled upon the fleet to see the squalls pass and brilliant sunshine out once again.
Liverpool Clipper, in spectacular form, crossed the start line first just off the Nautical Centre of Bahia, CENAB. With firecrackers exploding onshore they had a nice distance between themselves and the overall race leaders on Bristol Clipper, who were in hot pursuit.
Slipping into third place, Rupert PARKHOUSE and his team aboard Glasgow Clipper were trimming hard as they passed the Committee Boat. Following on from them, Cape Town, Jersey, Hong Kong and London all squeezed across the line together in a close pack.
Having won the prize for enjoying the longest stopover, New York Clipper was obviously reluctant to leave. Having arrived first into Salvador, the team were in eighth place across the start line. With skipper Ross DANIEL'S crew sporting new t-shirts with the slogan "Go get em Rosco" emblazoned across the back, the New Yorkers won't be planning to stay at the rear of the fleet for long as they race their boat to its namesake city.
As the mini flotilla of spectator boats, press and committee boats made their way up the coast, the fleet was already splitting. Rory GILLARD and the crew of London Clipper had chosen to stay closer inshore than others, which does not appear to have done them any favours.
Further out to sea, Jersey Clipper who had inched their way up the fleet were almost abreast of Glasgow Clipper and closely chasing archrival Bristol.
Adam KYFFIN however was proudly helming Liverpool Clipper out in front as they passed the St Antonio Lighthouse at least half a mile in front of the fleet. The next twelve hours will reveal how the eight yachts all fare!
Full position reports are available on the event website at the address below.
Judging from the weather onshore over the past few days the fleet will spend their first night at sea in fairly squally conditions. At present there is a nice breeze blowing, about a force 4, which in fairly calm seas should make for a great night's sailing for the beginning of the final stretch - leg 6 of the Clipper 2002 Round the World Yacht Race.