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The podium is complete after the Clipper Race fleet's tough North Pacific Ocean crossing from Qingdao, China to Seattle, USA.

Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire won its third consecutive race, finishing the Seattle Pacific Challenge and a hat trick at 0915 local time/1615 UTC, 13 April.

The Unicef team recorded its best ever result and first podium of the race series, finishing in second place after a duel with LMAX Exchange at 2052 local time, Wednesday 13 April/0352 UTC Thursday 14 April.

The team, representing the world's leading children's organisation, managed to hold off LMAX Exchange after just a few nautical miles separated the two yachts in the final stages of the 5,400 nautical mile race.

Derry Londonderry Doire team champage in Seattle

Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire won its third consecutive race

LMAX Exchange crossed the finish line at 2155 local time Wednesday 13 April/0455 UTC Thursday 14 April in third place.

The professional Skippers leading each of the 12 teams have reported the worst conditions they have ever experienced on this race from China's Olympic sailing city, with the yachts pounded by huge seas and winds gusting over 80 miles per hour, causing injury and damaging the yachts.

GREAT Britain finished Race 9 in fourth position. Skipper Peter Thornton sent notification to the Race Office to say the team had finished at 1127 UTC on Thursday 14 April.

The remaining eight teams are due to be welcomed into Seattle over the next six days, including home port entry Visit Seattle.

Published in Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - The harassment case against Clipper Round The World Race organiser Sir Robin Knox-Johnson has been dismissed by an employment tribunal.

As previously reported on, the offshore sailing legend was sued along with fellow organisers by lawyer-turned-sailor Ruth Harvey over victimisation and harassment she allegedly experienced while crewing the yacht Jamaica Get All Right in the most recent edition of the Clipper Race.

Harvey, a specialist in employment law, argued that she should have been classified as an employee because she had been a full crew member despite dropping out of the race after two legs, according to the Daily Telegraph.

But a tribunal judge this week rejected her case on a number of legal points, including whether Harvey could indeed be classed as an employee, and whether Sir Robin, as founder of the race company, should have been named a defendant.

The news will come as some relief to the 75-year-old Sir Robin, who continues to climb the rankings in the solo transatlantic Route du Rhum.

The Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Clipper Race

#clipperrace – Sailing into Derry will be a very special moment for two Clipper Race crew on board the Swiss-sponsored entry, Switzerland as they return home for the first time in decades.

Richard Greer, 45, originally from Derry-Londonderry, now lives in France, and is looking forward to sailing up the River Foyle and experiencing the city's famous hospitality. The completion of the transatlantic voyage from New York into Northern Ireland will mark the first time he has returned home in over three decades.

"I haven't been in Derry-Londonderry since I was a kid back in the 80s!"confessed Richard.
"A lot has changed since then and being a small part of something positive for Derry-Londonderry is very rewarding. I'll feel very proud of my origins, proud to share them with my crew mates. To sail into a 'new' Derry-Londonderry will be very emotional!" he added.
Richard - who grew up in Knockloughrim, County Derry - left the city to study engineering in Salford before then backpacking around the world. He then took up a position within Occupational Safety with Kimberley Clark, producers of Huggies and Kleenex.

After 21 years with the same company and in search of a new adventure - and with zero sailing experience - Richard decided it was time to push himself out of his comfort zone and sign up to compete in Leg 4 and 8 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race on board team Switzerland.

"I had literally no sailing experience whatsoever. It all stemmed from a dream I had about a poster I saw on the London Underground and the rest is history.

"I'm often asked what the biggest highlight so far has been, and I'd have to say competing in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (part of Leg 4) and winning our first race from Hobart to Brisbane. However, I'm not sure if anything could beat sailing into Derry-Londonderry as part of this huge adventure."
Keeping Richard company during the 2,850 mile Atlantic crossing is fellow crew member Samantha Tosh, 42, also originally from Limavady, County Derry. She currently lives in Brighton where she works as an engineer. She joined Switzerland in New York for Leg 8.
"I chose Leg 8 as it is the homecoming leg into Derry-Londonderry. Not many of my friends of family have had much exposure to sailing and it is something quite different and exciting for them to get involved in too.
"I think the biggest challenge for me will be the fact that it is the last leg and the round the world crew are already quite established and to see how the new crew fit in to that, it's all about teamwork.
"I'm really excited about returning to my home city and sailing up the River Foyle and am eager to see everyone there celebrating the race with me."
The Clipper Race fleet is expected to arrive in Derry-Londonderry from 21 June. The LegenDerry Maritime Festival - which features The Beach Boys and the Red Arrows - runs until the fleet's departure on 29 June.

Published in Clipper Race
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#CLIPPER - Derry-Londonderry continues to make steady progress towards Singapore on their southerly route as they maintain their lead over the last 24 hours. In a cruel twist of fate Gold Coast Australia's surge of success on their northerly route has today seen frustration as they split from the rest of the fleet and slip to fifth position.

The current race, Race 7, from Gold Coast to Singapore provided the Clipper Race Committee with many different routes which could have been specified for the fleet, each with a number of significant hazards.

Race Director, Joff Bailey, explains, "After significant research and discussion with regional Navy forces including the Royal Navy and the Pirate Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur the route selected.

"North of Papua New Guinea and through the Celebes and Sulu Seas; is considered by myself, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the Race Management Team as the least risky of all the options. That said it is not without its risks as we have seen with the cyclones two weeks ago but they are low and risk mitigating actions are being taken.

"The week ahead is going to be an interesting period of time as once the fleet enters the Celebes Sea in a few days time the crews will have to cope with very light winds, navigational hazards that are poorly charted and also the potential threat of piracy. As such the Race Committee will be taking certain risk mitigating actions to ensure that the fleet have the best chance to navigate these hazards safely.

"Over the next few days we will be explaining in the daily report the details of the actions by the Race Committee which will include temporarily suspending racing, Stealth Mode for certain periods, freezing the Race Viewer and permitting the skippers to use their engines if required. Don't be alarmed if some or all of the teams go into Stealth Mode for three or four days, that is part of the mitigating actions we are taking and the Race Office is still in regular contact with the fleet as well as tracking each boat every hour."

Further details of the action to be taken by the Race Committee will be included in tomorrow's Daily Update.

Currently most northerly boat, Gold Coast Australia skipper Richard Hewson reports, "Since the start of the race my tactics have been to head north to the reliable trade winds to make our way across the Pacific to Asia in the best time possible. Normally trade winds are stronger away from the Equator to about 12 degrees north. This race we seem to be experiencing far from normal conditions as Gold Coast Australia once again sits to the north of the fleet, sails flapping as we roll around in the swell becalmed."

Despite the setback, the team is remaining positive with the tactical decision made, "For now there is not much more to do but to have a laugh, continue fixing the medium weight spinnaker and wait for wind!" Richard added.

As the teams receive details of a "very mixed bag of wind" forecast by meteorologist and winning skipper of Clipper 2002, Simon Rowell, this race has certainly become a race of two halves and the changing weather has seen the teams have a clear division of tactics, with just over half the fleet heading south, and the other half, north.

On board Derry-Londonderry, skipper Mark Light, says "We are still hanging on to our coveted first position and making good, steady progress towards our destination - the Celebes Sea gate! There is definitely a feeling of nervous excitement around our boat at the moment as we strive to keep her moving forward as fast as we can and in the right direction!"

Closely observing the north south divide, Mark reports of his team's unusual game play to maintain their poll position, "With a renewed focus, talk on board is often about how we can go even faster and quite often this comes down to reducing weight! Right now we are discussing various techniques". Ten suggestions are currently in the running and include an effort to eat all the food as quickly as possible and chopping crew's toothbrushes in half!

Despite a slow 24 hours for New York and with the loss of their Windex, the team has worked hard to keep moving in the low winds, their southerly tactic has seemed to of paid off as they move up to second place in the fleet.

"We know that we would lose out to the yachts to the north which we did, and now just hope we can keep them off. Our tactic is to stay south knowing that we will sail a bit slower that the other yachts but will be able to sail with good VMG (Velocity Made Good) to the gate," explains skipper, Gareth Glover.

"We could head north and increase our apparent wind which would give us more boat speed but we will have to come back down for the gate which the yachts to the north may have too and then we hope we will get back any lost miles."

Ocean sailing is not just about tactics, it is also important to look after the boat and keep equipment in good condition. Gareth reports that his team have been working hard to maintain New York, carrying out constant rig checks and running repairs continuing on their kites.

Meanwhile, Singapore's decision to stay south has rewarded the team as they move up to sixth place. Despite the light and fluky winds the home port entry is hoping to hold onto a little more breeze after a night of constant sail changes.

"Firstly it was chafe on a spectra loop from a Gibb shackle that sent our medium weight kite flying to leeward. On the next two occasions it was small holes caused by the kite collapsing occasionally and catching on various rough. This was fairly disappointing as we had been making excellent progress and I am sure that being under white sails for around three hours in total will have cost us a good six miles or so. Hopefully we can hold onto a little more breeze than the yachts to the south and continue to claw back ground on them until we can harden up a little past the bottom of Palau."

But it is not only the wind that is causing the team concern as Ben adds, "We are down to our last 50 tea bags!

"Our only conciliation is that they are at least Twinnings English Breakfast (surely the finest tea available.) Ironic really that a "Clipper" vessel should run out of tea. This will have a serious impact on our 1700 tea and cake daily meetings. Our caffeine and tannin hit will have to be replaced by either coffee or Milo. I personally struggle to get through the day without at least three cups of the delightful infusion and considered stashing a few bags in my cabin; but in the interests of keeping the team spirit alive we are going to try drying and re-using a few instead."

On board De Lage Landen, the team has been enjoying the wind that has greeted the Dutch entry as they sample their sails on the race towards the next gate.

Skipper Stuart Jackson says, "We are now nearly finished packing our forth spinnaker of the day, what had been a simple change to the medium weight soon turned into a quick drop as a hole appeared in it. Then shortly after hoisting again the clew decided to release itself, prompting another drop. So it has been a sweaty morning packing spinnakers below decks. Hopefully this one will decide to stay up until we want it to come down!"

The variable winds continue to affect Visit Finland and in the last 24 hours the team have slipped down to seventh place.

"During the last six hours we have gybed three times and made eight miles to the north, three to the south and two to the west! So there is plenty to keep us busy anyway! It would appear that the fortunes have turned to favour the more northerly boats for the time being which must be a relief for them," says Olly Osborne, skipper of the Finnish entry.

"Although we appear to have found our way back into more squally weather today, we did have a good run throughout the night which puts us about 600 miles from our way point."

On Geraldton Western Australia, skipper Juan Coetzer reports that his team has been experiencing "light and fluky winds" accompanied by "clear skies and soaring heat", which has caused problems for the Australian entry."Below decks, things are exploding. A carton of soya milk exploded in one of the lockers leaving a beautiful mess.

"There is a rather large obstacle in our way called the Palau Islands. For the last 300 miles we have been trying to go south of the island, but it's like a big magnet drawing us in. Unfortunately, I don't think we will get to see the Islands during day light," he added.

"A case of the 'haves and have not's'" is how skipper Rupert Dean describes the past few days on the race to Singapore. The changing weather has certainly made this a race of two halves, as Welcome to Yorkshire grapple with the variable winds with their competitors in sight.

"Yesterday morning, Welcome to Yorkshire was making reasonable progress west, some 22 miles behind Visit Finland. Later that day we were very surprised to see Visit Finland on our bow, struggling to sail out of a massive windhole by heading north under white sails. Before we knew it we were in the same hole, requiring us to drop our spinnaker and do the same. This continued into the night, until we both found some wind and were able, once again, to hoist our spinnakers and head west," Rupert added.

"Unfortunately for us, following an epic squall and rainstorm this morning, we were becalmed again for a few hours, soon to learn that Visit Finland had regained eleven miles on us. So a period of mixed fortunes for both of us. We are now ghosting along with full main, staysail and Yankee 1, relived to be moving again, yet hoping that the north easterly trades will re-establish themselves soon, enabling us to make better speed towards our target."

Race 7, one of the longest in the series on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and after 19 days at sea, on board Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, cabin fever is starting to creep up on the team. Despite the challenges faced by Mother Nature, skipper Gordon Reid reports that his team always maintain a positive attitude after a night of no wind.

"Stuck in a windless hole, baking under the tropical sun, sweating like a blood donor at a vampire's tea party, being drenched in a tropical downpour for the fifth time in four hours we always keep the faith and remember what a great adventure we are undertaking."

In an effort to keep the Scottish entry moving, Gordon adds that the team have been working very hard, and praises the team on the crew's skill and determination as they execute a variety of sail changes in a bid to claw back position.

"So far today our sail change evolutions have included a change from the Yankee 1 and Staysail, to 'Big Frank' peel to 'Little Frank', swap to wind-seeker, back to Yankee 1, the main has been in, it's been out, we've had preventers on preventers off. Barber haulers here there and everywhere. We are now moving and in the right direction, a true testament to the skill and determination of the crew!"

Continuing to push forward is Qingdao, whose crew has been working hard changing sails after what skipper Ian Conchie describes as "A lovely 24 hours of spinnaker work!

"We hoisted the medium kite 24 hours ago and flew it until early this morning when we swapped for a lightweight. We have been making great progress all day trying to catch up the lead boats.When we dropped the medium weight we found some small holes which were quicklyrepaired my Dave and Lynn our sail repair team. Unfortunately we then noticed similar holes back in the medium weight so another quick change back to the lightweight only to find more holes so yet another change to the heavy while we fix both kites. As I type the lightweight is being repacked ready to be hoisted.

"In the meantime James has been up the rig and found the cause, a split pin in the rigging which had turned to make a great sharp edge for the kites to snag on.I think we can say that we have had enough spinnaker drop and hoist practice today and we are getting quiet slick at it now but the heat makes the repair and packing very sweaty indeed!" says Ian.

Published in Clipper Race
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#CLIPPER – Clipper Ventures Plc announced at the London Boat Show today that it has signed a major sponsorship deal with Qingdao, host of the sailing events of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to continue its participation in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race through to 2016.

Qingdao has fielded an entry and hosted the event since 2005 and has credited the Clipper Race with helping it not only prepare for hosting the Olympics but also in developing its brand as China's Sailing City. It will now become the first destination in the world to sponsor six editions of the unique biennial event.

"This is excellent news," said William Ward, chief executive of Clipper Ventures. "I am proud of the role the Clipper Race has played in helping Qingdao to be successful, promoting its sailing achievements and helping to tell its story around the world. It also brings our sponsors together in Qingdao to stimulate international trade between China and the rest of the world."

Madam Lin Zhiwei, Chairman of Qingdao Sports Federation, said, "We have decided to continue our collaboration in Clipper 13-14 and Clipper 15-16. It has become an important event to build our brand as the Sailing City of China."

New fleet

The construction of an innovative new fleet of 12 Clipper 70 yachts, with an option for a further four, is progressing on schedule in China. It will be the world's biggest matched fleet of large ocean racing yachts. UK based suppliers of equipment and services are also being signed up for the new fleet and future races.

Speaking on the opening day of the 2012 London Boat Show, Clipper Ventures founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said, "The manufacture of the Clipper 70s is now well underway and will help us to meet the growing demand from crew and sponsors with a forward programme through to 2020."

The legendary British yachtsman added, "The Clipper Race is unique in world business and I believe our own performance demonstrates that the UK marine sector has great potential and needs to be celebrated. Clipper Ventures puts millions of pounds into the local economy around its base in Portsmouth Harbour every year and our high proportion of overseas income makes a positive contribution to Britain's Balance of Payments."

The eighth edition of the Clipper Race, Clipper 11-12, is currently halfway through its 40,000-mile circumnavigation en route from the Gold Coast, Australia, to Qingdao via Singapore. The fleet will reach Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore, on 28 January and the yachts are expected to begin arriving at the Qingdao International Marina and Olympic Sailing Center from 22 February.

Published in Clipper Race
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The Port and Harbour Commissioners are wishing "Bon Voyage" to the crew of the Derry~Londonderry yacht which this Sunday will leave Southampton to begin a 40,000 mile Round the World Race as part of Clipper 11-12.

"We know this is a huge challenge for them all," says Harbour Master Bill McCann, "but they have had superb training from the Clipper team and we are confident that they are up to the challenge."


Harbour Commissioner Roy Devine, who will join the race in New York for the final leg, says he is thinking particularly about the 10 crew members who are taking the entire round the world trip. "It is a huge undertaking and I really respect them for it. I also send best wishes to the whole crew and hope they race well and race safely."

The Derry~Londonderry yacht take 11 months to cross 15 seas and oceans before completing their arduous journey. The 8-leg race, which stops over at Derry in the final leg, is made up of 15 individual races, and boats score points mainly for how they perform in each of these races (10 points for first, 1 for last etc). The Clipper Trophy goes to the yacht with the highest total at the Finish Line in July 2012.

Find out more about the Derry Londonderry team at or follow the team on Facebook at Derry-Londonderry Clipper 11-12.

Published in Clipper Race
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Next weekend's Foyle Days (21 and 22) is set to welcome the return of the Johanna Lucretia, a two masted wooden schooner built in 1945, along with other vessels which are to visit the north-west city, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The annual maritime festival will bring the sailing boats upriver on the River Foyle and berth at the Queen's Quay. The public are invited to come on board free of charge and explore the vessels. The largest being the 96ft Johanna Lucretia, which was built originally as a fishing boat but never used for that purpose.

Over the years she has changed hands between Dutch and UK interests for recreational use. Several years ago she starred in the RTE TV reality show 'Cabin Fever' where she replaced the show's first ship Camaret of Cornwall (branded as 'Cabin Fever') after it ran aground off Tory Island.

During the two-day festival (11am-5pm) the boating community at the event will include the Coleraine Yacht Club, Foyle Paddlers, Foyle Punts, Lough Foyle Yacht Club, Lough Swilly Yacht Club, Moville Boat Club, RNLI and the Foyle (SAR) Search and Rescue.

Visitors to Foyle Days can call to the Clipper stand and learn more about the city's entry of the Derry~Londonderry boat in the 2011-2012 Clipper Round the World Race. Learn more about the countries the crew will visit and also how to get involved in the event. For more information about the race, at 40,000 miles is the world's longest race go to

Running alongside the festival a continental market with 40 stalls will be open to all at the recently revamped Guildhall Square. For further details about Foyle Days click here.

Published in Maritime Festivals

To celebrate the arrival of the Clipper Round the World Race to Ireland, Kinsale Arts Week has invited each of the countries participating in the Yacht Race to select an artist to represent them at an exhibition. The Clipper Round the World Race is expected to arrive in Kinsale, Co. Cork from 2nd - 7th July, when the town will host the Kinsale Clipper Carnival.

The selected works will be showcased as part of an exhibition titled “Stopover” at the Art Hub at the Mill, opposite St. Multose Church. This is the first Exhibition at the building, which has been beautifully, and sensitively, renovated by Kinsale Town Council and Cork County Council, and will be a permanent legacy of the Carnival.

“Stopover” is intended to create a cultural dialogue between the participating countries as well as promoting the diverse cultures in an event that reflects the global scale of the Clipper Race itself. The exhibition is free and is open daily, from Saturday 3rd to Sunday 18th July, from 10am to 6pm.

Other highlights of the Carnival Weekend include “Ebb-Tide-Flow” an audio-guided walk on mp3 players. Designed by artist Fiona Hallinan and composer Alex Synge, the tour is accompanied by an original map and comprises a score and original text written for the Scilly walk. Also during the weekend children and adults will be invited to come to the Methodist Church in the town to make a page for “The Clipper Adventure Book”. The book will follow the journey of the Clippers around the world and will then be exhibited for the year at the local library.

One of the centrepieces of the Carnival Weekend will be Live Music at the Square with local, national and international acts throughout Saturday and Sunday featuring artists such as Ian Whitty and The Exchange; Aaron Dillon and Band; Novella Hermosa and Txutxukan.

Friday, July 2nd, will see the Kinsale Clipper Burrells. A Burrell is an evening of music in different venues, where instead of the audience travelling to see different acts in different venues, the acts come to each venue in turn. There will also be Kinsale Historical Walks with Dermot Ryan daily at 10.30am and 3pm from the Tourist Office.

The culmination of the weekend, on Sunday 4th July, will be the Kinsale Clipper Parade where the streets of Kinsale will be transformed into the mighty trade routes - from Asia to Europe - that the Clippers of old sailed along. The Kinsale Clipper Carnival is sponsored by Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland.

For more details on the exhibition or the Clipper race visit or 

Published in Clipper Race

Cork has made a mediocre start to Race 10 from Jamaica to New York as the latest stage of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race gets under way. The team was sixth to cross the start line and held their position around the first mark and as they headed for the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti.

Cape Breton Island’s eagle got a flying start ahead of the rest of the ten-strong fleet. In eight to ten knots of breeze from the east and a very calm sea state, Uniquely Singapore was next to cross the start line, followed by Team Finland and Spirit of Australia. Jamaica Lightning Bolt was mid pack, followed by Cork, Ireland and Hull & Humber, with Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, California and Qingdao completing the order.

California had crossed the line ahead of the starting signal, so were forced to go around again to exonerate themselves, while Qingdao misjudged the amount of time they needed to get to the line from their training session and were last to cross, 20 minutes after the signal was sounded at 1410 (1910 GMT).

At the mark, Team Finland had gained ground, tacking up the course to round ahead of Cape Breton Island, Spirit of Australia followed the Canadian yacht and Uniquely Singapore steamed in ahead of Jamaica Lightning Bolt, leaving the home team in their dirty air, to good natured shouts of protest from home team supporters close by.

The 1420-mile race to New York, the latest stage of the 35,000-mile circumnavigation, will take them past the island of Cuba and up the east coast of North America, following the Gulf Stream current.

Preparing to leave Port Antonio where the fleet has been enjoying Jamaican hospitality since their arrival last Tuesday, the skipper of the Irish boat, Hannah Jenner, said, “We’re all set, the boat’s looking much better, she’s a bit lighter and everyone’s had more time on her. We’re looking forward to getting going – slightly worried about the light winds but we’ll see, you never know. We’ve obviously got the home port coming up so we’ve got to get the boat up to speed by Kinsale so we can get a good result in the race there.”
The Clipper fleet is due to arrive in Kinsale from 1 July before moving on to Cork city during the eight day stopover in Ireland.

Double world record holder, Usain Bolt, after whom the Jamaican entry is named, sent a message to the teams during the stopover.  He said, “Sorry I couldn’t be here to welcome you personally to the most incredibly beautiful paradise in the world but I have some work to do in China. Like you, I am also on a round the world mission, just a little faster though – the way I like to do things! Big respect to all of you competing in this incredible race. In fact, ‘nuff respect, as we say in Jamaica. You are all champions. So I guess it makes sense that you would be here in Jamaica, the land of champions.”

Joff Bailey, Race Director said, “We’ve had a great stopover in Jamaica and everyone is looking forward to this race. The skippers are all fired up for this last leg, pushing for the last points that will secure the podium positions. The winds will be light for the first part of the race but once the fleet gets north of the Bahamas it will be a great sail up to New York.”

The ten internationally-backed ocean racing yachts slipped their moorings in Errol Flynn Marina at 10am local time (1500 GMT) and sailed out of the harbour past Port Antonio’s iconic orange and white lighthouse where local residents, enjoying the Labour Day holiday, were waiting to wave off the boats.

After a training session the teams gathered near the start line at Folly Point Lighthouse, the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard cutter, HMJS Cornwall, at the other end of the start line.

Joff said, “I’d like to thank Captain Batchelor and the crew of HMJS Cornwall for their assistance and hospitality today, as well as the crew on Southern Cross who did a great job of holding position as the windward mark while the yachts passed within feet of them.”

During the short stopover in Jamaica the Member of Parliament for East Portland, Dr Donald Rhodd, attended the prize-giving ceremony and said, “We are very humbled that this prestigious event has come to our shores. Your sportsmanship must be applauded as well as your levels of professionalism with which you execute your craft. I wish you success as you travel to your next port of call. Our people in general and tourism in particular have been the beneficiaries of your short stay with us. I hope the warmth and hospitality here have helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship amongst our peoples and I’m sure you will return. We will welcome you again with open arms.”

He also had a message for the rest of the crews: “I’d like to remind you the honourable Lightning Bolt, Usain Bolt, doesn’t come second in a race! So for all of you out there, watch out, he’s coming for you!”

The fleet is due to arrive in New York between 2 and 3 June.

With 93 points, Spirit of Australia currently leads the overall standings in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race, 18.7 points ahead of Team Finland, with Jamaica Lightning Bolt just three-tenths of a point behind them in third place. Cape Breton Island is currently fourth overall. Five races remain in the 14-race series, which will finish on 17 July when the ten yachts race up the Humber to the city of Hul

Published in Clipper Race
Page 12 of 12

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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