It could take up to a month to rectify the Clipper fleet's keel problems 10/2/06

Clipper Ventures PLC has announced that it will cover the costs for crew taking part in its Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race to be flown home while keel problems are being assessed and repaired on its fleet of 10 Clipper 68s see previous news story here. 

The marine events company’s fleet of boats is currently berthed in Subic Bay in the Philippines after being diverted during Race 6 from Singapore to Qingdao due to keel problems.

In a statement issued to crews at Subic Bay Yacht Club yesterday morning, Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston explained that the work on the ocean racing yachts is likely to take around a month and arrangements will be made for crews to travel home whilst repairs are carried out.

Sir Robin said: “Crews will be only too aware of the problem that has affected the yachts. We believe that by the time the problem has been properly assessed and a solution decided upon, plus the remedial work carried out, the Clipper race will be delayed by as much as a month, although this is by necessity an approximate date.”

Clipper Ventures said that it will arrange for crew to be either flown home for the duration of the delay, or receive the cost of such flights in lieu. Crew members that were due to leave the race in China will be flown to from Manila to Qingdao by Clipper to catch pre-booked flights.

“We have taken this action swiftly to minimise disruption to crews,” Sir Robin said. “The Clipper crews are at the heart of the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Race, and we hope that this move to cover travel expenses demonstrates that they remain our priority as we endeavour to get them racing again as soon as possible.”

Sir Robin said that once the remedial work has been completed, it is intended to continue the race as originally planned. “This will mean delays to the original schedule, and the new schedules will be published once we have a firm date for the completion of the remedial work.”

A team of experts are flying out from the UK to assess the damage and present a proposed timeframe for the repairs to be completed, and Clipper Ventures expects to have a clearer idea of when the fleet will depart the Philippines to continue the race by the latter part of next week.