The Logistics of Running a Round the World Yacht Race

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The logistics of running a round the world yacht race with 12 boats and 670 crew is a mammoth task.

From moving an entire race village across an ocean, to shipping new masts to the other side of the world in time for a yacht to start the next race, preparation, organisation and precise timings are key.

PSP Logistics, based in Hampshire, UK, has been the official logistics supplier of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for the last six years and is also sponsoring a team in the current edition for the first time.

Race 11 from San Francisco was named the PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup to tie in with the fleet’s transit of famous trade route the Panama Canal in its centenary year. The canal is key to PSP Logistics’ global operations and its most expensive transit was two $2 million America’s Cup yachts that were being delivered to Mexico via the canal.

Throughout the 11-month long race, four 15,000 tonne containers full of Clipper Race equipment and spare parts leapfrog each other across the world so two are in each key race stopover port.

So far in the latest global race, the containers have been shipped by sea and rail to South Africa, across Australia, Asia and the USA before heading back to Europe.

Each of the containers carry 30kg worth of nuts and bolts, 7km of electrical tape and 5.3km of sewing thread for the 150sqm of spare sail-cloth so vital repairs can be carried out.

It was in the Clipper 2009-10 Race that PSP Logistics came to the rescue when the yacht California lost its mast after she was rolled through 120 degrees in a major Pacific Ocean storm 2,000 miles from the race finish in San Francisco.

The operation involved transporting the 15 meter mast from Devon in the UK to Luxembourg by road and ferry, then to Los Angeles in the US by air before it was taken to San Francisco by road. Just five days later, the mast was waiting at the quayside to keep California in the race.

It was the second time in a month that PSP helped keep a team on the go, following it shipping a 2-part mast to China to meet the Team Finland yacht.

Frank Dixie, managing director of PSP Logistics, said:  "The organisers of these events, who have the eyes of the world on them, need to know that their equipment and their boats will be exactly where they’re needed, when they’re needed.

“Similarly, for the competitors, our ability to get a piece of equipment to them anywhere in the world, at the drop of a hat, could be the difference between them winning or losing.  

"All of these factors add up to a huge responsibility but we're never ones to cower in the face of a challenge and that’s the capability we deliver.  

"Meticulous planning ahead of the event, looking at everything from the most efficient shipping lanes to the minute detail of customs rules in each country has been the key to our success in ensuring the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race runs smoothly year after year