Clipper Race: Delayed start to Race 6

Published on January 19th, 2020

(January 19, 2020) – The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race fleet has experienced a 48 hour delay in the Whitsundays in advance of the Le Mans start for Race 6 which is now rescheduled to 1600 LT (0600 UTC) on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

Three yachts have issues with their watermaker motors and a third party courier company has failed in its obligation to deliver replacement parts in time for the planned departure today, forcing the delay. The Race 6 departure ceremony will be going ahead today as planned.

All crew will report to their respective yachts at 1030LT tomorrow morning and prepare for departure. The fleet will commence slipping lines and will depart Coral Sea Marina Resort at 1200 local time on Monday, January 20.

The teams will then motor-sail through the Whitsundays and out through the Hydrographers Passage directly to the Le Mans start area, just outside the Great Barrier Reef. The fleet will then complete MOB drills in the harbor and following this, each team will complete its refresher training sail. The fleet will be returning to Airlie Beach by 1730LT and remain in the marina for up to 48 hours, until the situation is resolved.

Says Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: “Most ocean sailors know how to ration their water supply, we used to have to before the invention of watermakers. I averaged a litre a day for 312 days, but quite understand that these days people expect more. But how much more? It is easy to overload the boats.

“We have used water containers before when a watermaker failed, Mark Light was the Skipper of that boat and knows from this experience what is really necessary. So we need to look at what is necessary for sensible usage on the next race to Sanya and not excessive.

“In the meantime we have all been chasing up TNT. What has happened is that a package of four new motors was dispatched from France and got to Singapore on time. There, TNT missed the connection. They also missed the following connection which is why we do not have the motors right now. At this moment the motors are in Brisbane and so we are sourcing alternatives to reduce the delay.”

The Clipper Race Office is making every effort to see the fleet depart from Airlie Beach, for its Race 6 Le Mans Start, as swiftly as possible. Each yacht will have a fully functioning watermaker and given the tropical conditions on the next race, they will all carry exactly the same amount of freshwater across the fleet as a back-up supply.

At present, with current forecasts, the arrival window into Sanya remains unchanged. The 11 teams are scheduled to now begin the 4280nm Leg 5/Race 6 from The Whitsundays to Sanya. China on January 21.

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About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race:
The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.

Held biennially, the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race gets underway September 1 for the fleet of eleven identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. This 12th edition has attracted 688 crew representing 43 nationalities for the 41,000+ nm course. The race finishes on August 8.

The course is divided into 8 legs and 15 individual races, with some of the crew in for the entire circumnavigation while others will do individual legs. The team having the best cumulative score over the entire course will win the Clipper Race Trophy.

The Clipper 2019-20 Race Route:
The fleet departs from London, UK to Portimão, Portugal; across the Atlantic to Punta del Este, Uruguay; the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Fremantle, Western Australia; around to the Whitsundays on the east coast of Australia, back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the mighty North Pacific to Seattle, USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; to Bermuda and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing to Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland; before arriving back to London as fully proven ocean racers.

Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race


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