Clipper yachts start Leg 6 from Singapore to China 30/1/06

The ten Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race yachts crossed the start line of leg six from Singapore to Qingdao, China, on Friday.

Durban was first to cross the start line, closely followed by Qingdao and New York, however, the Aussie magic ran a little thin crossing the line in last place. The conditions were perfect with bright sunshine and a north-north east breeze of 15 knots.

There was a minor rumble on the South China Sea involving Cardiff, Liverpool 08 and Qingdao. With the fleet jostling for clear air on the windward end of the start line, as soon as the start gun fired, Liverpool 08 and Cardiff collided resulting in all three yachts being involved in protests that have now been lodged with the race committee.

The 2,722-mile race will take almost three weeks. The fleet is due to arrive in Qingdao, China – the sailing city to the Beijing Olympics 2008 on 13 February. On board celebrations are about to kick off as the fleet will celebrate the Chinese New Year as they head to the East.

Richard Falk, skipper of Uniquely Singapore, currently in sixth position chatted about the start: “Thankfully we had a clean start and left around mid fleet with Qingdao, Cardiff and Liverpool all getting tangled up with one another at the start. Their protests are all still pending.

“It was a lumpy upwind start in around 20 kts of wind. It was a rude awakening for crews who have not really seen upwind conditions of any significance since our approach to the west coast of Africa many months ago. I am sure the next two weeks or so will be ample time for everyone to get over their seasickness and to get used to life on a lean once again.

“Unfortunately this morning [Sunday] we broke our port side running backstay. It is a heavy steel cable that helps support the mast and will be absolutely vital later in the race when we get into heavier upwind conditions.

“Fortunately although it landed on Claus and myself when it came down no-one was injured.

“We lost about three hours as Thong Meng once again proved his daredevil status by climbing the mast and jury rigging a spectra runner that we prepared for him. The whole episode cost us about five miles and we are now desperately trying to claw that distance back as we speak.”

Current positions

1 westernaustralia

2 Jersey 1 miles from leader

3 Liverpool 2 miles from leader

4 Durban 3 miles from leader

5 Victoria 9 miles from leader

6 Singapore 10 miles from leader

7 New York 12 miles from leader

8 Glasgow 17 miles from leader

8 Qingdao 17 miles from leader

10 Cardiff 35 miles from leader