Clipper GREAT Britain arrived at RHKYC Middle Island at 0752 on Saturday morning, and at 0906h was pronounced ready to go again by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Racing in the Clipper fleet was cancelled when first one, and then three, forestay bottlescrews failed en route Singapore-Qingdao. 'There are always teething problems with new boats… this is just one of those things that need looking at,' said Sir Robin. 'The forestay will now all be lashed to the forward chainplate with Dyneema instead of replacing the bottlescrews. That’s the way the forestay attaches on my Open 60, so it will be fine here.'
'When the first failure occurred we said, better keep an eye on the others – all the boats are the same, so if one goes there’s a fair chance the same thing may happen with the others. Then the second one went, so we stopped the race, and just as we were doing so, the third breakage happened.' The Clipper boats were all instructed to proceed under engine to Hong Kong for a ‘pit-stop’ repair before resuming racing towards Qingdao.
'In general we are very pleased with our new fleet of Clipper 70s,' said Sir Robin. 'They weathered two severe storms in the Southern Ocean, so we know that they are strong and tough. We also know that the crews can cope with them. On average, they are about 1kt faster than the previous Clippers. The asymmetric spinnakers are a great performance booster – get that just right and the boats really move. Max speed recorded so far is a 28kt burst.'
The unscheduled stop in Hong Kong also provided an opportunity to ‘fly the flag’ for the GREAT Britain campaign, a British government-sponsored global promotion. Knox-Johnston said, 'Never forget that Britain is a trading nation. Anything that boosts Britain’s exports is good for the country. Britons are full of good ideas – there are over 40 British-held patents in the iPhone in your hand. But we are too modest and haven’t been telling the world – we have more to boast about that almost any other nation, and it’s high time that we made more noise about it.'
Nine of the 12 Clippers have now completed their pitstops in Hong Kong and are on the way to Qingdao. GREAT Britain, Derry-Londonderry-Doire, Invest Africa and Mission Performance all arrived and left on Saturday; Switzerland passed though and was away on Sunday morning; Henri Lloyd, Team Garmin, Old Pulteney and Qingdao arrived overnight and departed 1400h Sunday.
Jamaica Get All Right is expected to arrive in Hong Kong on Monday morning while PSP Logistics and OneDLL are due on Tuesday morning, 04 March 2014.