SYDNEY – Sports — Eric Holden was voted Sailor of the Month by Sail Canada for his winning performance in the Clipper Race last month in what is regarded as the toughest global endurance challenge. Now the Canadian Sailor might have his hands on that honour again.
Sailing in Thunder Bay might have wound down for the 2013 season. However it is early spring in the southern hemisphere. Canadian skipper of Henri Lloyd, Eric Holden, crossed the finish line into Sydney, Australia at 0315 local time (UTC+11), his first race win and fourth consecutive podium result in the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race.
Holden and his amateur crew celebrated their win with Champagne in Rushcutter Bay which consolidates their overall lead of the 2013-14 Clipper Race series to date.
Arriving into Sydney, Eric said: “This win has been a long time coming; we’ve been the bridesmaid for the last couple of races so it’s nice to do one better and win Race 5 in Sydney, Australia.
“People have been asking me if I would be happy winning the overall race without winning one. My answer is always yes, but it feels so much better to win a race then come second or third.
“What’s been interesting about this race has been the mixture of offshore and inshore racing. With the interchangeable weather it meant a lot more sail changes and a lot more work for the crew.
“Our strategy for this race was to take it more conservatively and when our chance came we were ready to push hard and make it count.”
The team used the 2150 mile race from Albany, Western Australia, via the Southern Ocean as further training ahead of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race the entire Clipper Race fleet will take part in on 26 December.
The race from Albany to Sydney followed a particularly brutal and dramatic Southern Ocean crossing. Early on in the race, two boats had to divert and medevac off injured crew after exceptionally strong wind speeds when gusts in excess of 90 miles per hour lashed the fleet, providing dramatic surfs and towering waves as it headed south through the Indian Ocean’s Agulhas Current into the Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean. Every two to three days, the yachts were hit by new low pressure systems which made for an epic and particularly challenging Leg.
The remainder of the fleet will arrive into the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia over the next two days.
The fleet’s progress can be tracked through the Clipper Race Viewer at
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