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Have you got a question for the Clipper Race team? Email, with questions being answered within 5 working days, usually sooner. Your question and the answer will also be posted in this section of the website anonymously for future reference.

Why did Jamaica Get All Right divert during Race 10?

Jamaica Get All Right diverted to Tateyama, Japan due to a medevac situation. Crew member Mick Wood, 63, was disembarked successfully after reporting chest pains and has now been discharged from hospital. He has been diagnosed with pneumonia and is returning to the UK to recover.

Why is GREAT Britain's position not updating at the same time as the rest of the fleet during Race 11?

GREAT Britain is experiencing issues with its primary tracking system so it using the secondary system which only updates every six hours.

Where can I view the overall standings of the Clipper 13-14 Race so far?

You can view the overall standings by following this link and scrolling to the second half of the screen:

Why does the Clipper Race not recommend personal EPIRB for crew members?

The skipper’s report regarding the MOB on Derry~Londonderry~Doire is actually incorrect. The crew member who went over board was actually equipped with an AIS personal beacon which is not a PLB or personal EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon). There is often confusion between the two devices. AIS works by transmitting a VHF signal and a PLB transmits to a satellite. Clipper Ventures do not recommend personal EPIRBs (PLBs) because they need to be registered correctly and they do not assist a yacht you have just fallen from to locate you instantly which AIS does do. PLBs send a signal to the closest MRCC via a satellite, who will then relay a message to the yacht. However, this relay will come through the person or organisation listed as the contact point by the owner of the PLB. This causes inevitable delays. Clipper Ventures do not dissuade crew from purchasing their own AIS locator beacons as they inform the yacht exactly where the MOB is, as happened in the recent incident. But it is the crew member’s responsibility to ensure they are fitted correctly. What is more important and something Clipper Ventures emphasises a great deal is being clipped on to the yacht especially on the bow. We stress this very important fact throughout training, on refresher sails and I also tell crew at every crew briefing. If this is done then it renders a PLB obsolete. The emphasis is on prevention, not what gear you have if you should fall in. There is also the question of what activates the beacon. If it activates when immersed then we would have, on average, 15 going off on each boat on each leg of the race, or some 2,800 activations in one race, based on the number of times lifejackets inflate. Clearly this would not be acceptable to the rescue authorities. If the beacons are manually activated then the casualty has to be conscious to do this. In the recent incident the casualty was hit very hard on the leg by the rudder. Had he been hit hard on the head and made unconscious he could not have set off his AIS beacon. There is a need for something that is 100 per cent reliable, whether the casualty is conscious or not, and this does not currently exist. We have already instigated some enquiries within the industry to see what can be created to deal with this. However, the Clipper Ventures cannot ignore the role that the personal AIS played in the recovery of the recent MOB in the North Pacific. For this reason we are fitting each of the yacht’s danbouys with an AIS beacon. When the horseshoe and danbuoy are deployed the AIS beacon will be activated too. Justin Taylor, Race Director

Why do some teams receive more news coverage than others?

A number of questions have been received about the prominence of certain teams in our news coverage of the race. We appreciate it may be frustrating to see some yachts getting more regular news coverage than others but this is inevitably linked to their performance in the race; we will naturally talk more about the front runners and podium finishers. We certainly try to ensure we feature all of the teams over a period of time, but to guarantee equal coverage for everyone would simply not reflect what was happening in the race. The web site features the daily skipper reports equally for each boat together with all the crew blogs and pictures received - although not every team is as active in this regard even though we encourage them to send back regular blogs, pictures and videos. In social media we will post links to news stories but also quote from each boat's skipper report every day. However, some boats' fan bases are more vocal than others and may therefore get more retweets, etc. Other factors that generate coverage can be incidents such as the man overboard on Derry~Londonderry~Doire; or if certain crew members are doing interesting or unusual activities. The only time a sponsor will get more coverage is if we are talking about unusual in-port sponsor events or taking the naming-rights for a race such as the PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup. Also, some sponsors are more proactive in generating their own social media and independent press coverage. We can reassure you that the only thing that influences content is its newsworthiness, topicality and interest value. We are aware of the need to give as much coverage as we can for everyone and will continue to do so.

Has the problem with halyard chafing and jamming been solved. If so, what has been the fix?

In the previous eight editions of the Clipper Round the World Races all the yachts have suffered from chafe of halyards in the early legs. Skippers and crews use several methods to minimise chafe and this is always a learning curve. From my experience it is never just one thing that is done but a combination of actions. These range from exercising loaded halyards so the loading is not always on one area of the line. Adding chafe protection which is usually an outer sheave on loaded points. Not overloading the halyard by reducing sail earlier. Changing leads so that chafe does not occur on say a halyard exit in the mast. From this you can see there is no one magic bullet to eliminate chafe. You will find that the crews all have their own solutions.

When can I undertake training for the Clipper 2015-16 Race?

I can confirm that yes you can complete all four Levels of training in 2015 prior to the Race start. Please be aware that the start date has yet to be confirmed so although August is a possibility it is not a definite. We will have courses running from February until June with courses running almost every week so there are plenty of dates to choose from.

Where can we find a list of the AIS codes for the Clipper Race fleet?

You can use the website to track the yachts using AIS. Please bear in mind that AIS only works in near coast areas because it is a VHF signal with a very limited range. AIS is really only useful to shore-side observers within the first 24 hours of a race and the last 250 miles before a finish. This is because we require the yachts to turn on their AIS transponders at these times. For tactical reasons they are then permitted to turn them off whilst at sea however they are not permitted to switch off their AIS receiver at any time. The registered names of the yachts are CV20, CV21….and so on to CV31. If you type in the sponsor name such as Henri Lloyd then you will have no luck locating the yacht. CV20 – OneDLL CV21 – Henri Lloyd CV22 – Qingdao CV23 – Mission Performance CV24 – Switzerland CV25 – Invest Africa CV26 – GREAT Britain CV27 – Team Garmin CV28 – PSP Logistics CV29 – Old Pulteney CV30 – Derry~Londonderry~Doire CV31 - Jamaica Get All Right Satellite AIS is in its infancy and it apparently provides ocean wide coverage but Clipper does not have this technology installed.

In Race 11, if all yachts started with the same amount of fuel en route to Panama, why do some yachts need to refuel and others don't?

All the yachts start with the same amount of fuel. No yachts have run out of fuel. They use different amounts of fuel due to what revs they are run at. Typically a 6 cylinder 130hp diesel Perkins engine will consume 14 litres per hour at 1800RPM. If run at 1500RPM it will consume closer to 10 litres per hour. The back markers in the fleet are running at higher RPM to make up some time in order to make the Canal transit. The other reason is that if a yacht suffers a problem with their generator they will need to run their main engine out of gear in order to charge the batteries whilst the generator problem is rectified. Another reason for different rates of fuel consumption is how much load is being placed on the batteries. If lots of laptops, iPods and other electrical equipment is being charged then this has an effect of draining the yacht’s batteries more. This then requires the generator to be run for longer which results in higher fuel consumption.

After crossing the finish line in the race to Panama, Team Garmin and Jamaica Get All Right had over 800 litres available, Henri Lloyd 500 and GREAT Britain 400. I understand that Henri Lloyd had a generator failure and so had to run the engine. I did not hear anything about the 400 litre shortfall for GREAT Britain. Have you conducted a fuel audit on GREAT Britain and Henri Lloyd, are you going to advise the crews of your finding, and are you intending to take action if you find that the race rules were not fully adhered to?

The yachts Great Britain and Henri Lloyd did indeed press their fuel tanks in San Francisco as did all the other yachts. I can verify this as I have all the fuel receipts which states the quantity of fuel bunkered by each yacht. Fuel audits are also undertaken at random at stopovers to check whether the rules on this are being complied with. At the conclusion of Race 11 from San Francisco to a shortened finish line, I emailed each of the skippers on 5 May, about providing me with a fuel audit. It is important to remember that the figures that the yachts provide are always an estimate. The figure that GREAT Britain provided was an estimated 1065 litres and not the 400 litres that you claim. Henri Lloyd estimated 920 litres and not the 500 litres that you claim. These figures of 1065 and 920 litres are in line with what the other 10 yachts audited. Incidentally Team Garmin estimated 800 litres and Jamaica Get All Right estimated 1040 litres. I suspect Team Garmin under estimated as they actually got to Panama without refuelling. On 7 May, each yacht provided me with figures again. GREAT Britain estimated 400 litres and Henri Lloyd 500 litres. The amount of fuel bunkered in Costa Rica and Panama are both commensurate with the amount of motor-sailing each yacht did and further support that all yachts indeed pressed their tanks and no rules were broken. I estimate that each yacht consumes on average 12 litres of fuel per hour. We have found that this does vary slightly from Clipper 70 to Clipper 70 and also at what RPM the engine is run at. This does not take into account the use of the generator, which of course increases consumption. For example; Great Britain 5 May = 1065 litres 7 May 400 litres Distance from finish position to Costa Rica = 485nm GB required 55 hours to cover this distance. 55 x 12 litre/hr = 660 litres 1065 litres – 660 litres = 405 litres. It would appear that the skipper’s estimate was fairly accurate. In summary the checks and cross-checks provide no evidence of any wrong doing by any yacht.

I heard that GREAT Britain was hauled out for the re-branding in San Francisco and then received a power wash to its bottom. This is clearly an advantage not offered to the other boats which were re-branded in the water. Any sailor who races will be able to tell you that crews painstakingly try to clean their boat’s bottom immediately prior to each race. When I haul my 40-foot boat every year there is a 0.85 knot increase in hull speed coming back from the haul-out versus going there. It would be very easy to apply a handicap to GREAT Britain based on similar empirical results and award them a time penalty over this leg. For example, using my figures above, if the other boats had not been power washed for the previous 2 months the speed advantage would be 0.14 knots (0.85 * 2/12). This equates to 3.36 NM per day, or a total of 70.56 miles over a 21-day race, which would be a huge advantage. Surely the skipper knew what he was doing. Why did the race committee allow this to happen and why wasn’t a distance handicap applied to GREAT Britain?

Thank you for your question. It is industry practice that requires when a boat is lifted that its hull is power washed. Old Pulteney was also lifted in San Francisco and was power washed too. Several of the other yachts were also lifted in Hobart and Brisbane where I believe it is a legal requirement to power wash hulls upon lifting, including I think Team Garmin which was your yacht. None of these yachts had a time correction factor applied to them as you suggest. It would be wholly unfair to penalise yachts and crews through no fault of their own. You also refer to the GREAT Britain skipper as ‘surely the skipper knew what he was doing’. I’m afraid he is completely blameless as the decision to power wash the hull was not his to make or indeed refuse. In retrospect perhaps this is something the Race Committee should factor in for future races and I will take that under advisement.

Why did it take so long for the Race Officials to instruct GREAT Britain that it could no longer use "routing or navigational software other than that as provided by Clipper Ventures to all the yachts," when such practice is so obviously not in keeping with the spirit of the Clipper Race? Any additional information available to only one skipper, namely GREAT Britain, certainly provides a competitive edge to one boat especially when the fleet had to transit doldrums type wind conditions.

Clipper Ventures did not instruct GREAT Britain to stop using routing or navigational software other than that provided by us. What we did was amend the Sailing Instructions which banned its use for all the yachts. It was the use of it by GREAT Britain that precipitated this amendment to the Sailing Instructions and I am not suggesting other yachts were using alternative software. The amendment was required because the Sailing Instructions did not prohibit its use and no rules were therefore being broken. The reason for the length of time to issue the amendment was due to the fact that the Race Committee needed to consider the issue very carefully and all its ramifications and effects. GREAT Britain in fact did not receive any additional information that the other yachts did not receive. The software they were using in fact uses the very same weather information that the alternative SeaPro software uses which is supplied to all the yachts.

The Overall Race Standings table has shown, since the completion of Race 9, that Qingdao had 8 penalty points. After the completion of Race 14, this has decreased to 5 points. How can a yacht's penalty points total decrease?

Qingdao's penalty points have indeed been reduced to 5 points. This is because 3 points were applied in error. When this error was pointed out by the skipper, the Race Director then had to investigate the accuracy of his claim. The Race Office rely on third parties to supply me with information as to what has been replaced or repaired and the cost of this. It has been a time consuming exercise but the Race Director discovered that Qingdao had been charged for items not received and a sail repair that was in fact carried out by the crew. This was explained on Social Media by the race's communications team.