16
Jan 2018

Following a thrilling drag race with winners Visit SeattlePSP Logistics crossed the finish line at 15:30:05 local time (05:30:05 UTC), completing the 1,600-nautical mile sprint up the east coast of Australia from Hobart in eleven days, just 25 minutes and 31 seconds behind winners Visit Seattle.

“It feels great to be back on the podium,” says PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell, Matt Airlie

“We have been very close in the last couple of races in the All-Australian Leg 4. We were leading for most of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and then got knocked out by a wind hole so it’s great to be on the podium again.”

The result went right down to the wire. The eleventh and final morning at sea saw PSP Logistics off the coast of Mackay and just 5 nautical miles astern of the leading team, Visit SeattleSanya Serenity Coast was only another mile further back in third, with just 7 nautical miles separating Visit Seattle from the fourth placed Liverpool 2018.

South African Michael Duffy, who has now completed both the Southern Ocean Leg 3 and the All-Australian Leg 4, says: “That was a really tough leg but the final 24 hours was pretty pleasant with the spinnaker up and being driven by south-easterlies. We tried to catch Visit Seattle but couldn’t quite get there in the end but very proud to finish second.”

After leading the fleet past the Iron Pot and out of the Derwent in Tasmania, PSP Logistics fell back down the rankings into eleventh place after opting for the most easterly route of all the fleet. The move paid off however, with the team moving into fifth place by day five and then pushing for the overall win in the final 24 hours.

“It’s become fairly standard now for PSP Logistics to take the longest route,” joked round the world crew member Fiona Robertson.

“But we were so close in the end. It was a long night chasing Visit Seattle and even though we didn’t get there, we are so happy with second.”

PSP Logistics, like the rest of the Clipper Race fleet, had it tough, firstly with upwind conditions up the southeast coast of Australia and then with the arrival of two Southerly Busters in the waters off Queensland.

Skipper Matt added: “Upwind on a Clipper 70 is never comfortable. We had quite strong winds a lot of the time and our initial strategy didn’t really pay off either so we kind of started off on the back foot which was annoying. Then we had two Southerly Busters came in, lots of lightning and difficult conditions.

“But despite the hardships on board, even when we were going upwind and the boat was leaning at 45 degrees, the spirit of the team made all the difference.”

Di Andary from Victoria who will finish her Clipper Race in the Whitsundays agrees, adding: “About 80 per cent of that was pretty tough. But we dug deep and everyone just helped each other over the line, it was truly amazing.”

Other than the podium finish, the other high for PSP Logistics in Race 6 was coming second in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, which will see the team add another two bonus points to its overall tally.

This is the third podium for PSP Logistics which were third in both the opening race from Liverpool, UK, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, and also in Race 3 from Cape Town, South Africa, to Fremantle, Western Australia.

Airlie