All ten Clipper boats are back in the water after a seven week postponement in the Philippines 22/3/06
After seven weeks in dock when all ten of the Clipper boats were lifted out midway through the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race due to hull structural problems, the Clipper fleet is back in the water.
At 0350 GMT Subic Bay Philippines, the Australian entry westernaustralia.com was lowered back into the water – the final boat in the ten-strong Clipper fleet to be re-launched after undergoing remedial work in the Philippines.
This morning also saw the Cardiff and Jersey Clippers, hauled back into the water at Subic Bay to join the seven boats already afloat. Eight of the boats now have their rigs back in, with just Jersey and westernaustralia.com waiting for their masts to be stepped. Working around the clock, the race was on this morning to get as many rigs back in before the afternoon breeze kicked in, and the team overseen by Simon Rowell (Assistant Race Director) and two professional riggers from The Rig Shop in Southampton managed to get Liverpool 08, Uniquely Singapore and Durban’s rigs back in by lunchtime after a 6am start [local time].
Finishing touches are being made onboard Qingdao, the first boat to be re-launched, and she will be ready to sail tomorrow.
Meanwhile, back at the yacht club, crews are busy getting kit ready to stow back on the boats. Various crew meetings are underway, as skippers brief their returning crew on necessary preparations and what lies ahead for them over the coming days ahead of the race restart.
Clipper Ventures Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is delighted with the progress that has been made in the Philippines. “It has been a remarkable seven weeks in Subic Bay. I have been thoroughly impressed with the way everything has been handled by Green Marine and the general work-ethic has been truly staggering given the amount of progress that has been achieved. I am looking forward to arriving in the Philippines for the restart and seeing all ten boats back in the water, where they belong.”
Sir Robin stated the hull problem as being “due to the connection point between the solid laminate above the keel and the foam sandwich of the rest of the hull being too abrupt instead of tapering as it should have done”. Any flexing damaged the foam in the sandwich and made the problem worse. The three-man team from boat builder Green Marine are satisfied with the remedial work and confident the boats will be ready for the off.
Crew will be assisted by local workers as they prepare their boats over the coming days and skippers are allocating jobs to their crew to ensure that everything is in order for the race re-start on Saturday 25 March.
The Clipper 05 – 06 Round the World Yacht Race takes ten identical 68ft ocean racing yachts, all backed by international cities, islands and countries, on the world’s longest circumnavigation race – approx 35,000 miles. The race started on 18 September 2005 from Liverpool and expects to finish at the end of July 2006 at the same port.
Durban, South Africa
Fremantle, Western Australia
Subic Bay, Philippines
Port Antonio, Jamaica
New York, USA
Jersey, Channel Islands