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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet motor towards Batam Island

by Heather Ewing on 21 Jan 2012
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011-12fleet Daniel Zeppe/onEdition
Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on day twenty nine of race seven, from the Gold Coast to Singapore.

Followers of the race will today breathe a sigh of relief as their Race Viewer withdrawal symptoms will receive a much needed fix when all ten internationally backed entries leave Stealth Mode, appearing on the Race Viewer in the process.

'All of the Clipper Race teams were put into Stealth Mode as a security measure as they crossed the Celebes and Sulu Seas' explains Race Director, Joff Bailey.

'The Race Office still had constant hourly position updates from each team, but in Stealth Mode this is not available for the race’s followers. Now that all of the teams have cleared this area and have completed refuelling in Malaysia we have taken them out of Stealth Mode so that their locations show up on the Race Viewer and we can all view their progress into Batam.

'This does not mean there are no risks ahead of the teams as they head towards Batam, however, all of the teams are now in groups for added security and support and skippers have been advised to only enter the Singapore Straits in daylight.'

After entering the South China Sea, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital sent back a message to their fans this morning.

'Now we are visible on the Race Viewer, the crew would like to say a huge welcome back to all of our supporters, friends and family and today a special message to my beautiful daughter Poppy Reid, Happy Birthday sweetheart, have a fantastic day, lots of love Daddy xxx,' says skipper, Gordon Reid.

Currently making their way to Singapore alongside Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit Finland, the Scottish entry have been working hard to finish off maintenance jobs at sea as well as complete their refuelling in Malaysia.

'Last night we made some good progress to the refuelling pit-stop and even managed to do a few hours of sailing, a very welcome change to the sweet humming of our naturally aspirated six cylinder Perkins diesel engine. We hoisted the full main, Yankee 1 and staysail for a brief seven knot flurry.'

Although a delay in a fuel delivery has hampered their good progress.

'Holding station outside until the fuel station opened for business, the plan was to take it in turns to refuel. Until we found out the anticipated delivery lorry was not due until the afternoon, so we waited patiently. Whilst permission was granted from the authorities to go ashore for lunch, what a great boast after 28 days at sea in the baking hot sun,' signs off Gordon.

After clinching their first podium position with a second placed finish in race seven, Mark Light and his Derry-Londonderry crew have been making the most of their time which will they hope will provide them with more pennants in the future.

'We still have no wind to speak of, further enhancing the Race Committee's decision to shorten the racing and motor towards our destination. Most of our jobs list has been ticked off, leaving only the work that we cannot reasonably carry out afloat to complete,' reports Mark.

'We have had extra time to concentrate on improving the skills of all crew, refreshing and teaching various disciplines such as rope work, knots, splicing, winch maintenance, sail repair and navigation. It has also been a good time to recover the essential safety procedure for MOB (Man Overboard) to ensure everyone is well prepared should the unthinkable happen.

'This has been a very long race, way longer than most people have ever spent on board in one continuous period, with very high temperatures and little relief from the sun; it is no surprise that we are all looking forward to arriving in Batam for some relaxation, before our spectacular entrance into Marina at Keppel Bay. We won’t be long!'

With the teams today reappearing on the Race Viewer there is a way to never be out of touch with the Clipper Race. You can always be up to date with the latest action from the world’s longest yacht race with the official range of mobile Applications.

Available on iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android, the application features videos and photos sent back from the boats, the latest race news and most importantly the Race Viewer.

Updated every three hours the addictive Race Viewer allows you to follow every tactical decision and manoeuvre during 40,000-mile adventure.
You can download the apps from the selected stores: iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android.


'Another day of motoring towards Batam and Singapore, and the first day followers can view our positions on the Race Viewer as the piracy scare is less and all boats have refuelled,' reveals Gold Coast Australia skipper, Richard Hewson.

'Gold Coast Australia are making the most of the calm and have been conducting lots of maintenance and cleaning. It is amazing how quickly mould can develop in a boat with this heat and humidity and we have been working hard today to eradicate every last sign of mould to prevent it spurring and any flare ups. Consequently the boat smells once again of my favourite smell in the world - miltons - the smell of clean and healthy institution!

'The majority of maintenance is already done and we have started on our deep clean so when we arrive in port we can simply park the boat and enjoy Batam prior to heading to Singapore for the grand entry on the 28 January.'

Meanwhile ahead on the Chinese New Year celebrations on Monday, the crew of Qingdao have been treated to a few festivities.

'Last night we had a traditional Chinese meal with Brett our Qingdao crew member somehow making dumplings for everyone from scratch! It’s amazing the meals that can be created on board with effort,' says skipper, Ian Conchie.

'It was greatly appreciated by the crew so all pressure is on Dave again to catch us another fish to add to our menu!

'We actually managed to get some sailing in yesterday for half an hour which gave us a chance to do our engine checks. Since then we have be motoring in convoy,' continues Ian.

'It’s good to see though that the crew are using the time we currently have well, winches are being serviced, the mainsail on the deck being repaired and lots of cleaning going on for Chinese New Year.'

Over on board De Lage Landen, skipper Stuart Jackson, reports of a great day in the South China Sea.

'Another beautiful day, the maintenance on the boat is coming to an end and now the crew are taking some more time to broaden their sailing knowledge.

'A lot of teaching has been going on during the watches, and our very own star spotter Emma Lomax has adopted the sextant as her favourite navigational attribute,' continues the Dutch entry’s skipper.

'Just a couple of hours ago the whole fleet had stopped to cool down the engines and to do some engine checks, what a wonderful opportunity for a well deserved swim in the middle of the South China Sea. Only a couple of days left before we will get to Batam and you can feel the excitement on the boat growing. The Singapore stopover is supposed to be one of the most enjoyable there is.'

Also making sure their list of jobs is ticked off before they reach port is the crew of Geraldton Western Australia, skippered by Juan Coetzer.

'We’re still motoring in company; the crew are working hard at getting most of the maintenance chores done before Batam. The aim is to let the crew enjoy their well deserved time off.

'The motoring to Batam may sound easy, but the crew need to stay focussed, as there are a lot of obstacles to navigate around, i.e. bottles, plastic bags, mangroves and dead trees,' says Juan.

'New York took the lead last night, with the rest of the fleet following. They had done an outstanding job, keeping us clear from all the unseen danger.'

On board the American entry the countdown to Batam Island has begun.

'Each hour the island of Batam is getting closer and the crew are talking of what they’re going to do when they get there, from drinking and eating to sitting in a pool or in an air-conditioned room to seeing friends and love ones,' reveals skipper, Gareth Glover.

'New York took the lead over night and it kept the watch leaders and crew on their toes with lots of gas rigs in the Central Luconia gas field to get past and a few course changes had to be made so we kept at least five miles away from them. At one point there were as many lights in the sea as there were stars in the sky.'


Welcome to Yorkshire, skipper Rupert Dean sends his report as his team make their way to Batam alongside their Finnish competitors.

'Welcome to Yorkshire arrived at the marina at first light this morning, but could only take on 300 litres of diesel, because the replenishing fuel tanker did not arrive yesterday. Therefore we are hoping it will arrive soon today, so we can fully press our tanks and get underway to Batam.

'It's a great marina and all the staff are very friendly. Sitting here waiting is a little frustrating, but it has given us time to cruise around the beautiful bays, islands and beaches in the area. We've been swimming too, a welcome relief from the unrelenting heat. Both of these we would have been unable to do otherwise. Every cloud has a silver lining!'

The first teams will be arriving in Batam on the 23 January and all teams should be in by 26 January ready for the formal welcome ceremony in Singapore on the 28 January.

Provisional Race 7 Results. All times are UTC
1 Gold Coast Australia 2154.59 13 January 2012
2 Derry-Londonderry 2314.00 13 January 2012
3 Geraldton Western Australia 0229.40 14 January 2012
4 Qingdao 0313.25 14 January 2012
5 Singapore 0325.31 14 January 2012
6 De Lage Landen 0936.29 14 January 2012
7 New York 1224.02 14 January 2012
8 Visit Finland 2022.00 14 January 2012
9 Welcome to Yorkshire 0322.20 15 January 2012
10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 1551.06 16 January Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website

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