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The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has today published its final report into two fatal accidents in the 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the first in the event’s 20 year history.

The MAIB report is available to download via this link here.

The report highlights that the first fatality was a direct consequence of the crew member entering the cockpit danger zone, where they were struck by the mainsheet on the boom when the boat gybed (turned). The second fatality was the consequence of the crew member not clipping on when on deck, which is mandatory on Clipper Race yachts, and was subsequently washed overboard in adverse weather at night. The reasons why these individuals failed to follow their basic training in these incidents will remain unknown and theories are purely speculative.

The publication of the MAIB report has been welcomed by Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who comments: “The MAIB has an important role in ensuring that the valuable learnings from accidents are shared with the industry to help improve safety. These two fatalities, resulting from two very different incidents, were the first in our long history and are tragic, especially as they were caused primarily through momentary lapses in applying basic safety training.

“The report acknowledges that we have been proactive to mitigate the risks concerned even further. Safety has been our highest priority since the Clipper Race was established in 1996, amassing huge experience through ten biennial editions, 84 yacht circumnavigations (a cumulative four million nautical miles) with nearly 5000 crew undergoing extensive training. Manning arrangements and shore-based management have been developed to ensure skippers are adequately supported and these will continue to be regularly reviewed.

“We have developed our current manning levels and qualifications in conjunction with the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency), operating to MCA standards as a minimum and often well in excess. We frequently implement and develop safety procedures where there is no actual requirement; they are under constant review as a matter of course and we will continue to do so in light of the report’s recommendations.”

The Clipper Race has worked closely with the MCA for many years in developing its safety standards and procedures, and has helped develop MOB (man overboard) and recovery training with them and the MAIB prior to these incidents, which has included the assessment of AIS (Automatic Identification System) beacons. A minimum of at least one crew member per team is trained to qualify for a Clipper Race Coxswain Certificate, developed with, and approved by, the MCA, to support the skipper and take over in the event that they are incapacitated.

Clipper Race training is designed to ensure that amateur crew can handle the specific demands of large yacht ocean racing and even novices emerge as competent sailors. Training also includes an independently provided sea survival course recognised by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) and World Sailing, even though it is not a requirement.

Sir Robin added: “We will continue our long established collaboration with the MCA and MAIB, to develop, test and improve safety standards, devices, methods and procedures, not only for the benefit of Clipper Race crew but also to pass on any lessons learned, during the toughest around-the-world race that is available to amateur crew, to the sailing community at large.”

Ocean Racing is at the mercy of the elements and these can include extreme weather consisting of high winds and big seas, posing a risk of potential injury to crew and damage to yachts. Good maintenance, operating standards and procedures are used to minimise these risks and ensure that safe working practices are maintained. The Clipper Race aims is to ensure all risks are identified and managed, providing appropriate levels of safety, aboard its own matched fleet of twelve identical 70-foot yachts.

Many crew are attracted by the scale of the challenge and adverse conditions to achieve something remarkable, whether it be a single ocean crossing or an entire circumnavigation. The weather makes no exception for their status; they face the same harsh conditions as any other ocean race. Hence, professional standards are applied throughout. At more than 40,000 nautical miles, the Clipper Race is one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.

The eleventh edition of the Clipper Race will start from the UK in August this year and return in late July 2018.


ANDREW ASHMAN (49) - A paramedic from Orpington, Kent, was participating in three legs of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

The incident occurred on 4 September 2015, a few days into the first stage of the race from London to Rio de Janeiro in the North Atlantic approximately 120 nautical miles west of Porto, on the Portuguese coast. Andrew Ashman, an experienced sailor who had completed the Clipper Race’s mandatory four part, four week, intensive training, stepped over the main sheet traveller, a high obstruction in the danger zone between two prominent winches, when he was hit by the mainsheet on the boom. He sustained a high impact neck injury that is believed to have killed him instantly. This is a high-risk area taught to the crew during training because of the danger of being hit by the boom.

There are a number of scenarios which may cause this to happen. In this instance the boat performed an accidental double gybe (turn) resulting in the failure of a strop holding a ‘foreguy/ preventor’ line. The report acknowledges that it is probably not feasible to design a preventer system that, for yachts of the size used by the Clipper Race, will not fail under any circumstances; indeed, it could be more dangerous if it did not. However, MAIB has recommended that the Royal Yachting Association, World Sailing and British Marine work together to provide advice on the use and limitations of different rope types and for the manufacturers in this instance to review the information provided on their data sheets and to work with other rope producers to share any limitations with the marine sector for more accurate calculation of their strength and breaking strains.

SARAH YOUNG (40) – A company owner from London was participating in the full circumnavigation of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

The incident happened on 1 April 2016, day 12 of the North Pacific leg from Qingdao in China to Seattle on the west coast of the US, at 39 North, 160 East, approaching the International Date Line. Round-the-world crew member Sarah Young was on deck at night during a storm with wind speeds over 40 knots, gusting over 60 knots, following the reduction of sail area to respond to the adverse conditions, when a wave broke over the deck causing her to lose her footing ending up next to the guardrail when a second wave washed her overboard as she was not connected to the boat by her safety tether.

The conditions were horrendous and by the time Sarah was located via her AIS beacon and recovered from the heavy seas she had sadly perished. Due to the long distance from landfall Sarah was buried at sea once the sea conditions had calmed sufficiently.

In adverse weather crew will perform to the best of their ability in the prevailing conditions when a ‘text-book’ procedure may simply not be practical. The MAIB acknowledge that the Clipper Race has all these factors under constant review and recommends it should continue to minimise the risks associated with a Man Overboard (MOB) incident. Recovery will always be challenging which is why so much emphasis is placed on the use of MOB drills and safety tethers. The MAIB have attended the Clipper Race’s frequent tests of equipment and procedures prior to these incidents.

The following aspects were highlighted in the report:
Tethering arrangements and procedures have been developed in consultation with the MCA and MAIB and will continue to be reviewed regularly. The Clipper Race has two tethers on the special life jackets that are manufactured for each race. MAIB personnel were present for testing and acceptance of the current system.
The Guardrail was designed to provide even greater protection than UK Government regulation requires. It is no substitute for clipping on, and would not prevent someone being thrown over the top of the guardrail. This is really a matter for the Ocean Racing Council, the International body that makes the yacht racing safety rules, to revise the standard if they think it appropriate.
AIS beacon carriage is not currently a requirement in any race, however the Clipper Race was the first to put AIS beacons on Dan Buoys, which are thrown into the sea to mark the position of a person who has fallen overside and will track their movement in the prevailing wind and currents. A number of beacons have been trialled for reliability. The issue of it becoming a requirement is a matter for the RYA, World Sailing and the MCA to comment. In Sarah’s case she wore a personal AIS beacon which had to be manually activated.
Sea Survival Training is not actually a requirement. The Clipper Race includes a course run by external providers which incorporates the demonstration of spray hoods as part of the syllabus. The courses used are those approved by the MCA, RYA and World Sailing. Health and safety considerations implemented by the providers restrict the level of ‘realism’ in terms of clothing and pool temperatures, but still provide a very valuable insight and practice for crew. The Clipper Race will review further with the providers but it should be noted that the same course is used by professional fishermen, an industry which has suffered 94 fatalities in the last 10 years, 526 people seriously injured, with some 200 boats lost.
MOB Recovery Training is provided extensively during pre-race training and throughout the race. Each boat is equipped with a 75KG dummy for MOB and recovery drills following development trials attended by the MAIB. The crew experience a wide range of weather conditions during their training and on the race, so they know what to expect, but there comes a point where it is not safe to run a drill in very adverse conditions.
Sail Plan Arrangements used by the Clipper Race, using piston stay hanks, are regarded as the safest and most reliable method. Adverse conditions hamper bringing sails down in any arrangement.

Published in Clipper Race

Hello and welcome aboard this week’ s edition of your maritime programme, the one thousand four hundredth edition of Seascapes ...this week we talk to Dr Deirdre Ni Conghaile of NUI Galway one of the speakers at last weekend’s  Conference in University College Cork ; we congratulate yachtsman and offshore sailor Mark Light on being appointed as Race Director of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race ; Grainne McPolin on the Oyster Season in Tralee Bay and we hear the winning entries in the Write By the Sea Literary Festival held in Kilmore Quay earlier this year with “The Vigil” by Imelda Carroll of Wexford and “My Friend Never Saw the Sea” by Mary Kavanagh from Wicklow from Jerry Early and “I’ll Go” marking the loss of lives to the sea off Arranmore Island in Donegal in 1940 and do make a note not to miss “Atlantic “ the excellent documentary from Richie O Donnell which is being screened this coming week on RTE One television on Thursday next 8th of December @ a quarter past ten.................First this week to Grainne McPolin who went aboard Solitaire in Tralee Bay a few weeks ago for Seascapes at the start of the Oyster Season ......

Grainne McPolin on board the Solitaire at the start of this years Oyster season ......

Former Derry-Londonderry skipper and offshore sailor Mark Light, 45, has been appointed Race Director of the unique Clipper Round the World Yacht Race...

An experienced sailor with many ocean crossings and over 120,000 nautical miles to his name, Mark competed in the Clipper 2011-12 Race as Skipper of the Derry-Londonderry team before becoming Deputy Race Director in 2012. With four years’ experience assisting the race planning, he is now looking forward to stepping up to the lead role, one of the most challenging that exists in global sailing.

Bird Watch Ireland launched a new report “ Life on the Edge “ Seabirds and fisheries in Irish waters .....last Friday which explores the interactions between fisheries and seabirds including the knock-on effects of food shortages on seabird breeding success; the impacts of seabird by catch and the opportunities to implement measures which will directly benefit seabirds.

A task force of is to be set up immediately to protect the Curlew, one of Ireland's most threatened breeding bird species. This was one of the main actions which arose out of the Curlew in Crisis workshop, which took place in Co. Westmeath in November. The workshop brought together almost 100 scientists and conservationists from across Ireland and the UK to discuss the crisis facing breeding Curlew in Ireland. Results from a survey funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service over the last two years show that just 130 breeding pairs of this bird remain in the Republic of Ireland and that the species is facing extinction here within the next 10 years if emergency action is not taken. You can download a podcast of last week’s edition of Seascapes featuring Jim Wilson on the plight of the curlew...

Indeed I was on the banks of Lough Lein at the Lake Hotel in Killarney last weekend in magnificent weather and the range of bird life was wonderful including a resident curlew amongst the many other species....

Last weekend at the Maritime History Conference in University College Cork we met up with one of the speakers - musician, producer, broadcaster, writer and Research Associate, Digital Cultures Initiative, Moore Institute, at NUI Galway …… Dr Deirdre Ni Conghaile of NUI Galway .....we talked about her description of fishermen and coal miners being kindred spirits ......

Dr Deirdre Ni Conghaile , Research Associate , Digital Cultures Initiative, Moore Institute , NUI Galway Deirdre mentioned ... “Atlantic “ is the new feature documentary from Risteard O’Domhnaill the film maker who made The Pipe . Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Brendan Gleeson, the film explores ocean resource mismanagement across Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland . When traditional fishing communities meet big oil and overfishing, what does the future hold ? Not to be missed......thats “Atlantic “ the excellent documentary from Richie O Donnell which is being screened this coming week on RTE One television on Thursday next 8th of December @ 10.15pm .

An extract from “I’ll Go” Composed by Jerry Early .....Remembering Arranmore islanders who lost their lives at sea in 1940 in the great loss of life at sea off the coast of one of our most beautiful offshore can download “I’ll Go” on itunes and read more on the Seascapes webpage.......

Next here on Seascapes to the winners of the inaugural Write By the Sea writing competition who are Imelda Carroll from Wexford for her prose piece, The Vigil, and Mary Kavanagh from Wicklow for her poem, My Friend Never Saw the Sea.”

Lucy Moore, Chairperson of the Write By The Sea organising committee, says “the judges, renowned writers, Billy Roche, Cat Hogan and Peter Murphy, were impressed with the high calibre of this year’s entries.......... So last week we invited Imelda and Mary to join us in the Seascapes studio to read their winning entries..first to Mary Kavanagh from Wicklow and her poem ...“My Friend Never Saw the Sea”

From Mary Kavanagh who is a keen radio fan to Imelda Carroll of Wexford who won the “Write By the Sea” literary festival in the short story category with her entry “The Vigil” ..

That’s it for this week here on your maritime programme....on the sound desk this week Bryan Fitzpatrick, until next Friday night tight lines and fair sailing”

Published in Seascapes

The waterfront of Derry city has been in festive mode in recent days with the full presence of the Clipper Round the World fleet, in which the home entry Derry/Londonderry/Doire is in the frame for a podium position when the next leg starts on Sunday to Den Helder in the Netherlands.

After that, there’s just one final sprint to complete the circuit back at the start port of London. But meanwhile in Derry, the waterfront beside the Foyle Marina has been given a fairground atmosphere thanks to a huge variety of market stalls and a continuous range of entertainment for all ages, with the city’s legendary hospitality being lavishly dispensed for all the crews and their support teams.

Published in Clipper Race

Today marks 50 days until the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet arrives in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to conclude a 3-race, 6-year, relationship which has seen its transformation as the UK’s first City of Culture to being positioned alongside the world’s most famous destinations as part of a sustainable legacy of trade, tourism and community development.

Before the Clipper 2015-16 Race even got underway, there was already chatter and excitement about the popular stopover in Derry-Londonderry scheduled for July 2016 as part of the Homecoming Leg. Among well-renowned and impressive stopover destinations around the globe such as Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Sydney and New York, this Host Port holds its own, as the Northern Irish city throws its arms open wide to welcome the Clipper Race crew and supporters.

This is the third time the race has visited Derry-Londonderry and the hospitality and warmth exuded by the locals has made it an exciting and fitting climax after the final ocean crossing in the 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation. The Foyle Maritime Festival which is centred around the stopover will run from 9 – 17 July and promises to be even bigger and better than ever before.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Host Port and Team Sponsor, Cllr Elisha McCallion says: “We are hugely excited about the arrival of the Clipper Race fleet in just 50 days’ time and are putting the final touches to our exciting programme of events for the Foyle Maritime Festival. Everyone in the city is thrilled to see our Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht blazing a trail by winning the last three races and up there in the front pack in the PSP Logistics Panama Cup. We are all looking forward to giving the crew a hero’s welcome when they arrive in the city for what promises to be a spectacular week of celebration.”

When the fleet begins to arrive around 7 July, the banks of the River Foyle will be lined with well-wishers, happy to share their historic city with our international crew. The festival kicks off in earnest on 9 July inside the Walled City, before moving down to the Quayside from 13 July. Showcasing all the city’s finest assets, there will also be a food festival at Ebrington Square called Clipper Race Kitchens where celebrity chefs will host live cook offs and food vendors will tempt you with tasty local produce.

There will be free public open boat tours on the quayside but you can also go one step further and register for a free motorsail on board a Clipper 70 on certain days throughout the festival. For more information on dates and times, visit the What’s On page on the Foyle Maritime Festival website.

As the stopover has been a huge success in the past, local businesses are keen to support the festival and some are working with the council to be Team Hosts for the Clipper Race crew. All twelve teams have a local business there to support them and hold an event in their honour during the stopover.

The Team Hosts are:
ClipperTelemed+ - The City Hotel
Da Nang – Viet Nam - RoCo
Derry~Londonderry~Doire - The Everglades Hotel
Garmin - Da Vinci’s
GREAT Britain - The Blackbird
IchorCoal - The Bentley
LMAX Exchange - Bishop’s Gate Hotel
Mission Performance - Pyke ‘N’ Pommes
PSP Logistics - Walled City Brewery
Qingdao - Browns in Town
Unicef - The Sandwich Co
Visit Seattle - Granny Annie’s

More details of what they have planned for the teams will be revealed in due course.

The Clipper Race fleet leaves New York on 20 June and is expected to arrive in Derry-Londonderry between 7-11 July. For more information on the festival, places to stay and what to do in Derry-Londonderry visit the Foyle Maritime Festival website.

To download press releases, images and media background information, please register for immediate access to our media portal

The crew will be available for interview in New York, Derry-Londonderry and during their crossing from America to Northern Ireland. Print interviews can be carried out with the crew while racing via email through the Clipper Race communications team. Broadcast interviews may also be possible via Skype or satellite phone. If you would like to follow their journey across the Atlantic Ocean then please contact the us to set up live, as live and print interviews.

Published in Clipper Race

The British sailor who died after being swept into the Pacific Ocean while competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has been buried at sea, organisers say.

Sarah Young, 40, was washed overboard while taking part in the Clipper Round the World yacht race. Her body was later recovered by her crewmates.

Miss Young is the the second person to die in this year's event - fellow Briton Andrew Ashman, a crew member on the same boat, died after being knocked unconscious in September.

Despite being amateurs, both Miss Young and Mr Ashman were experienced sailors.

BBC News reports Race organisers said Miss Young would be buried at sea because of the "long time it will take to reach closest landfall", and it would take place as soon as weather conditions allowed.

Miss Young's parents are deceased and she has no siblings, but her aunt in New Zealand gave the ceremony her blessing.

Organisers said there was a sombre mood with sailors reflecting on the "tragedy" as the race continued following the death.

From skipper Darren Ladd: Today at 1200 (UTC+12) we carried out the burial at sea of Sarah Young. Sarah was a close friend and an enthusiastic and accomplished sailor. Sarah and I would chat for hours in the navigation station about this and that. Every now and again she would come and sit next to me, give me a hug, and go again. No need to say anything, probably we both needed it.

Sarah was a valued crew member and amazing victualler. On deck she was fearless and could often be found at the bow wrestling with headsails, or up the mast wrestling wrapped spinnakers, even below decks wrestling crew to protect the biscuit ration. She was a great wrestler, never lost a biscuit.

The crew stood on deck with all the courage and dignity we could muster, read a few of Sarah's favourite prayers and poetry, before holding a minute’s silence. The ceremony was ended with a beautiful traditional Zulu song sung by our Sapinda Rainbow Ambassador, Charlotte.

Today has been one of the hardest days of my life. Never under-estimate the value of friendship and of team spirit. The support via email has been over-whelming and absolutely invaluable. Life is finite and often far too short.

Sarah was an adventurer and lived life to the full. She died an adventurer's death battling the elements circumnavigating the globe. I wish we could have said goodbye properly, we all do. The ceremony was for Sarah on behalf of all those that were fortunate enough to know her. Today we said goodbye, but she will always be present in our hearts.

Sarah will be sadly missed.

It's a bit of a mixed one weather-wise, but there is definitely a cold theme running through the day. It snowed earlier, there's a novelty at sea. I thought I was on to a winner when I fitted the good ship IchorCoal with central heating. Unfortunately we ran out of 50p coins a week ago.

We are pushing the fleet along making reasonable speed. The watches are cycling every 30 minutes, it's long enough to be outside. As a crew the focus is Seattle. With the wind strength more unpredictable than Jeremy Clarkson we got the old favourite Yankee 4, staysail and deep-reefed main up. Not too much enthusiasm for sail changes at the moment.

From Clipper Race:  Following guidance from the Doctor at our medical advisors and consultation with the Maritime Coastguard Agency, plus Sarah's partner, friends, family and the crew, we have decided to proceed with a burial at sea as soon as weather conditions permit, because of the long time it will take to reach closest landfall. We estimate that the earliest opportunity will be late this evening UK time, which is late morning Sunday in the fleet's current location in the North Pacific. The yacht has been sent details of the burial at sea ceremony which has been used for centuries by mariners, along with some personal readings from her loved ones, and will advise the Race Office with at least two hours’ notice when they are ready to proceed.

We appreciate that this will be a difficult and emotional time for the crew, the entire fleet and the whole Clipper Race family. Our thoughts remain with them all and with Sarah's partner, family and friends at this difficult time. Sarah was much loved, and will be missed deeply by all who kused her. On behalf of her family and friends, they have asked us to request that they are now allowed to grieve and remember Sarah in peace. We will provide an update when we have more information.

Published in Clipper Race

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor Elisha McCallion has expressed her shock and sadness at the tragic death of Sarah Young, a crew member on the IchorCoat Boat CV21, who died while participating in the Clipper Round the World Race.

She said news of Sarah’s tragic death was met with widespread dismay and sadness across the city and district.

“I am deeply saddened at the news and would like to extend my sincere sympathy, and those of the people of the city and district, to Sarah’s family at this very sad time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone associated with the Clipper Race, to all of the crew members, including members of our own Derry~Londonderry~Doire team, and the Clipper Round the World Race support team, who are affected by this tragic incident.

“ From speaking with those associated with the Clipper Round the World Race, I understand that Sarah was a very popular team member , with a real passion for adventure and a real team player. Our city has a very close affiliation to the Clipper Round the World Race, this is our third time participating in the event and we are looking forward to welcoming the teams to our port next summer as a stopover location on the final stage of the Race. We will be making contact with the skipper and crew of the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht and Clipper Ventures over the weekend to express our condolences and to provide any support and assistance we can,” she added.

Published in Clipper Race

We are deeply saddened to report the death of crew member Sarah Young (40), a company owner from London. Sarah was one of the crew aboard the IchorCoal boat (CV21). Next of kin have been informed and all our thoughts are now with Sarah's family, teammates, and loved ones on and off the race.

Skipper Darren Ladd reports that Sarah was tidying the cockpit after reefing the mainsail in 35 - 40 knots of wind, when she was knocked from her position by a wave. She fell back toward the guard wire and was swept under it by another wave at 1127 UTC/​2227 local time. She was not tethered onto the yacht at this time and was swept away in strong winds.

The boat immediately applied its man overboard drill but was hampered by the conditions and lack of direct visual. Her body was recovered on board using her AIS signal at 1244 UTC/2344 local time, and although resuscitation was attempted and telephone assistance provided by the Praxes Medical Group Doctors, the Clipper Race's remote telemedicine support service, she never regained consciousness.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed but is suspected as drowning or exposure. All other crew are reported safe and well and the team are working with Race Officials to evaluate the options on diversion or continuing to Seattle.

The incident happened on day 12 of the ninth race in the 14-stage Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, at 39 North, 160 East, approaching the International Date Line. This current race takes crew across the Pacific Ocean from Qingdao, China, to Seattle, USA and has over 3,242 miles left to its destination.

Sarah was the owner of a personal lifestyle company providing services for private high net worth individuals. A keen adventurer, the Clipper Race had been an ambition of hers for some years, and she said celebrating her 40th birthday just before setting sail from London was the perfect way to start her adventure.

Prior to the Clipper Race she had done other expeditions including spending a year in Sabah, northern Borneo, working for Raleigh Malaysia. Sarah had also led teams in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, had been mountaineering in Nepal and did a world-first 18 day trek down the Skeleton Coast unsupported. Sarah had also run a marathon and was a Divemaster. She leaves a partner but no children.

Sarah was one of the round the world crew and aside from missing a couple of races in Australia due to the passing of her Mother, she had sailed more than half the way round the world, with over 20,000 nautical miles of racing under her belt between London and China, where the yacht had departed on March 21.

A full investigation will now be carried out, as is standard practice, into the full details of the incident in cooperation with the appropriate authorities. Race Officials are now supporting the Skipper and the crew through this tragic ordeal.

Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston stated: "On behalf of everyone at Clipper Ventures, I am deeply saddened by the loss of Sarah. She was a very popular and integral member of the Clipper Race family and knew our boats well, having sailed with us since London last summer. The safety of our crew has always been and continues to be our main priority and we shall investigate the incident immediately in full cooperation with the authorities."

The Clipper Race was established almost 20 years ago and this is its tenth edition. This is the second fatality in the history of the race. Over 4,000 amateur crew have been trained and participated in previous races. 709 crew are participating in the 2015-16 edition which left London at the end of August, and will return there on 30 July 2016.

Published in Clipper Race

The world's longest ocean race is seeking 12 extraordinary Skippers to lead its crews around the globe in the next edition of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race. Are you good enough to take on the job?

Founded by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the Clipper Race gives Skippers the opportunity to tick off the ultimate sailing bucket list - circumnavigation.

Clipper Race skippers are extremely special individuals, able to withstand huge physical and mental challenges to successfully lead their team through Mother Nature's toughest environments.

To apply you'll need to hold an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean certificate [commercially endorsed] and have at least 30,000 miles offshore experience on big boats, but also the skills needed go well beyond the professional requisites or normal job requirements.

As well as outstanding sailing skills, successful Skippers will need excellent people management and leadership skills.

Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston warns skippers must be prepared to be truly exhausted, physically battered and mentally fatigued.

Clipper 2013-14 Race winning Skipper Eric Holden added: "A Clipper Race skipper is not a job to be undertaken lightly. It requires your full dedication for 18 months. You will be responsible for the welfare of over 50 individuals as you lead them around the world.

"If you're up for it you will be rewarded with incredible adventures, amazing sailing, and lifelong friendships. To win not only requires top notch seamanship and navigation, but the ability to bring the team along with you."

Clipper 2017-18 Skipper interviews are taking place right now. Click here for the full list of qualifications and skills and how to apply.


Published in Clipper Race

Derry~Londonderry~Doire has recorded an impressive back to back, clean sweep win in the Clipper 2015-16 Race after taking line honours in The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup following twelve days of racing from Vietnam to China. Once again, as with Race 7, the Northern Irish entry has been closely followed by Garmin in second place.

After eight races this is only the second time a team has recorded a consecutive victory in this tenth edition Clipper Race. Skipper Daniel Smith and his team took a maximum 17 points for being first across the line at 1425 local time (0625 UTC), first through the Scoring Gate and for recording the fastest time in the Ocean Sprint. The points haul means that Derry~Londonderry~Doire will also move up to second place in the Overall Race Standings, overtaking GREAT Britain but still trailing leader LMAX Exchange. Garmin also managed to collect two bonus points at the Scoring Gate so finishes Race 8 with a total of 13 points.

The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup promised to be a rough ride in tough upwind conditions and the final days in particular the East China Sea lived up to the billing, as the fleet was hit by a stronger than forecasted storm which brought violent wind gusts of 80 knots.

Summing up the race in his daily blog just ahead of crossing the finish line, Skipper Daniel reports: “Throughout this race the crew has done a fantastic job, pushing themselves and the boat to its limit and rarely complaining despite horrendous weather. They really deserve a good result and the points they have earned at the Scoring Gate and the Ocean Sprint. They have now proved they can sail upwind (which we struggled with) as well as downwind and that they can keep pushing when the going gets tough,” he continued.

“Garmin has been pushing us hard and several times has been gaining on us and eating away the mileage. This has been a tough race.”
Garmin crossed the finish line almost one hour later at 0717 UTC. Skipper Ash also talked about the competition between his team and Derry~Londonderry~Doire with less than five nautical miles between them as they approached the end of the 1700nM race.

“It has been a really tight contest with them, ever since we ran out of luck and hit a wind hole towards the end of the Ocean Sprint. They have definitely had the better of us in the light airs that we have experienced a lot of recently. Congratulations to Skipper Dan and his team for another excellent win.”

Ash goes on to describe how testing the conditions have been: “This race has been challenging in pretty much every way I can think of. It has had everything from thick fog, traffic and fishing fleets, many miles of beating to windward, slamming, severe storms and even flotsam slowing us down! Throw in the close racing and a podium finish and it all makes for a race that none of us are going to forget in a hurry.

“So, after an eventful race, it's great to be in Qingdao and we are all looking forward to a spectacular welcome that we are told to expect when we cruise in there tomorrow morning.”

An almighty welcome awaits all the teams in Qingdao, the Clipper Race’s longest standing Team Sponsor and Host Port, where the organisers pull out all the stops and the media flocks to greet the crew.

At 0900 local time (0100 UTC) on Friday 11 March Derry~Londonderry~Doire will arrive into Qingdao, followed by Garmin at 1000 local time. The yachts will pass the Olympic Rings en route into the city, which hosted the sailing events in the Beijing Games 2008, where a fanfare of fireworks and Chinese traditional drummers will be on the pontoon to mark their arrival. The Welcome Ceremonies will follow at hourly intervals for all the teams that have crossed the line and motored into Qingdao.

Current Overall Race leader LMAX Exchange is 30nM from the finish line at 1000UTC and expected to take third place on the podium because it holds a 54nM lead over Mission Performance in fourth place.

The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup finish brings the Asia Pacific Challenge to a close, the fifth of eight legs in this 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation. Throughout the leg, the teams faced all sorts of weather conditions from the Solomon Sea Doldrums after leaving The Whitsundays in Eastern Australia to the Force 11 gales in the Yellow Sea a few days ago.

The next challenge in this round the world race is the Pacific Ocean crossing, the longest of any single race in the Clipper 2015-16 Race. The 6000+ nautical mile voyage takes the fleet to one of the most remote places on the planet, where over 2000nM from land in all directions their nearest neighbour could be the International Space Station.

This is the sixth time the Clipper Race has visited China’s sailing city, Qingdao from where the yachts will set sail for first time Host Port Seattle, USA when Race 9 gets underway on Sunday 20 March.

Published in Clipper Race

A yacht carrying a British sailor competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is diverting into Shanghai to transfer a crew member who has a suspected fractured arm, sustained during a violent storm.

Trudi Bubb, 50, from Crawley, was injured when her team’s yacht, Unicef, fell off a wave during extreme weather in the Yellow Sea and she suffered a fall below decks in the galley area earlier today.

It was a tumultuous night with the fleet experiencing some of the worst conditions of the entire 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation so far. Gusting winds of 70 to 80 knots tested the 12 ‘novice’ teams, with extended periods at 55 to 60 knots and a very rough, steep sea state.

The team is approximately 120 nautical miles south east of Shanghai and has an ETA of 0100 UTC tomorrow. On arrival into Shanghai, Trudi will be transferred to hospital for x-rays and evaluation of her injury, after which the team will resume racing onto the Race Finish in Qingdao, China.

Race Director Justin Taylor said: "Next of kin have been informed and further updates will be announced as we have them. We wish Trudi a fast and full recovery."

Unicef relief Skipper Paul Atwood had described the conditions in his blog earlier in the day: “Slamming, driving rain, the steady 50-60 knots breeze peaking at a gust of 92 knots, the air full of horizontal spray, waves filling the cockpit…

“Last night was a tad hectic, very windy, very bouncy and saw us go around in circles as we attempted and succeeded in one evolution after another, each of which take 10 - 15 minutes in the Solent, or Sydney harbour, but which, last night were taking 60 - 90 minutes each.

“Nevertheless we have emerged slightly worse for wear but intact and are making our way north as best we can with the uncooperative wind angle. The sea state has improved a lot although the waves are pretty big and still foam streaked,” Paul added.

The yacht's Skipper and on board medic have had advice from doctors at the race's remote telemedicine service, ClipperTelemed+, which is staffed by doctors from the race’s Global Medical Emergency Support Partner, PRAXES.

The Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, the tenth edition of the biennial global series, is the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles, taking 11 months to race between six continents.

It is currently the eighth stage of a 14-race global series, from Da Nang, Vietnam, to Qingdao, China.

Published in Clipper Race
Page 2 of 11

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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