After clocking up an average of 41,000 miles each during their tenth edition race circumnavigation, the Maintenance Team at Race HQ is now hard at work to refit the Clipper 70s in preparation for the 2017-18 race.
The refit period will last nine months until the end of May 2017, with each yacht worked on for eight weeks in total, five of which are ashore when they will be lifted and refitted, before being signed off and ready to be called home for our adventurous crew.
Racing across the world’s oceans and battling against Mother Nature in all her glory takes its toll on any vessel and whilst the team works tirelessly during the race year to repair any breakages and keep all of the systems on the Clipper 70s working within the maintenance schedule, now is the time the fleet has a full makeover, including changes to the Clipper 70s. New parts will be fitted in various places around the yacht and a little reorganisation made here and there in order to make life easier for the crew, and from a maintenance perspective.
“I’m often asked, ‘what does the refit involve?’” says Head of Fleet Maintenance, Simon Johnston. “Well, the yachts are stripped of their inventory and soft furnishings, and their engines and generators are serviced. The masts are removed and all of the standing rigging is replaced. We service and replace the plumbing, electrics and sat-comms equipment, replace steering equipment, deck gear and fixtures, fittings and soft furnishings.
“Of course there’s rather more to it than that and it’s all done 12 times over, once on each Clipper 70. Saying which, I had better get back to it!” Simon adds.
Joining Simon's full-time maintenance team are crew members from the tenth edition of the race, some of whom spent eleven months on board, and can offer advice on improvements that could be made for the benefit of the 2017-18 crew.
As well as all the usual servicing, replacements, painting, re-rigging, upgrades and improvements, the team is also doing some fairly major additional works during this refit.
Earlier this month we welcomed Coppercoat as the Official Antifoul Supplier to the fleet for the first time in the race’s history. Each Clipper 70 will have its current antifoul slurry blasted off to apply the long-lasting recycled copper antifoul. With a proven lifespan of at least ten years, this will eliminate the need to re-antifoul and provide the added benefit of low-maintenance and long-term reduced costs.
The team will also update the fleet’s bowsprits, replacing the carbon fibre with tubular stainless steel versions which were designed and built during the 2015-16 race and have since been modified. These offer the advantage of much improved robustness over the previous carbon fibre bowsprits and are easier to replace during the race, should any need to be serviced or replaced due to the extreme conditions experienced.
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