17 January 2010
It has been a day of high emotion at Nongsa Point Marina as a jubilant Cape Breton Island crew arrived after taking line honours in Race 5, while eight Cork crew members who transferred to California when their yacht ran aground in the Java Sea on Wednesday night reached port, some in tears and all exhausted and running on adrenaline.
Cape Breton Island, led by Dorset, UK, based skipper, Jan Ridd, crossed the finish line in the Singapore Straits at 0914 local time (0214 UTC) on Sunday 17 January. They beat Spirit of Australia by just 15 minutes. Jamaica Lightning Bolt was third to cross the line at 1259 local time (0559 UTC).
As he arrived at the marina in Batam, Indonesia, the rallying point for the fleet ahead of the arrival at Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore, next Saturday, Jan paid tribute to his crew, saying, « It’s been a long time coming – we’ve worked really hard on all the legs. We think we deserve this; we’ve sailed as hard as we can. It was a really close battle in the end but we’re over the moon now.
« It was very nip and tuck at the end; we took one long tack to come back through and clear the headland, we could see Spirit of Australia coming at us and we really didn’t know if we were going to get ahead of them. »
There was a lot of tension on board in the final stages of the race, according to Jan. « I don’t think many people slept last night – they were coming off watch and couldn’t go to sleep, they just needed to know what was going on, » he explained.
California and her precious cargo crossed the finish line for Race 5 at 1721 local time (1021 GMT) and joined Cape Breton Island, Spirit of Australia and Jamaica Lightning Bolt to wait for the rest of the fleet before all nine boats head to Marina at Keppel Bay on Saturday 23 January.
The next few days will allow the Cork crew to rest and begin to come to terms with their experience.
California‘s skipper, Pete Rollason, said, « The last few days have been tough. Twenty-three people on board in this heat has been a bit unbearable but they’ve been through a hell of an ordeal and it’s just great to be here now, everybody home and safe. The crew were fantastic; they all looked through their bags, found their spare clothes so at least the Cork guys had dry clothes. We had plenty of food because we’d shopped for the race to Qingdao already so that wasn’t a problem.
« I think it would be fair to say everybody went through some emotion, myself included. The first night when we started sailing away from there we were still racing at that point – and racing hard – and I noticed some of the Cork guys found that very difficult so we backed off big time and slowed things down to make it comfortable on board. »
Cork crew member, Keith Hale, said, « I’m not sure we’ve come to terms yet with what has happened. The California crew have looked after us brilliantly, lending us clothes and making sure we were fed. As soon as we got on the boat they had tea, coffee and biscuits waiting for us. »
Race 5, from Geraldton, Western Australia, to Singapore began on 3 January and the course has delivered some of the most challenging conditions to date for the crews, all of whom have put their normal lives on hold to take part in the Clipper Race, whether for a single leg or for the whole of the ten-month, 35,000-mile race.
As a number of teams suspended racing during the incident the final results will be subject to ratification once all the skippers’ declarations have been received by the Race Committee before being confirmed. Qingdao and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital were also involved in the operation, as well as Uniquely Singapore and Hull & Humber, who stood by to offer assistance if required.
The fleet will arrive at Marina at Keppel Bay, owned by Uniquely Singapore team sponsor, Keppel Corporation, at 10am on Saturday 23 January. Guest of honour at the colourful ceremony will be Singapore’s Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, who named Uniquely Singapore when she was launched ahead of the Clipper 05-06 Race.
« The international following and goodwill that the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race continues to generate will help promote Singapore as Asia’s destination to live, work and play. Keppel is happy to contribute to the vibrancy of this southern waterfront with such international events at the Marina at Keppel Bay on Keppel Island, » said Ms Wang Look Fung, General Manager of Group Corporate Communications, Keppel Corporation Limited.
Mr Rostam Umar, Executive Director of Communications and Human Resources and Organisational Development at Singapore Tourism Board, Uniquely Singapore‘s team partner, said, « We welcome the crew members of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to Singapore. We see the race as a platform to showcase Singapore as a destination for international sporting events and where visitors have the opportunity to enjoy many exciting leisure experiences. Events such as the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race strengthen Singapore’s image as one of Asia’s leading entertainment capitals with a diverse calendar of events year round. »
The Clipper 09-10 Race started from the Humber on the north east coast of England on 13 September 2009 and will return to there on 17 July 2010. It is the only event in the world where people from all walks of life can take on the challenge of a lifetime and race around the globe on stripped down 68-foot ocean racing yachts.