Hull & Humber extends Clipper Race lead, Jamaica successfully evacuates injured crew member 18/9/07

Skipper Danny Watson and the crew onboard Hull & Humber capitalised on their early gains overnight in Race 1 of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race from Liverpool to La Rochelle.

At 0600 GMT Hull & Humber was 23 miles ahead of Qingdao, and had a total of 231 miles left to run to the finish. Overnight Jamaica Skipper Simon Bradley and his crew conducted the successful evacuation of an injured 40-year-old crew member to the Penlee RNLI lifeboat.

At 0420 GMT on Tuesday the injured crew member was transferred from Jamaica on to Penlee in Mounts Bay, Cornwall in the south-west of England. The crew member sustained neck and chest injuries on Monday evening after the yacht crash gybed during Race 1 from Liverpool to La Rochelle.

Jamaica has retired from Race 1 and will make best speed to La Rochelle to prepare for Race 2.

The nine boats still racing are experiencing some exhilarating downwind sailing in a brisk northerly breeze. Qingdao reports that they have their own onboard competition underway between their two watches for the maximum boat speed logged. “The current competition onboard is between Slam watch and Glam watch for the highest boat speed surfing down the waves and the winners change frequently,” Qingdao reported in this morning’s blog.

Race Director Joff Bailey said: “The fleet has continued to make fast progress towards the finish overnight with most of the boats mid-channel heading towards the Ushant reporting point. Hull & Humber are still dominating this race having been in the lead from the start. Skipper Danny Watson will be hoping his fortunes and the wind hold up for him as he starts to go along the Brittany coast line towards the finish.

“Hull & Humber may be leading by more than 20 miles, but the weather forecast shows the winds dropping to almost nothing overnight and the whole fleet will slow down considerably. This will cause many place changes over the last few miles so it is all to play for.”

The Race Team expects the first boat to arrive during the day tomorrow and all boats to finish by Wednesday night.