Friday 5 February 2010

Round the World: Race 5 Ends - More Incidents for SAS Consultant's Yacht

The Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race, featuring UK-based SAS consultant Andy Phillips onboard the 68-foot Team Finland, continues to offer incidents and accidents. As race 5 was building to a close-fought contest between a number of yachts, one of Team Finland's rivals, Cork, struck a submerged reef in the Java Sea, leaving its crew to hurriedly launch the life rafts and paddle to the nearby small island of Gosong Mampango. Thankfully nobody was hurt. All 16 crew were subsequently evacuated to two sister yachts, Team Finland and California.

After a good deal of inspection, surveyors and salvage experts advised that the boat was so weakened by the pounding she had taken on the reef that she would not survive being dragged off the shelf, made buoyant and then completing the 450 mile tow to Singapore. Even if this were possible, the extent of the damage meant that she would be beyond economic repair. As such, Chairman of Clipper Ventures Sir Robin Knox-Johnston accepted, with very great sadness, that Cork should remain on the reef and be lost to the sea. This is the first loss that the Clipper organisation has ever experienced. Since the first race in 1996, more than 2 million miles of racing has been safely and successfully completed.

Having been savaged by Hull & Humber at the start of race 4, causing several days of delay back in port for repairs, one has to feel sorry for Cork's crew. However, all crew members have been found berths onboard other yachts, and a replacement vessel will be in-place by the start of race 9 (starting in Panama).

At the end of race 5, after making due consideration for the delays incurred by Team Finland and others who went to the aid of Cork, the Race Committee placed Team Finland fourth. As a result, Andy Phillips's yacht now stands second in the overall results - having stood at the head of the leaderboard from the very start of Clipper 09-10.

Race 6, from Singapore to Qingdao, China started 4 days ago and is due to see the leaders cross the finish line around February 20th. Let's hope for a competitive but less incident-packed race!