Clipper Race 8 re-start delayed

Hawaii arrival Jamacia Clipper 07-08
Nova Scotia and Jamaica have arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii at the end of the mammoth 4,400-mile race across the Pacific from Qingdao, China, bringing the number of Clipper yachts in the Ala Wai harbour to nine. Originally
expecting a week-long stopover on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, the Canadian and Jamaican teams arrived to the news that the race restart had been delayed by a number of days whilst rig repairs are undertaken.

The decision to delay the start of Race 8 from Hawaii to Santa Cruz has been made by the Clipper Race Team in order to ensure that new rigging parts are fitted across the fleet as a precautionary measure in light of the dismasting of and Durban 2010 and Beyond.

The replacement fittings are being manufactured to order in Germany and will not arrive in time to be fitted for the fleet to restart Race 8 on 26 March as planned. It is currently anticipated the parts will be ready for dispatch on 28 March and will arrive in Hawaii by the end of the month.

Clipper Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: 'Once the order is completed in Germany, the parts need to be freighted, clear customs and be fitted across the fleet along with the new mast sections on and Durban 2010 and Beyond.

'It must be assumed that by the time these new parts arrive in Hawaii and are fitted, we could be looking at an 8 to 10 day delay to the race restart. Obviously we are doing everything we can to minimise the delay as this lost time will need to be recovered as quickly as possible,' Sir Robin added.

'It is unfortunate that we have to delay the start of the race from Hawaii but safety is paramount when operating a round the world yacht race and we will not cut any corners in getting the fleet back racing safely again as soon as possible.'

In order to make up for the delay it is likely that stopover times in Santa Cruz and Jamaica will be reduced, with the aim of being back on schedule by the time the fleet visits New York in early June.

Race Director Joff Bailey, currently in Hawaii, said: 'The whole Clipper Race Team both here and back in the UK is focused on getting the fleet back racing again as soon as possible. We appreciate that this will have an impact on all those involved and are doing all we can to ensure minimum disruption.'

This decision comes two weeks after lost half of her 81-foot mast following the failure of a rigging fitting on 5 March. A week later on 12 March, Durban 2010 and Beyond lost her entire rig at deck level due to a fault with another fitting. Two new mast sections are being assembled in the UK and will be flown out to Hawaii within nine days for and Durban 2010 and Beyond.

Sir Robin said: 'It is hoped that the two boats that lost their rigs [Durban 2010 and Beyond and will be able to sail together from Hawaii, and a plan for these two boats will be formulated when we have a clearer idea of how their re-rigging is progressing.' experienced more problems on Tuesday, when one of their lines became wrapped around their propeller causing gearbox failure, further hampering their progress towards Hawaii. The team had made good
progress under jury rig since their dismasting, but were forced to turn back to the remote Pacific island of Midway to repair the damage to their gearbox.

At 0600 GMT this morning had 71 nautical miles to go before they reached Midway. Having recorded 56 nautical miles in the past 12 hours it is expected that that the team representing Western Australia will arrive at Midway sometime on Good Friday.

Commenting on the difficulties in getting a replacement gearbox to the remote Pacific Island, Race Director Joff Bailey said, 'Getting a new gearbox and cover plate to in Midway Island is proving to be a major logistical challenge. I think it would be easier to send it to the international space station.' Arrangements include putting a replacement gearbox on a commercial ship to Midway and on Friday replacement parts will be flown out on a bi-weekly flight to the island.

Meanwhile the Western Australian team is making further adjustments to the jury rig in order to speed up their journey to Midway. Skipper Martin Silk said, 'Tarpaulins, (for catching water in emergencies) today transformed the BBB (Big Blue Boat) into something resembling a square rigger, yet somewhat more colourful. With a spinnaker pole as a yard we set our forward course, the other tarpaulin was used to create a main course below the main topsail! Pressure is on to keep ahead of a trough forming, while the glass falls and we measure up the bimini for lighter winds. The engine room is sparkling, awaiting spare parts with tools at the ready and safe entry procedures are under discussion with the team at Midway. Prayers for the wind to continue overnight.'

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