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Displaying items by tag: Clipper Round The World Race

Now that the city of Derry’s legendary Halloween celebrations are over, all eyes are on July 2020 which will be a key date in the Derry/Londonderry calendar when, on Saturday 25th, the eleven 70-ft yachts in the Clipper Round the World Race are set to arrive in the city after a 2,850 nautical mile race across the Atlantic from Bermuda writes Betty Armstrong.

This is an endurance event which over eleven months amateur crews will cross six oceans and be tested to their absolute limit. With ages ranging from 18 to 76, the teams are made up of people from all walks of life, including doctors, homemakers, lawyers, builders, nurses, farmers, CEOS, and surf instructors.

The stopover is one of the most popular in the Round the World venture and will play a starring role in the acclaimed Foyle Maritime Festival which runs from Wednesday 29th July till Sunday 2nd August.

This is, of course, subject to funding. Everyone’s festival favourites are set to return to what is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland. Among dozens of attractions and events, will be the Foyle Merchant Market, Clipper Race Yacht Tours and excursions, on-water activities and taster sessions, the Science of Water, Showcase Spectacular, the Festival Bar and live music.

The approach to the city from the Tuns Buoy at the mouth of Lough Foyle, along the 20 mile stretch of water with the high land of Donegal on the starboard side and the lower coastlands of County Derry on the other, is a most attractive passage, passing Greencastle, Moville, the Foyle commercial port where increasing numbers of cruise liners dock and then under the huge Foyle Bridge to Foyle Port Marina right inside the city.
This is the fifth consecutive edition to feature Derry as a Host Port Partner, making it the most visited European city in the 23-year history of the event. The stopover in 2020 will herald almost a decade long partnership between Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Clipper Race. The relationship has seen the rejuvenation of the waterfront and continued growth of the Foyle Maritime Festival, and this has resulted in the city, its people and thousands of visitors engaging positively with a local and global community.

Clipper Race CEO, William Ward OBE, said: “We greatly value our partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and are proud of the legacy we have built together over the past nine years.

“The Clipper Race crew are treated like friends wherever they go in Derry and it is hard to find a local who hasn’t come down to see our fleet at the Foyle Maritime Festival. Derry may not be on the same geographical scale as other Clipper Race destinations such as Cape Town and New York but its strong community pride and infectious sense of hospitality has consistently made it one of the most popular stopovers across all six continents we visit. In twenty years of working with global destinations, this partnership is one of our biggest success stories.”

Around 700 people from 44 different nationalities, including 26 from Northern Ireland and Ireland, are taking part in the Clipper 2019-20 Race. Derry will be the penultimate stop of the almost year-long circumnavigation and it is expected that as well as the current crews, past participants will also descend on what is arguably one of the biggest parties on the race circuit.

Founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who in April celebrated 50 years since becoming the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, the Clipper Race is the only event of its kind for non-professional sailors and is now entering its twelfth consecutive edition.

Published in Maritime Festivals

After almost eleven months and 40,000 nautical miles, Derry-Londonderry born Clipper Race Skipper Conall Morrison and Round the World Crew Member Roseann McGlinchey have returned home.

Although there is still one more race to go in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, this arrival felt like a homecoming as the pair and their HotelPlanner.com teammates were cheered on by locals, supporters, family, and friends, who had lined the banks of the Foyle as the 70-foot ocean racing yacht joining the other Clipper Race teams at Derry-Londonderry’s Foyle Port Marina.

Conall said: “To arrive back in Derry-Londonderry is a big thing for me. I really couldn’t believe the welcome. A couple of boats came out to meet us at Greencastle and there were people lining the river.

“Some of my family were in Greencastle and my Mum and Dad were at Culmore Point and had banners which were really good. I can’t believe we are here, to be honest. It’s a strange feeling to me and it will take a few days for it to sink in I think.” 

Roseann, a 24-year-old Marketing Officer from Lifford, also had family to welcome her and admits it was an emotional homecoming.

She said: “It was a really cool experience coming down the Foyle and my friends and family were there on the water.

“We had a great celebration when we crossed the finish line and it’s a stopover that means a lot to the whole team, not just myself and Conall. Everyone on board feels like they are coming home so it was just a great feeling.”

HotelPlanner.com crossed the finish line in an area northeast of the entrance to Lough Foyle at 14.56.10 UTC to complete the 3,000 nautical mile race across the Atlantic Ocean, the fast-paced sixth and final ocean crossing of the eleven-month circumnavigation, in just over 14 days.

“As a crew, we are pumped to be here,” said Conall.

“There will be so much to do and everyone’s really looking forward to seeing the sights and sharing our experience with the people of Derry-Londonderry.”

The Foyle Maritime Festival, which begins on Saturday 14 July, is particularly important for Roseann. Her Clipper Race journey began after watching the fleet come into Derry-Londonderry for the inaugural festival in 2012.

She said: “The Foyle Maritime Festival always brings a lot of excitement to the city. The council always goes all out for it and make the city look beautiful. The city has adopted the Clipper Race as part of the festival and it’s really nice to be such a big part of that.”

The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains non-professionals to be ocean faring sailors. Established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world, 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew have no previous sailing experience before signing up and undergoing the compulsory four weeks of training.

In total, 711 people representing 42 different nationalities and from all walks of life are taking part in the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Race. In Leg 8, the Visit Seattle crew represent six different nationalities - Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, USA, Canada – with the ages ranging from 66 to 26.

The Derry-Londonderry Stopover is a much-anticipated stop on the global Clipper Race circuit, with the crew given a starring role in the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival. Over the next fortnight, locals and visitors to Derry-Londonderry will be able to get up close to the 70-foot ocean racing yachts and take part in an exciting programme of diverse events in celebration of the Clipper Race crew and their adventurous spirit.

The Foyle Maritime Festival will come to an end when the Clipper Race fleet departs for the final race to Liverpool on Sunday 22 July. The circumnavigation will come to an end at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool on July 28.

Published in Clipper Race

After more than ten months and over 35,000 nautical miles, the final of eight legs of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race is set to begin with a race across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Derry-Londonderry.

The eleven teams have battled hurricane force winds, waves up to 14 metres, crossed five oceans and visited 12 Host Ports on six different continents, but the end is now in sight, with the 3,000 nautical mile sprint from New York to Derry-Londonderry the twelfth of thirteen races that make up the 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation.

The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains non-professionals to be ocean faring sailors, and six crew members from Ireland and Northern Ireland, plus a Skipper from Derry-Londonderry, are now preparing to come home – just in time to headline the Foyle Maritime Festival in Derry-Londonderry.

Conall Morrison, 36, Skipper of HotelPlanner.com

Becoming a Clipper Race Skipper was always a dream for Conall, and he has certainly made his mark, winning the Clipper 70 Class of the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which doubles as Race 5 of the Clipper 2017-18 Race. The saw Conall awarded the Rani Trophy for Most Meritorious Performance and shortlisted for the 20172017 Afloat.ie Irish Sailor of the Year Award. Before taking on the challenge of the Clipper Race, Conall was the Skipper of Tectona for the Voyage of Recovery – a twelve week, 1,500 nautical mile voyage around Great Britain to aid people in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Conall says racing into his home town of Derry-Londonderry will be one of the proudest moments of his career. 

Anthony Barlow, 56, Dublin, Occupational Therapist, Leg 8, HotelPlanner.com

Anthony is an experienced and qualified sailor and sails up to three times a week out of the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin. Anthony isn't afraid of a challenge - he worked in IT until going back to school at age of 42 to become an Occupational Therapist. This involved four years of tough study, plus hospital placements, but he worked hard to achieve his goal and has been working in his new profession since 2008. Anthony is doing the race to challenge himself and improve sailing skills.

Mary Frawley, 51, Tipperary/Dublin, Nurse, Full Circumnavigation, HotelPlanner.com

The idea of a circumnavigation has always been a dream Mary and the Nurse from Tipperary describes the ClipperRace as the adventure of a lifetime. Mary spent much of the '90s sailing, completing both her coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster qualifications, and also worked on the water, including six weeks as a cook and deckhand on board a prawn fishing trawler off the north coast of Australia.

John Gannon, 62, Parkgate, Cheshire, UK, Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medical Consultant, Legs 5, 6, 7, 8, HotelPlanner.com

John grew up sailing and his teens he crewed with the Irish STA ships ASGARD and CREIDNE on a number of voyages around Britain and Ireland. As he got older, life, and his medical training, got in the way but since deciding a few years ago to work part time as a medical consultant specialising in anaesthesia and critical care medicine, John decided to return to sailing in the most adventurous way possible - the Clipper Race. His four legs will see him race across the North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as he journeys 22,000 nautical miles from Qingdao in China to the Race Finish in Liverpool.

Roseann McGlinchey, 24, Lifford, Marketing Officer, Full Circumnavigation, HotelPlanner.com

Roseann has undergone a huge transformation during her time on the ClipperRace, graduating from a complete sailing novice to a Watch Leader in her teamHotelPlanner.com. Her love affair with the Clipper Race began six years ago in Derry-Londonderry when she saw the fleet arrive at the city’s inaugural Foyle Maritime Festival. After visiting the festival every year while studying in the Northern Irish city, Roseann wanted to view the celebrations from a different view this year – arriving on board a Clipper 70. Roseann's goal for the race was to grow her strength as an individual and she brings a lot of optimism and good cheer to theHotelPlanner.com team. 

April Rellis, 37, Waterford, Teacher, Full Circumnavigation, HotelPlanner.com

April, a teacher from Waterford, decided to join the Clipper Race after seeing the fleet during the Foyle Martime Festival in Derry-Londonderry in 2014. Whilst she wasn't a sailor before the race, April has always enjoyed an active life on the water - she was a national level swimmer and is now a Windsurfing instructor. April is the Team Coordinator on board HotelPlanner.com, a position she jokes that she prepared for by teaching primary school children for years. April's mother Máirín has had her own adventure over the past year, travelling to many of the Clipper Race host ports to fulfil her role as HotelPlanner.comcheerleader-in-chief.

Katherine Sheehan, 47, Dublin, Doctor, Leg 8, HotelPlanner.com

By taking part in the Clipper Race, Katherine is fulfilling a lifelong dream of crossing an ocean under sail. Katherine has been interested in sailing since she was young but switched to windsurfing in her teens. A return to sailing in recent years has only fuelled Katherine’s desire to take on an adventure like the Clipper Race and will be able to wave to her home in Dublin as she races through the Irish Sea to Race Finish in Liverpool.

Published in Clipper Race

HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison from Derry-Londonderry has edged out fellow Clipper Round the World Yacht Race competitor PSP Logistics for fourth place in the 5,600 nautical marathon across the North Pacific Ocean.

Some 28 days after setting off from Qingdao in China, Conall and his HotelPlanner.com team crossed the finish line off the northwest coast of the USA at 09:58:46 UTC on Friday 20 April, less than 5 minutes ahead of the fifth placed PSP Logistics.

On the result, Conall said: “This Leg across the North Pacific Ocean has definitely been one of our best.

“It is hard to know where the performance comes from but our evolutions are now smoother and known by each round the world crew member and after eight months together and almost 30,000 nautical miles, we've had the confidence to try new things like peeling spinnakers and we've been close enough to other boats, especially in the beginning, to see how it pays off when all goes well.”

The race from Qingdao to Seattle, the ninth of thirteen races that makes up the Clipper Race circuit, included the toughest conditions faced so far in this eleventh edition of the biennial ocean adventure.

Following a light wind battle off the coast of Japan, which added nearly a week onto the overall time spent at sea, the eleven Clipper Race teams experienced a ‘Phenomenal Sea State’, which saw the fleet battle waves of over 14 metres and hurricane force gusts of up to 80 knots. The skill and preparedness of Conall and his fellow Skippers ensured all emerged the front unscathed, and also set up some incredible racing, with the 70-foot ocean racing yachts reaching record speeds of up to 35 knots.

On the team’s good progress in the tough conditions, Conall commented: “Before the start, we decided to put a weather and tactics group together and this has helped to make decisions when faced with options. It seems from here that the team has made a lot of good calls.”

As well as the Skipper, there are six Irish crew members on board HotelPlanner.com, including round the world crew member and Watch Leader Roseann McGlinchey, a 24-year-old Marketing Officer from Derry-Londonderry.

Despite racing across such an immense distance across the world’s biggest ocean, the final day of racing went down to the wire, with second to sixth place separated by just 8 nautical miles.

A wind hole just over the finish line made it slow going but Conall and his HotelPlanner.com team navigated the light and variable winds brilliantly to finish ahead of PSP Logistics.

The race was won by Qingdao which crossed the finish line at 22:27 UTC on Thursday 19 April. Fellow Chinese entry Sanya Serenity Coast was second, whilst Unicef took third.

The full Clipper 2017-18 Race fleet is expected to have arrived at Seattle by Monday 22 April. The fleet will be berthed at Bell Harbor Marina until the first race of the US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7 from Seattle to Panama begins on Sunday 29 April.

Seattle is the tenth out of thirteen stops on the global 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Race circuit which began in Liverpool, UK, in August 2017. The race will return to Derry-Londonderry four a fourth time in July and will once again feature in the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival, which takes place between 14 – 22 July 2018. The Clipper Race fleet will depart from Derry-Londonderry on 22 July 2018 for the final segment of the 2017-18 edition of the race, which will officially finish at Liverpool’s historic Albert Dock on Saturday 28 July 2018.

Published in Clipper Race

It’s been less than one month since the Clipper Race Yacht Greenings ran aground on the opening day of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race. Whilst the rest of the fleet has now completed the race into Fremantle, Western Australia, the salvage operation to remove the yacht from the Cape Peninsula is also now close to completion.

At the time of the incident on 31 October 2017, all crew were quickly and safely evacuated from the yacht by local rescue services, the NSRI, with no injuries reported. After being contracted by the Clipper Race, Navalmartin, the Casualty Management Service provider of the Clipper Race’s insurers, promptly dispatched local Admiralty Expert and Surveyor, Peter Brinkley from Cape Town and instructed a salvage team to assess the situation and attempt the salvage of the yacht in the first crucial hours.

At this stage pollution control was of paramount importance for the team, so immediate action was taken to minimise any risk and remove fuel from on board whilst attempting to overcome the ingress of sand within the hull.

Following careful coordinated analysis of the situation by all interests and reviewing the state of the yacht (CV24) over the following 48 hours, it was unfortunately decided that the vessel would take no further action in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, and subsequently that it was beyond repair and would be assigned to be removed by appointed salvors.

The removal contract was awarded to The Subtech Group/Ardent who specialise in the provision of world class marine services, including salvage projects throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. With an operating base in Cape Town, a team were quickly mobilised working with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the casualty management team to oversee the clean-up operation and wreck removal.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston explained: “Once the assessment had been made that the vessel was not repairable, our aim was very clear, we needed to deal with the situation quickly with the priority of minimising environmental impact and returning the beach to its original state. That was vitally important.”

Explaining the initial priority, Peter Brinkley, Chief Engineer attending on behalf of Navalmartin, the Clipper Race and its insurers, says: “The first task was to remove all the diesel fuel from the tanks. This was done quickly and no spillages occurred.

On the work that has been done over the past weeks, Peter adds: “We faced a number of early challenges to the removal which included obtaining access to the beach as it is in a very remote location, and also a bush fire started in the surrounding veld part way through the operation which delayed efforts for a few days.

“It was a priority to work quickly, the varying weather conditions only gave us small windows of time to carry out the task at hand. Time was working against us: We had to deal with the incessant influx of sand at high water brought in by the breaking waves and exacerbated by bad weather. We have to deal with the added challenge that no vehicles would be allowed though the reserve to access or move the yacht.”

“Subtech opted to erect a tower made of scaffolding material to support the mast before we could start cutting the hull up from the forward and aft sections, dismantling components on board, and removing the engine, as the work progressed. The removed hull pieces were transferred into cargo nets and loaded onto a truck for disposal.”

“We had some pretty big swells along the coast whilst the work was underway which did hamper the efforts significantly at times. At one point the waves reached four metres and battered the yacht, undercutting the scaffolding which sank approximately 400mm.”

“The current situation is that the mast has now been lowered gently by using the scaffolding tower. Only the keel and some of the bottom and port side shell remain, and they are buried in the sand, however we expect these final parts to be removed in the coming days and the beach will then be restored.”

“Much of the hull and deck gear has already been air-lifted away from the site.”

Speaking about the loss of CV24, Sir Robin says: “She had completed two round the world voyages, one of which she was the winner, as LMAX Exchange, and had an unbeaten streak in the 2017-18 race.

“Many of our crew called her home and will have some long-lasting memories of their time on board. She was also an important member of the Clipper Race team and of course it’s always just desperately sad to see a fine vessel finish its story like this.”

Whilst CV24 is no longer a Clipper Race participant, the story thankfully does not end there for her crew as in true supportive race style, the rest of the Clipper Race teams will all welcome various Greenings crew aboard to continue their remaining race legs.

A full MAIB / MCA investigation is currently underway into the reasons for the grounding and the Clipper Race shall publish the findings as and when they are available.

Published in Clipper Race

Racing has taken a back seat over the past 24 hours for the Clipper Race fleet following the tragedy on board CV30 (GREAT Britain) yesterday.

Speaking on the loss of round the world crew member Simon Speirs, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck said: “The mood on board Sanya Serenity Coast, as I imagine it will be across the whole fleet, is sombre with a lot of quiet reflection going on.

“To let my crew know of the terrible accident on board CV30 is the hardest thing to do at sea. We are all shocked and terribly saddened by the incident. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Andy Burns and his crew on board, also to all of Simon’s friends and loved ones.”

Following medical advice and considerations, Simon was given a sea burial at 0900 local time (0300 UTC) today during a service on board held by his crew. As requested by Simon’s family, who were fully aware and came together to follow the order of service at the same time back home, it was Christian, and the rest of the Clipper Race fleet also joined them in solidarity as the service was carried out.

HotelPlanner.com Skipper, Conall Morrison, said: “We prepared some readings and held a moment’s silence together as a crew on deck at the same time as the service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the GREAT Britain team. Three of our current crew will be joining the team in Fremantle and those that knew Simon Speirs on board talk of what a gentle giant he was.”

On behalf of the entire Clipper Race office, we thank everyone who has sent messages of condolence and support for Simon’s family, friends, crew, the fleet and the Clipper Race team.

Across the fleet, the sky appears to be a relatively clear on this day of reflection and the wind will gradually veer and continue easing.

Sanya Serenity Coast continues to lead the fleet with just over 1,000 nautical miles to go to Fremantle and has completed the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint - results will be announced after all teams have done so.

PSP Logistics has also completed the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint but Skipper Matt Mitchell’s thoughts are very much with Simon Speirs’ family and friends saying: “The wonderful thing about the Clipper Race is that in times of trial, as well as times of celebration, there are no longer individual teams but one big family of people, all pulling together as a group. At this most trying of times the solidarity of the Clipper Race family will be there to offer any and all support that is needed.”

Visit Seattle Skipper, Nikki Henderson, added: “I'm not sure if it is much respite to know he was doing what he loved - this ocean must be one of the most magical, and yet treacherous places in the world.”

Qingdao entered Stealth Mode yesterday at 1800 UTC, as planned, and Skipper Chris Kobusch reports: “Last night saw lots of rain squalls coming through, in which the wind speeds exceeded 45 knots at times. With the squalls came some of the biggest seas we had experienced so far.

“Our deep thoughts are with his family and Andy Burns and his team. We wish you a safe and fast passage to Fremantle and we will be there to support you.”

Meanwhile, Garmin Skipper Gaëtan Thomas has also been sending words of support while continuing to look after crew member, Erik Hellstrom, who is dealing with a serious abdominal condition. An aircraft medical supplies drop was successfully carried out by the Royal Australian Air Force and Gaëtan reports: “Erik is 24 hours under supervision. We are doing everything we can for him.”

The team is continuing to prepare for a medevac.

Published in Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - Four days after departing from Liverpool’s Albert Dock, the Clipper Race’s sole Irish-skippered yacht is jockeying for position at the back of the pack as the fleet crosses the Bay of Biscay – a body of water with a notorious reputation.

The latest race standings put HotelPlanner.com, skippered by Derry-Londonderry man Conall Morrison, in 10th among the 12-yacht fleet — and is “currently yo-yoing” with 11th-placed Liverpool 2018, according to the latter’s skipper Lance Shepherd.

That competitive spirit mirrors the action at the top of the fleet, where the four leaders broke away from the pack with the strong flowing tides in the Irish Sea.

And the difference between them is getting tighter, with less than 11 nautical miles separating leaders Unicef from fourth-placed Dare to Lead, with Sanya Serenity Coast and Visit Seattle between them in second and third respectively.

Wendy Tuck, skipper of Sanya Serenity Coast, commented on their crossing the Bay of Biscay yesterday morning (Wednesday 23 August): “At the moment, it is being kind to us, but it does have a bit of a reputation of not being very nice.”

Ahead of the fleet, the weather is changing somewhat, with a new low moving southeast across the track that should reach the Portuguese coast by the weekend.

While it does not look particularly strong, it will provide several tactical options for the 12 teams as the Atlantic Trade Winds leg reaches the latter stages of its first week — and with many nautical miles still to sail before the fleet reaches Punta del Este in Uruguay.

Published in Clipper Race

#ClipperRace - Anticipation is building in Liverpool’s Albert Dock with just two days before the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet line up on the River Mersey to start the 2017-18 edition of the 40,000-nautical-mile race around the globe.

Yesterday’s (Thursday 17 August) yacht naming ceremony kicked off the festivities with Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson joining Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Liverpool 2018 skipper Lance Shepherd on the bow of the yacht for a Champagne moment.

“Liverpool is a maritime city, it is steeped in maritime history,” said Mayor Anderson. “There is a real affinity with the ocean. We have and always had that special bond with the sea.

“You will take the brand of Liverpool across the globe and you will take with it the spirit of Liverpool. Good luck to you all!”

Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and HotelPlanner.com — skippered by Derry man Conall Morrison — also took to the event pontoon in Albert Dock to formally name their team entries.

The Clipper Race fleet was also open to the public. Two of the 12 Clipper70 race yachts, UNICEF and Garmin, opened their hatches to members of the public who had the chance to get on board and have a little taste of life on a racing yacht.

For the various team crews, meanwhile, it is an exciting time with mixed feelings of apprehension and excitement.

Nicola Thurlow will be competing on GREAT Britain during the 2017-18 race when it starts on Sunday. Speaking about the countdown to the race start, she said: “It has gone very quickly! I checked the website this morning and saw the three-day countdown. We’ve been working on the boat today so at the moment I am feeling a bit hot, a bit sweaty but very excited!”

The Clipper Race starts on Sunday at 12.30pm Irish time, with coverage of the departure ceremonies and race start live streamed online from 8am via the Clipper Race website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Published in Clipper Race

The biggest round-the-world ocean race is to return to Liverpool with the start and finish of this unique global challenge moving from the capital back to the River Mersey on the tenth anniversary of its last partnership with the region.

The race has an Irish stopover in Derry on Lough Foyle and a race entry of the same name. A Derry skipper for the Northern Ireland entry was recently named.

The 2017-18 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will set sail from Albert Dock, Liverpool, on Sunday, 20th August and return approximately eleven months later in Summer 2018.

Legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-9 and founder of the Clipper Race, said: “We are thrilled to announce that the Clipper Race is returning to the historic city of Liverpool. A significant site for UK maritime history, I fondly remember the warm reception we received when Liverpool last hosted the Clipper Race and am looking forward to returning to Albert Dock again this August.

“The Clipper Race has grown enormously in number of participants, yacht entries, economic influence and media value since it was last hosted by Liverpool a decade ago and we are looking forward to putting on an even bigger show in the city this time, which will not just have significant local economic impact, but will also put a maritime spotlight on the city all around the world.”

The Clipper Race now consists of twelve large 70-foot modern racing yachts sailed by 700 amateur crew, representing over 40 nationalities from all walks of life, led by professional skippers, making it the biggest ocean race to circumnavigate the planet. The historic Albert Dock will once again play host to the race and the thousands of visitors who will bring a welcome economic boost to the city.

As the official Start and Finish Partner, Liverpool will utilise the Clipper Race’s global platform to raise its international profile and maritime legacy, hoping to inspire the next generation of sailors and seafaring enthusiasts in the waterfront city. It also aims to promote its cultural heritage on the world stage to position the city as the home of large scale cultural events that are accessible for all – reinforced at the moment as Liverpool bids to be the UK host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said “It is a huge coup for Liverpool to once again play host to the start and finish of this prestigious race.

“This city embraces and thrives on maritime spectacles - our affinity with the River is always much-celebrated and being the start and finish partner of the Clipper 2017-18 Race is sure to attract thousands to our world-famous waterfront.”

He added: “Staging an event of this calibre puts the city once again on an international platform – and after welcoming this event four times before, it really feels like we are the home of the Clipper Race.

“The impact on the local economy as a result of this race will of course be huge, but the pride it will engender in the people of Liverpool is priceless as the international spotlight shines on the city once again. We look forward to welcoming the fleet, its crew and supporters.”

Liverpool has not only made a unique contribution to world commerce and culture, it has one of the world’s great waterfronts, with Albert Dock part of a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city. Aside from Liverpool, the only other cities in the world that have arrival ports in the heart of the city are Sydney, New York, and Shanghai.

Sue Grindrod, chief executive, Albert Dock Liverpool, said: “The Clipper 2017-18 Race Start is going to be yet another spectacular event at Albert Dock this summer for our visitors.

“As one of the world’s most important maritime cities, it is a thrill to welcome back the race to the waterfront for a fourth time, with Liverpool yet again on the world stage, and Albert Dock firmly at the heart of the action. The yachtsmen and women are guaranteed a warm Liverpool welcome in August before they embark on their intrepid adventure.”

The 40,000-nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Race will mark the fourth-time Liverpool has hosted the Clipper Race in its eleven editions, making the city the event’s most frequented start and finish port ever. Liverpool previously hosted the start and finish for the 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2007-08 race editions in the lead up to it being named European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The eleventh edition of the unique biennial Clipper Race, the only event of its kind for non-professional sailors, will visit six continents and include six ocean crossings. Almost 5,000 crew have been turned into seasoned ocean racers during the past twenty years in what is still a rare accomplishment: more people have climbed Mount Everest than have raced around the planet on its oceans under sail.

Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of its eight legs, in one of the toughest endurance challenges. It is without doubt the world’s greatest ocean adventure.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race will return to Liverpool’s Albert Dock in Summer 2018 following its global route which will include stopovers in South America (port TBC), Cape Town, Western Australia (port TBC), Sydney, Hobart, East Coast Australia (port TBC) Sanya and Qingdao – China, Seattle – USA, Panama, New York, and Derry Londonderry – Northern Ireland.

Published in Clipper Race

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.

INCIDENT SUMMARIES AND KEY POINTS

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
Page 1 of 11

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.

Competitions

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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