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Another Clipper Race boat loses its rig

Mar 13, 2008 There’s been another rig failure in the Clipper Race. WesternAustralia2011.com lost about half of its mast on March 5th and now Durban 2010 and Beyond has suffered a complete dismasting, with the mast breaking at deck level. Luckily, none of the boat’s 16 crewmembers were injured. With two yachts experiencing major rig problems, the Clipper race committee has decided to shorten the course and declare this leg of the race completed and has ordered the rest of the fleet to proceed to Honolulu.

From the press release: At 0610 GMT on the 19th day of the 4,400-nautical mile Pacific Ocean leg, the team representing Durban, South Africa, contacted the Race Office to report that they had been dismasted at deck level, whilst sailing in approximately 20 knots of wind.

There are no injuries onboard and the crew of 16, including the professional skipper, is in the process of clearing the decks, cutting away the trailing rigging to prevent damage to the 68-foot yacht’s hull from the 81-foot (24.5 metre) mast, which weighs approximately one tonne.

Durbanite skipper, Ricky Chalmers says, “The conditions were bouncy, but we weren't slamming. Just before the mast broke, the helm said he bore away from a wave. I think there was a slam, but not major, then a double crack and then lots of shouts of "Ricky" from on deck. I got everyone down below, instructed them to wake everyone and get everyone in lifejackets in the saloon/galley area.”

Then began the process of clearing the deck. “We first secured the boom which was lying partly on deck, with the aft end about six feet over the side,” explains Ricky. The crew, working together also managed to save the mainsail and headsails. They had to cut some of the rigging to release a portion of the mast and haul in the mainsail by hand but, says Ricky, “After that it was pretty straight forward. Main on deck, headsails retrieved. Then we took a break, had a chat, had supper.”

The yacht, currently 780 miles from the finish line in Honolulu, Hawaii, remains seaworthy, guard wires re-secured and a full deck check carried out to assess the extent of the damage.

Durban 2010 and Beyond’s dismasting is not thought to have been caused in the same manner as westernaustralia2011.com’s rig failure on Wednesday 5 March.

With 85 percent of this stage of the race complete and as a precautionary measure in the interest of the safety of the crews taking part in the Clipper Race, which is always the paramount consideration for race organiser Clipper Ventures Plc, the Race Committee, headed by renowned yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has told the rest of the fleet to stop racing and to proceed to Honolulu.

The Clipper Race Committee decided to shorten the course in accordance with the Clipper Sailing Instructions and Race 7 of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race finished at 0600 GMT this morning, 13 March.

Durban 2010 and Beyond currently does not need assistance and will motor towards Honolulu as soon as the remainder of the rigging has been made safe. Uniquely Singapore and Qingdao, two of the other yachts competing in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race, have been diverted to rendezvous with the South African boat in the next 36 hours to transfer fuel and offer any support the team needs.

The crew’s next of kin have been informed.

Race Director Jonathan Bailey says, “Durban 2010 and Beyond contacted me this morning soon after the incident. It was obvious the skipper and crew were dealing with the situation in a professional and orderly fashion. They are working through the night to clear the decks and make the boat safe before proceeding to Hawaii.

“It is a testament to the skipper and crew and the Clipper Training they have all received that they are dealing with a very difficult situation well and calmly. As well as diverting Uniquely Singapore and Qingdao, I have asked three other yachts, Liverpool 08, Nova Scotia and Jamaica, to revisit their passage plans to Honolulu on the island of Oahu in order to converge with Durban 2010 and Beyond in several days’ time in case their assistance is required.”

Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, New York and Hull & Humber are proceeding to Honolulu, where they are due to arrive early next week. westernaustralia2011.com is continuing under jury rig to Midway Island, where the are expected to arrive on Friday 14 March to refuel before continuing to Honolulu.

Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc and founder of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston says,

“After ensuring the safety of our crews our priority is to get the yachts racing again as soon as possible and it is unlikely this will cause any significant delay to the race. We have already sourced a new mast for Durban 2010 and Beyond and are awaiting confirmation of the delivery date in Hawaii.”