Durban 2010 and Beyond, one of the ten yachts competing in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race has been dismasted during the race from Qingdao, China, to Hawaii.
At 06:10 UTC 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 reported onboard.
Durban 2010 and Beyond is the second of the clipper yachts to dismast during leg 5 of the race following westernaustralia2011.com's rig failure on 5 March. As a precautionary measure, the remaining eight boats in the Clipper fleet have been told to stop racing and to proceed to Honolulu.
Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc and founder of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-JOHNSTON said, "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."
The crew of 16 onboard Durban 2010 and Beyond, including the professional skipper, is now 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 said, "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."
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. The dismasting is not thought to have been caused in the same manner as the one onboard westernaustralia2011.com.
With 85% of the leg already completed, 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 06:00 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.
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - www.clipperroundtheworld.com