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)

Life on deck at 45 degrees

Life on deck at 45 degrees

THE WIND HAS STRENGTHENED OVERNIGHT AND THE TEAMS ARE BACK TO BEATING INTO 35 TO 40 KNOTS OF WIND, WITH FOUR YACHTS CLEAR OF THE NOTORIOUS TAIWAN STRAIT.

Sail plans have become conservative with storm sails hoisted and three reefs in the main with conditions rough because of the short, choppy seas the Strait is known for.

 Eric Holden, skipper of Henri Lloyd, said the conditions are expected to last throughout the day with possibly a slight reprieve tomorrow with a few knots less predicted.

“That would be very welcomed but really we should prepare for this to continue for the next three or so days until we are well out of the Strait of Taiwan, where the wind accelerates as it funnels between Taiwan and the mainland.”

 The boats are on an individual time trial, with the race to Qingdao being decided on elapsed times.

However, GREAT Britain and Derry~Londonderry~Doire set off at the exact same time so are able to match race each other.

 Sean McCarter, skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, said: “For the second time in our match race, we have split tacks with GREAT Britainelecting to continue on north out of the Strait while we headed east in search of more favourable current and a better wind angle to head north. It was pretty painful getting out here so let’s hope it pays in the next couple of schedules!”

 The north east monsoon is expected to ease again over the next two days, but the weather is very localised around the Strait due to the Taiwanese land mass.

 PSP Logistics left the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in Causeway Bay at mid-day local time today (UTC + 8 hours); her departure was delayed slightly longer to also replace a faulty fuel pump.

 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, thanked the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for all the help they gave the fleet during the brief pit stop to repair the yacht’s forestays.

 “It was not just the way they leaped into the breach, it was the enthusiastic and professional way they sorted out our problem. The hospitality of the club is legendary, and many of the crews had the opportunity to avail themselves of the bar and meals whilst in port. The RHKYC is a very special yacht club.”

 

To read all the skipper reports click here

 

To track the fleet’s progress on the official Race Viewer click here

Sean McCarter
Derry~ Londonderry~ Doire

 

Simon Talbot
GREAT Britain

 

Simon Talbot
Henri Lloyd

 

CV31, Leg 4, Race 5, Day 5 - Jenn Hill

Jamaica Get All Right Jenn Hill Leg 4 , Race 5, Day 5 (Photo courtesy of Jamaica Get All Right / Clipper Round the World Race)

17.01.2014 / Race 8: Day 5
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA TO SINGAPORE: OLD PULTENEY NAVIGATOR CUP
It’s been all change at the thop of the leaderboard in the last 24 hours with frustrating squally conditions hampering the fleets progress, while a tactical ploy by “Jamaica Get It All” saw the team storm ahead of “Derry – Londonderry – Doire”, relinquishing it’s lead for the first tine in race 8.
After a tactical decision to sail as close to the wind as possible in the last 24 hours Jamaica Get All Right made a triumphant sprint into first place. However in the last hour the Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire has challenged and regained its lead. As the fleet bunch up GREAT Britain has slid into third place just one mile ahead of the Dutch entry OneDLL as just 30 miles separate the top eight teams.

Skipper of Jamaica Get All Right, Pete Stirling described his tactical decision and impressive new position within the fleet.
“Overnight we deliberately sailed as close to the wind as we possibly could and it paid off as this morning we were the most westerly boat in the fleet, which had the effect of moving us up the leader board in a dramatic fashion. So now we find ourselves in a good position but the really hard part will be defending it as the rest of the fleet will be hot on our heels.”
As the fleet make its way through the Soloman Sea which separates Papa New Guinea and the Soloman Islands, the squally unsettled conditions, ever changing wind direction and endless sail changes continue to blight the fleets progress. However, PSP Logisticshave enjoyed the light relief from the hot and humid conditions having experienced ‘our first official shower since Brisbane.’
Skipper of Switzerland, Vicky Ellis sums up the conditions of the last 24 hours:

“Combine the rose dawn with the rising clouds and come the afternoon we have been in squall after squall.They are now so dense it’s just one huge squall according to the radar.

“Stuck under this same cloud are OneDLL and Old Pulteney. Just arrived too on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) is PSP Logistics whose luck seems to have run the same as ours after they had fortunate wind to run them in to the Solomon Seas and have caught up with the pack.”

 

To read all the skipper reports click here

To track the fleets progress on the official Race Viewer click here

 

 

Photo courtesy of Henri Lloyd / Clipper Round the World Race 2013-14

Photo courtesy of Henri Lloyd / Clipper Round the World Race 2013-14

Photo courtesy of Clipper Round the World Race

Photo courtesy of Clipper Round the World Race

WITH JUST A FEW MILES SEPARATING THE TOP THREE TEAMS AND WITH LESS THAN 35 MILES UNTIL THE FINISH LINE OF RACE 7, THE FIERCE SPRINT TO WIN THE MAXIMUM 12 POINTS AND SECURE A COVETED PODIUM POSITION IS WELL UNDERWAY.

The Northern Irish entry, Derry~Londonderry~Doire has led for the majority of 1075 mile sprint that is Race 7. However, could it be all change in the final chapter of this race as Switzerland, and current overall leader OneDLL show no sign of relinquishing its lead as it begins the final chase to Brisbane, Australia.
Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Sean McCarter knows a mistake at this vital stage of the race could cost him and his team those all-important 12 points and the teams second consecutive win. “Well we’re less than 50 miles from the finish and speeding towards it at speeds of up to 20 knots. Our good friends on OneDLL were unlucky to lose their medium weight spinnaker yesterday evening and have dropped back a little from ourselves and Switzerland. 

“We have at least one gybe to lay the finish line and are all praying that our repaired heavyweight kite will survive it. We could drop, repack, gybe and re-hoist but this would almost certainly give Switzerland the advantage.” 

PSP logistics is in full ‘work mode’ making full use of the teams retirement from Race 7 which will allow the team more time to prepare in Brisbane ahead of Leg 5 and the 5,000 mile race to Singapore and Qingdao, China.

With the majority of the fleet having successfully completed the Ocean Sprint, GREAT Britain’s ‘unlucky’ streak struck again with yet another Ocean Sprint set back. Skipper Simon Talbot, explains: 

“You may remember that every time we attempt to have a serious go at an Ocean Sprint, something, generally spinnaker related, goes wrong. Well you guessed it, this time was no exception, we were running along really nicely under our medium weight spinnaker, averaging nearly 14 knots and making excellent progress when one particularly big wave picked the boat up and rounded her up to windward.

“Add to this that the big wave also brought with it some extra wind, as is often the case, then you may be able to guess what happened next. Yes, you got it, an almighty broach and before we had time to recover, the bulk of the spinnaker was in the water with a small section of the head still flying from the mast top – argh! The curse had struck again.”

All positions reported as at the time of writing and are changing frequently. Check the Clipper Race tracker for the latest positions.

To read all the skipper reports click here and to view the latest ETAs click here

To track the fleets progress on the official Race Viewer click here