​Clipper Race fleet moves to sustainable running rigging as it extends partnership with Marlow Ropes

23 January 2023

Marlow Ropes will be supplying innovative, sustainably made and recyclable running rigging for the eleven-strong fleet in the upcoming Clipper 2023-24 Race. Made with 73% recycled or sustainably manufactured raw materials, this will be the first fleet and ocean race where this type of recycled and sustainable rigging is used.

Image: Testing conditions during Leg 2 of the Clipper 2019-20 Race

The announcement marks over 20 years of partnership for the two organisations, spanning ten editions of the Clipper Race. Throughout this relationship, Marlow Ropes has been able to research, develop and refine its products in the ultimate R&D setting- a 40,000 mile circumnavigation where matched ocean-racing yachts face extreme conditions and intense racing.

Ahead of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, each Clipper 70 was rigged with a mainsheet made from a Bio-Dyneema® core and a rPET polyester cover, in order to test the durability of these new fibres in the world’s most hostile environments- from blistering heat to gale-force winds and freezing temperatures. The success of the product now means that the Clipper Race fleet can operate with more sustainable running rigging in the next edition.

Every rope will now be made using a Bio-Dyneema® core, a sustainably sourced synthetic fibre which has the lowest carbon footprint per unit strength compared to other synthetic fibres as its production relies less on fossil fuels.

The majority of rope covers will be made from a blended Blue Ocean rPET (recycled polyester) yarn made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The durability of this yarn was successfully trialled in the 2019-20 edition, with each yacht using Blue Ocean mooring lines used whilst docking in ports around the world.

Image: BlueOcean Dockline in the Whitsundays

Greg North, Fleet Maintenance Manager at Clipper Ventures said: “The lines fared incredibly well in the last edition of the Clipper Race. We used a new sustainable cover on the mainsheets to test performance and found no difference in longevity between that and the products used previously.

Image: Race Crew Sophie Owles on Leg 5

“In addition to being used in the fourteen marinas we visited around the world, the Blue Ocean dockline, which is made from 100% recycled plastic, also withstood an extended period of time holding the vessels alongside in the Philippines for two years during the covid pandemic. During this time, the lines were exposed to the relentless sunshine and seasonal typhoons, yet they still kept the vessels secure without fault.

“Both Marlow Ropes’ products and service are excellent, which is a sentiment echoed in the longstanding relationship that the Clipper Race has with them.”

Paul Honess, Sales Director at Marlow Ropes added: “We are very proud of our 20-plus year partnership with the Clipper Race and are thrilled to see it back in all its glory this year. The strength in our relationship enables us to continue innovating and pushing the boundaries of yachting rope technology.

“The development work and testing we’ve been able to do as a result of working with the Clipper Race over the years have played a significant role in bringing our sustainably manufactured yachting range to the cruising market, whilst delivering exceptional performance that ensures our ropes are technically and environmentally better for both the Clipper Race crew and for every sailor using a Marlow cruising line around the world.”

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