Exciting news from Brisbane

Exciting news from Brisbane

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only event of its type. Anyone, even if they have never stepped on a boat before, can join the adventure and circumnavigate the world in a one year marathon.

Taking part in this year’s race as a full circumnavigator is Andrew Taylor.

Andrew is the former general manager of Wembley Stadium with Delaware North Companies (UK) and project director for the Amadeus Olympic Park North team. He has agreed to share some of his race experiences with us via EP and we will be publishing extracts from his blog and some photos from aboard his yacht during each of the race stopovers.

In his latest blog he explains the team’s progress on race 5 to Sydney and an exciting development on race 6: Rolex Sydney to Hobart.

As I write this we are in final preparation to depart Australia and head north up to Singapore. We arrived to Western Australia, Albany back in November for a short stopover of only 5 days. Albany was amazing; our race circus arriving there means so much more to a smaller town than when it arrives somewhere like Cape Town or Rio. The town opened up for us and the people were so incredibly welcoming, everywhere we went we received special treatment. Restaurants, bars, shops all knew the race schedule and who each of the teams were. Even when dressed in civi’s we were recognised and looked after with a welcoming smile. It was a real pleasure to share the race and our experiences with the local residents. When race 5 to Sydney started on 3rd December the whole town closed down and came out to wave us off. We put on a fabulous show with a formation parade of sail past the marina and waterfront under our spectacular blaze of colour with team flags and banners flying.

We headed out into the bay and prepared for race start, all around the hills and mountains of WA surrounding the bay we could see people lining the best vantage points and a good number of boats were out in the spectator areas to get close up views of us. Race start is a complicated and manic affair and consequently very exciting. Out boats are designed for ocean racing in big seas, they are 73 feet long and weigh 36 tonnes, but on race start day we spin them around and around almost on top of each other in close quarters jostling for position and start line honours. It’s exciting and extremely dangerous. Psychologically it’s great to get an advantage on the start and head out to sea in the lead. We all really work hard for this on DerryLondonDerry. In racing terms however when we are racing over 1,000’s of miles it doesn’t really matter.

The Albany start does not disappoint and we race closer than ever before with Henri Lloyd and DLL, heading out to sea only a few meters apart. On the second turn around the buoys the boats cross each other and behind us GB and PSP Logistics get tangled together and crash into each other. GB rips off their bow sprit and damages their bow and pull pit. One of the massive twin aluminium and carbon fibre helms on PSP is destroyed and their rear guard rails and push pits are ripped right off. Miraculously no one is hurt in this melee. But both boats have to return straight to port for major repairs and don’t depart for at least another 24 hours. Later in a detailed independent committee review in Sydney, it is found that GB is at fault and disqualified from race 5. PSP is awarded redress points based on their average points so far on the race. Across the fleet everyone agrees this is fair.

We race hard to Sydney, travelling back down to the southern ocean again, as far south as 44degrees as we round Tasman Island to head north up to Sydney. As we head north it warms up again and we arrive in Sydney to a summer heat wave. Arriving into Sydney in fifth place we are really happy with the result. We actually got our strategy wrong on this race and it cost us at least three places in race finish order. Sailing into Sydney in blazing sunlight during the day was awesome, I have been to Sydney many times before but arriving from the sea is pretty special. My brother and his family live there, and so it was a stopover I was really looking forward to. They make the stopover really very special for me and for the first time since July I have a couple of days away from the boat to celebrate Christmas with family.

For race 6 we are taking part in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. An opportunity to take part in this is extremely rare in the sailing world and I appreciate greatly how lucky we are to get this opportunity. Very early next morning on Boxing Day we gather ourselves on board the boat preparing for final departure.

The boat is looking great and we are ready for departure quickly which gives us time to take in the surroundings. The temporary car park is now full, the walkway around the outside of the marina awash with spectators and the pontoons which are not closed off to public access are extremely busy, with flags and banners. As we slip our moorings the boats around us applaud and cheer, as do the spectators, some final waves and blown kisses to the well-wishers and we exit the marina into the melee of boats gathering outside. The bay is mental with boats everywhere, spectator and competitor, we make our way quickly out to the rendezvous area and assemble with the fleet. Main sails and battle flags raised we head off up river to the harbour bridge and around past the opera house in formation with a police outrider boat escorting us all the way. Awesome spectacle and I can’t wait to see the photographs from this one.

As we approach back to the bay we head for the competitor start area to give ourselves some space to prepare. Flags and banners away now and sail plan ready, it’s time to go to work!

The power of the seas

I take up position on the forward grinder for the start sequence, for this race start I am the hired muscle. We tack round and round again to get some practice and all is going extremely well. We are working well together as a team on deck and our manoeuvres look great. Once or twice I drop down to the Nav station to confirm and reconfirm headings for skipper on the helm. There are so many different marks and sequences it is very important we get these absolutely right…

Read the rest of the crew’s adventures here

Check out their new website for yet another way to follow the race, or email your name and country of origin to: dailyupdate@clipper-ventures.com for daily newsletters.

For more information on all of the initiatives run by EP or to get (more) involved with the community, please contact Nicole Thompson

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