When the boats crossed the line yesterday afternoon, it was an extra special moment for all concerned, following the fleet's unscheduled seven week stop in the Philippines to sort out keel problems.
A phenomenal amount of work has gone into getting the boats ready to sail today. Teams have been working flat out to get everything up and running and tested in time for the today's restart. Despite a break of seven weeks, the racing was tight in a gentle breeze, and the fleet split into two separate groups at opposite sides of the bay where they got involved in various tacking duels.
Before the start Liverpool skipper Tim MAGEE said, 'The crew have shown an unbelievable commitment in the last few days, as they have since the start of the race. That is reason we're doing so well in the race is because of them. We're only half way through the competition and, standing in third place that number one slot is still in our sight.'
Not the customary good start from westernaustralia.com. Dockside new westernaustralia.com Skipper Mark PREEDY had said, 'The crew's motivation has been brilliant here, so I've not really had to push them. They've all been doing it for the last six months and they're pretty hot on it. It's made my job harder because I've got to try and convince them that I'm needed!
'I want to win, but I want everyone to enjoy it and gain something from it. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt out there.'
The West Australian State Government paid $900,000 to be part of the Clipper 05-06 race. The professional skipper of the race-leading WA entry, Dave PRYCE, quit this week as frustration at the seven-week unscheduled running-repairs stopover took its toll. PRYCE was also unhappy with the newly proposed timeline for the race.
PRYCE's shock decision had surprised the crew of westernaustralia.com, who are determined to fight on and take the Clipper Cup under the direction of their new skipper.
Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON, Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc, who was out on the water in a local yacht to see the re-start, said, 'The Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race is back on!'
'Thanks to an almost super human effort by the Clipper team, Green Marine and a small army of Filipino laminators, the remedial work on the Clipper fleet was completed in an impressive time frame.'
Before the restart the Subic Bay Yacht Club, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Department of Tourism staged a send off celebration for the crews, many of whom have spent weeks exploring the Philippines. Traditional dancing, music, garlands and a full brass band entertained the crews. A local priest also blessed each boat prior to their departure on the 1400-mile race.
The fleet are due to arrive in Qingdao on 2 April - the sailing city to the Beijing Olympics 2008.
Now that the lights of Subic are fading, crews will be looking forward to getting into the familiar routines of the watch systems and the twice-daily radio schedules - the race is now well and truly back on!
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