Masts & rigging for dismasted yachts in Hawaii

Mast sections for Durban 2010 and Beyond and
The new masts, specialist swaging machine and shipment of rigging and other parts are finally in the Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, after being flown in from Los Angeles this morning.

After being carefully lifted out of the 747 aircraft the huge sections were transported by road to Ala Wai Marine boatyard where they arrived at around 1500 local time and the mast builder from Atlantic Spars has wasted no time in beginning the task of rebuilding's mast and constructing a new one for Durban 2010 and Beyond.

The three riggers from Spencer Rigging have set up their swaging machine on the dockside at Magic Island Fuel Dock and have started replacing the first rigging components on Hull & Humber. They will have an early start tomorrow to work their way through the eight boats who are due to begin Race 8 to Santa Cruz in the next few days. To answer a much-asked question, a swaging machine rolls the high grade stainless steel swage (metal fitting) onto the wire of the rigging with the aid of two powerful rollers - rather like an extremely high pressure mangle.

Race Director Joff Bailey says, 'I'm very relieved this shipment is finally here. It's been a long wait but this evening the start of Race 8 seems considerably closer than it did this time yesterday. This has been a huge logistical operation involving people in the UK, Luxembourg, Los Angeles and Honolulu. We've taken receipt of parts from the UK, Germany, South Africa and Singapore, not to mention sourcing what we can here on Oahu and the neighbouring Hawaiian Islands. There is still a massive amount of work to be done but, with our own maintenance team working with the riggers and mast builder we've flown in and suppliers from the local marine industry in Honolulu, I'm confident we can get all ten teams racing again very soon - and indeed we'll be in a position to make an announcement on that tomorrow once we see the progress of the rigging work.'

Last night Waikiki Yacht Club welcomed the teams back to their boats following their time off with a cocktail party. The spirit of aloha was flowing as freely as the spirits in the mai tais as Commodore Michael Roth from Waikiki Yacht Club presented each of the ten yachts with a WYC burgee.

Thea Clifford and James Norris, the ONE HULL Tag Team members from Hull & Humber met the Mayor of Honolulu in his office today. Mayor Mufi Hannemann added his name to the growing list of dignitaries around the world who have signed the Wilberforce Petition, a scroll calling for an end to modern day slavery. It is being carried by ten young people from Hull, the constituency of the man who brought about the abolition of slavery two centuries ago.

Mayor Hannemann is a big admirer of William Wilberforce and was quick to show Thea, James and skipper Danny Watson his copy of 'Amazing Grace', Wilberforce's biography. He said, 'Let me just say that William Wilberforce is one of my favourites. I admire this man for what he stood for, for what he did, many years before our country took a position on this. So I commend you for what you're doing, going around the world, asking leaders to step forward to ensure that human trafficking and slavery doesn't exist today in any shape or form.'

Looking at the picture of Wilberforce on the cover of the book he said, 'We're doing this for you my man! He didn't always do what was popular, he did what was right and that's what I try to do when I govern this city.'

After the signing Danny thanked Mayor Hannemann for the aloha the crews have been given during the stopover. He said, 'On behalf of all the crews in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race I'd like to say thank you for the warmth of the welcome from the people of your city while we've been here. The hospitality has been fabulous; we've had a wonderful time in Honolulu.'