The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14 teams were on alert for potential piracy situations during race eight and gladly while no such incidents occurred, one team did find itself the target of a very different kind of predator.
OneDLL skipper Olly Cotterell explained: 'It was night time and there was a lot of debris off the coast of Papa New Guinea, caused their logging and forestry activity. At night we had the odd hit with a bit of debris, but this one particular night one of my watch leaders came down below and said that we had been hit. I thought this was strange because you feel and hear it more when you are down below but I hadn’t felt or heard anything. She assured me we had been hit three times.
'The next day I looked out at the rudder when we were heeled over in the daylight and could see some damage and assumed we had in fact hit something. However on further inspection of the rudder, when I dove on it – it turned out that it was actually a big shark bite and had even left its teeth behind some of which I pulled out. The bite mark was about a foot and a half across so it was a big shark!'
OneDLL crew member Dave Richards said: 'I’ve been sailing for many years and I’ve never come across a situation like this. I’m not sure this particular shark will be making that same mistake again. It’s just crazy.'
The bite mark has caused much interest in port with many people coming to take a look for themselves at the shark bite which is clearly recognisable, even from underwater.
Clipper Race maintenance manager Jay Haller took a closer look at the bite damage in Singapore today and after extracting a couple more of the shark’s teeth he remarked: 'I’ve worked on the Clipper Race for twelve years. Every day is different and that’s one of the main reasons why I love my job. You see all sorts, but a shark biting one of the boats? This has definitely been a first.'
The OneDLL crew are keeping the shark teeth as a memento of the incident.
To see Ollie talking about incident and see the bite mark, watch from approx 2 minutes 15 seconds into the Singapore arrival video:
Race 9 departs to Qingdao on Wednesday, 19th February.