The Clipper Fleet 2015 © onEdition

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the biggest event of its kind and one of the world’s most incredible endurance challenges, is looking for adventurous Washington State residents to take on the challenge of a lifetime and achieve something extraordinary in its next edition.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race will feature a Visit Seattle team entry for the second consecutive race, and it’s not too late to sign up to join the action.
On Wednesday, 12 July, 16:00, at the Washington Athletic Club, race organisers and the Seattle Sports Commission are hosting a recruitment talk featuring current and former Clipper Race crew from across Washington State.

Clipper Race Crew Recruitment Director David Cusworth, himself a circumnavigator in the 2002-03 edition, says: “More and more people are looking for something different these days, something extraordinary that will really push their limits and test the boundaries of what they thought they were capable of.

“Seattle and its residents really embraced the race when we first visited the city so its incredible to see many now taking on this awesome challenge for themselves, and there is still the opportunity to join them for this unique challenge.”

Crew can choose whether to take part in the whole circumnavigation, which takes an awesome eleven months to complete, or one or more of its eight legs.

Fifteen Washington State residents are already training for the upcoming challenge. They include 25 year-old Nicole Stull, an event coordinator from the city who had no sailing experience before signing up for the adventure.

Nicole will join the race for Leg 7, which will see her set sail from her home city, Seattle, to race more than 6,000 nautical miles to New York, via the Panama Canal.

 

She says: “Seeing all of the boats parked at Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor marina when the race first visited Seattle in 2016 really in-sighted the feeling of being a part of something, and I hadn’t even signed up yet! I loved how much the city embraced the race as well, especially the Visit Seattle boat.

 

“I chose Leg 7 because I wanted to set sail on this crazy adventure from my hometown of Seattle. Going through the Panama Canal was another aspect of this leg that really excited me because it’s such a historic and monumental passage that not many people get to experience.”

 

Now in its twenty-first year, the Clipper Race, which was founded by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1968-69, is unique. It is the only event where people from all walks of life, regardless of previous sailing experience, can race around the world under sail.

 

Each of the fleet of twelve ocean racing yachts is sponsored by a destination or brand around the world and each team is led by a professional skipper. The Visit Seattle yacht aims to build a legacy following the relationships made through direct engagement with companies, cities and countries on the Clipper Race route; engage with international Clipper Race partners and provide opportunities to increase international trade links with the US.

The Clipper Race is open to anyone over the age of 18 at the time the race starts, but there is no upper age limit. More information about the race and how to RSVP to the event can be found on the Clipper Race website: http://clipperroundtheworld.com/events-calendar/event/crew-member-presentation4

The Clipper 2017-18 Race starts from Liverpool, UK, on Sunday 20 August and will take approximately eleven months to complete, taking in six continents and crossing 40,000 nautical miles of the world’s major oceans.

The twelve-strong race fleet, including the Visit Seattle team, will arrive into Seattle in April 2018 after racing over half way of its epic voyage around the world.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire Race 4 Start ( Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

Derry~Londonderry~Doire Race 4 Start ( Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

Derry~Londonderry~Doire is diverting to Hobart in Tasmania for a medevac of an injured crewman as a precautionary measure.

Skipper Daniel Smith contacted the Race Office at 1030 AEDT today (2330 UTC Tuesday 8 December) to report that round-the-world crew member Michael Gaskin, 54, from the West Midlands, UK, had sustained suspected broken ribs after he fell by the helming position when a wave broke over the back of the yacht in rough seas and 35 knots wind, approximately 130 nautical miles to the southwest of Tasmania.

Team Medics Ali Boeree and Jan Chatzis administered first aid while the Skipper contacted ClipperTelemed+, the Clipper Race remote telemedicine service. Doctors at the Praxes operations centre in Halifax, Canada, confirmed diagnosis and directed the provision of pain relief and anti-nausea medication.

Due to the proximity of Hobart and the rough conditions, the Skipper has decided to divert as a precaution so that Michael can be treated ashore. The team will continue the race to Sydney once Michael has been transferred to hospital.

Mike Gaskin (Photo © onEdition)

Mike Gaskin (Photo © onEdition)
Clipper crew member Mike Gaskin

“The Skipper reports that Mike is in a stable condition and is receiving pain relief,” explained Race Director Justin Taylor. “The conditions were quite challenging at the time. Mike was clipped on behind the high side helm. The low side helm took over to allow Mike to step in. A breaking wave broke over the side of cockpit and Mike says he hit the pushpit and heard his ribs crunch. He was then washed into the A frame and sustained a small cut to his head. He was stopped by his safety tether. This was the first breaking wave into the boat the team had experienced, although they had a lot of spray.”

Water breaking over the deck is very powerful. A cubic metre of water weighs a metric tonne.

This is the first medevac of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, the tenth edition of the biennial global series, the world’s longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles, taking 11 months to race between six continents. Only a handful of the 3300 amateur sailors who have participated over the last 19 years have had to be evacuated, the majority as a precaution following medical treatment aboard.

Michael’s next of kin has been informed. Everyone else aboard is safe and well.

Michael is an experienced yachtsman, holding a Day Skipper qualification and had previously sailed around Scotland, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

The yacht is estimated to reach Hobart around 1000 AEDT tomorrow (Thursday) morning 10 December (2300 UTC 9 December).

Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew in Albany (Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)


Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew in Albany (Photo courtesy of the Clipper Race)

 Race one of the Clipper 15-16 Race gets underway from Southend, UK to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ( Photo Copyright onEdition 2015©)

Race one of the Clipper 15-16 Race gets underway from Southend, UK to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ( Photo Copyright onEdition 2015©)

Close competitive racing in the first leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from London to Rio has been overshadowed this week by the death of a crew member in what appears to be a tragic accident.

Having safely navigated the Bay of Biscay, increasing wind speeds propelled the fleet along the Portuguese coast. But as the team aboard IchorCoal put in a reef to reduce sail area one of the crew was knocked unconscious and failed to recover despite immediate medical assistance and expert remote guidance.

Andy Ashman, a paramedic from South East London was an experienced sailor and described as being typical of the ‘Corinthian’ Clipper Race spirit. He was an inspiration to the rest of his team of amateur sailors from all walks of life.

This was the first fatality in the 19-year history of the race which has trained over 3300 people to participate safely in nine previous editions of the biennial global event.

The news of the incident was received soberly across the fleet and tributes were paid by many who had trained alongside Andrew.

Messages of support from his family and friends encouraged the team to continue as it is ‘what Andy would have wanted’.

While the team aboard IchorCoal went ashore at Porto, in northern Portugal, the Clipper Race fleet paid their respects, flew their Red Ensigns at half mast, and raced on as the most fitting tribute.

At the front of the fleet the duel continued between GREAT Britain and LMAX Exchange. But the two have now split with LMAX Exchange taking a clear lead of more than 160 nautical miles closer to the finish in Rio after taking better winds further east, racing through the Canary Islands and then close to the West Saharan coast.

The leaderboard has seen some considerable changes over the last 24 hours, as the teams made their tactical decisions on whether to pass between the Canary Islands and take more of an inshore route, or leave them to port.

Get it wrong and you are caught in the wind shadow of the huge volcanic mountains that extend for more than 100 miles out to sea, creating a major headache as the Skippers seek out the more steady Trade Winds.

The Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is neck-and-neck with GREAT Britain further west, but they could be overtaken by Qingdao and Garmin hoping to copy the LMAX Exchange manoeuvre through the Canaries.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire led the race for a time on Tuesday. Skipper Daniel Smith explained:The day was spent gybing down a narrow band of wind trying to keep the boat moving and achieve the best speeds downwind. By 1800UTC we got the result we were looking for. For the first time since leaving the Thames we were back in first place.

“This was a great achievement from the crew despite them knowing it probably wouldn’t last for long. LMAX Exchange has put itself further east, and was approaching a band of stronger steadier winds. Our plan of squeezing through west of Madeira hadn’t worked out as well as we’d hoped due to the wind strength decreasing.

“We are continuing to fight our way south into what should be an ever-increasing wind, keeping an eye on the positions of more easterly yachts and hoping that they don’t all manage to slot in in front of us.”

The fleet is spread over some 500 nautical miles with around 4000 nautical miles of racing still ahead of it.

In Porto the team of IchorCoal was met by Clipper Race officials led by founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

After time to reflect they came to the unanimous joint decision to continue racing and return to sea as soon as possible.

Andrew’s brother Keith Ashman flew out to reinforce the family’s support for the team’s decision and waved them off as they headed out to resume racing.

IchorCoal team (Photo ©OnEdition)

IchorCoal team (Photo ©OnEdition)

On the broad transom at the stern of their 70-foot ocean racing yacht the team wrote “For Andy. Roger that!” One of Andy’s favourite responses.

The team has been awarded redress for the incident to compensate the time lost. The Race Committee has decided to award a time redress of 81 hours and 1 minute to IchorCoal.  This is calculated on the time from the accident until the yacht commenced racing of 85 hours and 52 minutes, less the time the yacht gained by re-starting 41.2 miles further along the race course, which, at their average speed at the time of the accident of 8.7 knots, is 4 hours and 51 minutes.

This 81 hours and 1 minute will be deducted from IchorCoal’s finishing time in Rio de Janeiro to give the team’s overall position on Race 1.

As a lasting tribute the Atlantic Ocean Sprint, a short section of the race track off the Brazilian coast where extra points are awarded for the fastest team between two points, will be named in Andy’s honour. The fastest team will receive a special trophy, the ‘Andy Ashman Memorial Plate’ in Rio and it will continue to be awarded in future editions of the Clipper Race.

As at 1400 UTC (1500 UK/BST) the fleet positions were as follows:

1 LMAX Exchange – 3542 nM to finish
2 GREAT Britain
3 Derry~Londonderry~Doire
4 Garmin
5 Qingdao
6 Da Nang – Viet Nam
7 ClipperTelemed
8 Unicef
9 PSP Logistics
10 Visit Seattle
11 + Mission Performance
12 IchorCoal

IchorCoal team resumes racing after saying a prayer for lost crewmate. (Photo © OnEdition)

IchorCoal team resumes racing after saying a prayer for lost crewmate. (Photo © OnEdition)

The LMAX Exchange (centre) and Great Britain yacht, (left) head off at the start of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race at Southend Pier. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 31, 2015. (Photo by John Walton/PA Wire)

The LMAX Exchange (centre) and Great Britain yacht, (left) head off at the start of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race at Southend Pier. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 31, 2015. (Photo by John Walton/PA Wire)

31 AUGUST 2015

And they’re off!!  The Clipper 2015-16 Race is officially underway after a wet but wonderful start off the English coastal town of Southend.

For some crew, it felt like this day would never come after all the months of training and week of anticipation and excitement in the Race Village at St Katharine Docks, London.

The send-off yesterday was phenomenal, with crew past, present and future, plus tens of thousands of race supporters lining the banks of the River Thames for the Parade of Sail – and not forgetting everyone in the spectator boats on the water. Thank you for making the day so special for all the crew, Skippers and the Clipper Race family.

From the Brazilian dancers to drummers performing up the mast, it was a day to remember and the perfect start to this great adventure.  Tower Bridge lifted twice for the fleet’s Parade of Sail with GREAT Britain leading the way out of its home port of London.

Amid all the celebrations and party atmosphere, there was a poignant moment during the Blessing of the Fleet when the Sailors’ Society Chaplain read from a bible that Visit Seattle will be taking round the world.  This bible was a gift from Sir Robin to Skipper Huw Fernie’s grandfather before his own circumnavigation many years ago. Now Huw and Visit Seattle have the bible on board for its second round the world voyage, as a tribute to his grandfather.

There was also our first Clipper 2015-16 Race proposal! As Mission Performance took to the stage on the Main Pontoon during the farewell ceremony, a cry came out from the crowd, Ali Hudson burst into tears on the stage and as everyone looked up, her partner John Dyer waved a poster that said “Ali, will you marry me?!”

Now, back to the sailing…

Race 1 got underway at 1130 UTC and was broadcast live by our Director of Communications Jonathan Levy using Periscope. To watch this video and the interviews with Sir Robin, Race Director Justin Taylor and Deputy Race Director Mark Light, click here.  This is a new app that the communications team will be using in Host Ports throughout the race and it allows us to broadcast live footage from our mobile phones. When this is happening alerts and reminders will be sent out from our Clipper Race Twitter account.

A cannon was fired by officials from Benfleet Yacht Club to mark the start of the tenth edition of the Clipper Race and LMAX Exchange, led by our first ever French Skipper Olivier Cardin, was the first yacht over the start line. It was quickly followed by GREAT Britain and Da Nang – Viet Nam on this 5,186 nautical mile journey to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  For the full story click here.

Tomorrow we will be sending out the first daily report from the first day’s racing. These will be sent to you every day while the fleet is at sea until the twelfth yacht arrives into each Host Port.  The daily updates will then begin again the day after the next race starts.

We have many ways for you to keep up to date with the race, not least is using our Race Viewer.  So for details on how you can be kept up to speed, please click here.