westernaustralia2011.com has left Midway Island for the second time after making repairs to their damaged gearbox. To get spare parts to the remote island at the north western-most end of the Hawaiian Island chain in order to enable them to make the repairs and get underway again so quickly has been a masterpiece of logistical planning involving dozens of people.
Clipper Race Director, Joff Bailey, says, 'To get equipment to Midway Island quickly is almost impossible. westernaustralia2011.com was very lucky. Our staff in Hawaii have been working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to solve this problem and managed to get the components of the broken gearbox onto yesterday's supply plane. The load weight of the relatively small plane is critical otherwise it risks running out of fuel before it gets to Midway Island. In the end the gearbox had to be broken down into parts so that if the whole gearbox could not go, at least the essential bits could be loaded on.'
That, as it turned out, was exactly what happened and some parts of the replacement gearbox were still on the tarmac as the plane took off from Honolulu yesterday. If all this had failed Joff and his team also had a Plan B running; on Wednesday a second gearbox on left on a supply ship that is due to arrive at Midway in a couple of days.
'The personnel we have been dealing with at the US FWS and on the island of Midway have done everything within their powers to assist us,' says Joff. 'They could not have done more and we are very grateful of their assistance and thank them for it. The crew of westernaustralia2011.com have enormously enjoyed their two short stops on the island and have been shown an amazing amount of hospitality and I know they were sad to leave, but also happy as it meant they could once again re-join the rest of the Clipper fleet currently in Oahu.'
westernaustralia2011.com is expected to arrive in Ala Wai harbour in Honolulu within the next seven days which, by coincidence, will also be the same day their new mast arrives in Hawaii.
Although there will be plenty of work to be done on the boat the crew will also have a little time to relax into the pace of island life - and it won't take long according to Rob McInally, skipper of Nova Scotia. He and his team arrived in the Ala Wai on Wednesday and he says, 'I could feel myself relaxing the minute I stepped off on to the dockside at Magic Island Fuel Dock. We're loving it here.'
After enjoying the Jamaica Rum Party onboard Qingdao (although fierce competitors at sea the teams are best of friends in port) the crews of the nine boats already in the harbour attended the prize giving at Hawaii Yacht Club. And, although westernaustralia2011.com's crew missed last night's party, it's pretty certain there will be a huge celebration when they arrive alongside their competitors next weekend at the end of their mammoth journey across the Pacific.
Images of activity on the pontoons at Waikiki Yacht Club, Magic Island Fuel Dock and of the prize giving at Hawaii Yacht Club can be viewed in the 'Multimedia' section of www.clipperroundtheworld.com