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


Marlow Ropes has renewed its long-standing partnership with the Clipper Race and 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 between 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 eleven 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 (recycled 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 with a Bio-Dyneema® core, a sustainably sourced synthetic fibre which has the lowest carbon footprint per unit strength compared to other synthetic fibres as it relies less on fossil fuels - and once stripped at the end of its life, can be recycled.

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

Image: BlueOcean Dockline in the Whitsundays

Laura Ayres, Managing Director at Clipper Ventures said: “As one of the longest standing partnerships in Clipper Race history, we are proud to be making this move to sustainable running rigging with Marlow Ropes. Providing the eleven-strong fleet with sustainably made and recyclable ropes, without compromising on performance or durability is a meaningful step towards a greener future for yacht racing.”

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 and between that and the products used previously.

“In addition to being used in fourteen marinas 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.”

Image: Race Crew Sophie Owles on Leg 5

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.”

If your company is interested in becoming a partner or a sponsor of the Clipper Race please email the Partnerships Team to find out more:

[email protected]