The fourth leg of the Clipper 2002 Round the World Yacht Race gets underway tomorrow, Thursday 17 April 2003, after a three-week stopover in Hong Kong.
The San Fernando Race 2003 has been cancelled due to the impending typhoon, and concerns in the Phillipines over the sars virus, however, following an eleventh hour decision by the authorities in La Union to refuse entry to the race fleet due to concerns about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
San Fernando is therefore no longer an option for the crews competing on the Clipper 2002 race due to these quarantine restrictions. However the Clipper yachts, namely Bristol, Cape Town, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Jersey, Liverpool, London and New York, will still set sail with the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's fleet at 12:00 (local time) on Thursday, 17 April 2003.
An alternative course is planned for the Club's strong contingent of racing yachts and the Clipper 2002 race route will now take its crews directly to Singapore. The San Fernando Race represents the only time the Clipper fleet sails in competition with other yachts and therefore it was an especially popular event with the crews two years ago.
Setting sail from Hong Kong at midday, the Clippers will race non-stop to Singapore, taking an easterly route through the South China Sea; a route very similar to that sailed in the first two Clipper races. The challenging course marks the start of Clipper 2002's homeward stretch and will cover some 1,850 miles, with the fleet expected to successfully reach their destination on Friday, 2 May.
In Singapore the fleet will berth at the highly impressive Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, who are hosting the visit.
Clipper Ventures plc, organisers of the Clipper 2002 and Around Alone races, continues to closely monitor Typhoon Kujira, which is presently to the east of the Philippines.
The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club has excelled itself as the host of the halfway point of the Clipper circumnavigation and the overall points at this stage show the Jersey yacht maintaining her healthy lead with 53 points. Bristol and Liverpool are both chasing the leader with 46 and 38.5 points respectively.
A mere 4 points separate the next chasers, namely London, Hong Kong and Glasgow, who continue to close the gap threateningly. New York and Cape Town are bringing up the rear of the fleet, although they will be immensely popular winners should they secure some podium successes on the second half of the Clipper 2002 race.
Following a 7-day stopover in Singapore, the fourth crew leg will conclude in Mauritius at the end of May 2003.
Clipper 2002 Overall Order after Race 8