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12 May 2003, 12:11 pm
Equator Antics
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Clipper 2002/03 Round the World Race
Singapore - Mauritius

The Clipper 2002 race fleet is now between the Islands of Sumatra and Bangka Island, with reports of Equator antics coming in thick and fast.
The eight yachts have made good time in their attempt to get South through the oil fields to Selat Sunda, to the West of which they will start Race 11 of the eleven-month series to Mauritius.

Crossing the Equator for any sailor is a special moment; a line that marks another goal achieved. For many of the Clipper crews this is not the first time that they have crossed over the Equator, although this doesn't mean that it's any less important than before.

Sailors are a superstitious bunch and every time they cross the Equator, it is equally as important to hold a little ceremony and thank Neptune for looking after them as they continue on their journey around the world.

There are also new leggers on board each Clipper who have yet to cross the Equator, so it is a great excuse to put them in the hotspot of Neptune's court, accuse them of their crimes against the sea, and pour interesting mixes of gunk over them!

This Equator crossing has been an unusual one because instead of racing, the boats were motoring together to get South to the start of Race 11. The crews' more theatrical and artistic talents therefore came into play and any passing fishermen faced the bizarre sight of the 60-foot racing yachts with their crews all in fancy dress, wielding buckets of slops!

News Flash of the day came from Jersey Clipper however, who reported a rather "Big Catch!" Round the Worlder, Frank Everaert, is the keen fisherman on board and has been trying his luck over the last leg to reclaim the 'biggest fish' prize from Cape Town Clipper. As the fleet celebrated crossing over the Equator, Frank got rather more than he bargained for...

Many of the crew members decided to swim over the Equator, not something one has the chance to do very often! As they did so, Frank was trying out his new fishing tackle he had bought in Singapore. Seemingly it is very effective as he certainly caught the biggest fish that day, namely Andrew Hancock - a fellow 'Round the Worlder' from Liverpool Clipper. Thankfully the Fleet Doctor, Richard Beringer, was on hand to release the catch and all is well.

Better luck next time Frank!
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