The 12 yachts competing in the 2013-14 Clipper Race set sail today on the fifth stage, the 2,150-mile leg from Albany, Western Australia, to Sydney. It’s the fleet’s second foray into the Southern Ocean and what race organizers call “a final shakedown” for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, which will be stage six.
Great Britain led the Clipper 70s across the start line in Albany, with Derry-Londonderry-Doire in second place and Qingdao in third. Soon after the start, organizers reported a collision between PSP Logistics and Great Britain that forced both yachts to return to port for a damage assessment.
“There were a number of boats approaching a mark and all fighting to get round a buoy, and as a result of trying to get round that buoy, there was a collision,” said Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman and founder of the Clipper Race. “These 12 boats are fast and big and these things happen. It is hard sometimes.”
A panel of international jurors will assess the incident in Sydney and award redress on the basis of video evidence and statements from the skippers.
“It’s very unfortunate but no one was hurt and the damage can be repaired quite quickly,” Knox-Johnston said. “The skippers are gutted and so are their crews. The thing is now to get those boats sorted and get them sailing again. We will deal with what happened in the incident in Sydney.”
For the latest on the fleet's progress, click here.