Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Switzerland wins first podium

The crew of Switzerland celebrate finishing race 7 from Hobart to Brisbane, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Dan Peled / AAP
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Switzerland has won its first podium in Race 7 from Hobart to Brisbane to complete the Australian leg.

The only female skipper of the Clipper Race, Vicky Ellis, led the team to victory after missing out on Scoring Gate points by just a few boat lengths and being spurred on.

Switzerland crossed the line at 8.27pm local time, 10:27 UTC, 32 minutes ahead of Derry~Londonderry~Doire who finished at 8:59:53pm local time, 10:59:53 UTC, and OneDLL in third who finished at 9:19pm local time, 11:19 UTC.

Skipper Vicky Ellis, of Bristol, UK, said: 'We narrowly missed out on the Scoring Gate points and that really gave us the fire and inspiration we needed. We didn’t realise what that had done to us until Derry~Londonderry~Doire popped up behind us - five miles behind us after a battle to the end. I can’t tell you how good that feels. It was a fantastic and unexpected result.

'I have a great team and they worked their socks off. We had breezy conditions out of Hobart, a Bass Strait gale, a big, bad current and a final bit of tacking up the coast with Derry~Londonderry~Doire and OneDLL. I didn’t get much sleep as I was watching the two boats around me constantly.'

With some very tough racing and the equivalent of three Sydney to Hobart races in as many weeks, the fleet has now completed half of the eight-stage round the world ocean odyssey.

After leading the fleet for the majority of the race, Derry~Londonderry~Doire was overtaken in the closing stages by Switzerland.

Skipper Sean McCarter said: 'After six days of full on racing we are delighted to have obtained our second podium finish of the race so far. We gave it our all to get over the line ahead of Switzerland and I am extremely proud of the crew for pushing themselves to the max.

'The addition of OneDLL hot on our tails also added to the nail-biting finish, as they grabbed third position over the line. Hats off to their team and thanks for putting your foot down to keep us going!

'We talked about keeping the momentum going and thankfully managed to do it. We were leading a lot of the way and dropped a little bit at the end but it wasn't for the want of trying.'

OneDLL skipper Olly Cotterell said: 'We were always aiming to get a Scoring Gate point and another podium and that’s what we did and we are ecstatic. We had very varied conditions. Light winds, strong winds, wind on the nose and wind from behind and the guys worked very hard to do many different sail changes. We also had a really strong Australian Eastern Current (EAC) to deal with and really strong competition. It was very tiring and a tough race but it feels really worthwhile now. There was a lot of attention to detail with trim and it really paid off. We were a bit unlucky at the end with our kite but we clawed it back and were only four miles behind Derry~Londonderry~Doire at the end.'

The rest of the fleet is due into Brisbane throughout Wednesday after battling 60 knot winds, six metre seas, dealing with two medevacs and one yacht retiring during Race 7.

In the extremely tactical short race, Sydney to Hobart/Race 6 winners Derry~Londonderry~Doire also claimed the maximum three points on the Scoring Gate on day two.

Leg 5 sees the fleet race to Singapore followed by Qingdao, China.

Clipper Round the World