Clipper yachts stop to transfer medical supplies

Heeled over on Hull and Humber - Clipper 07-08

Jamaica and Uniquely Singapore, two of the yachts participating in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race, met this morning to transfer medical supplies. The transfer took exactly ten minutes to complete, and the whole operation, including starting the engine and motoring towards Uniquely Singapore then returning to the original position, took 38 minutes.

A 29-year-old female crew member on board Jamaica has been suffering from seasickness since leaving Durban, and in order to combat dehydration and treat a kidney infection she has been given intravenous fluids by the onboard medic, a round the world crew member who is a fully qualified doctor.

At 06:30 GMT Thursday, Jamaica's skipper, Simon Bradley, reported to the Race Office that they had run out of intravenous fluids and had arranged with fellow skipper, Mark Preedy, to rendezvous with Uniquely Singapore who would transfer over their supply.

The transfer took exactly ten minutes to complete, and the whole operation, including starting the engine and motoring towards Uniquely Singapore then returning to the position at which they had started their engine in order to resume racing without penalty, took 38 minutes and was completed in textbook fashion at 11:08 GMT.

Both yachts are racing again and the Race Committee will now consider whether to award redress to Uniquely Singapore for their assistance in the transfer. The ill crew member on Jamaica has spoken by satellite phone to her family who are fully aware of the situation.

At the head of the race, even though Durban 2010 & Beyond has managed to pull away almost a 100-mile lead, and the crew are getting excited about their imminent arrival in Fremantle, they have not forgotten the boats racing hard in their wake.

'We are still very wary of the fierce competition behind us. Keeping the sails trimmed ('Trim it like a Brazilian' is our mantra) and concentrating on a nice straight course is our absolute focus. Stopping the gains of the other boats behind us is very important as the winds of the 'Fremantle Doctor' await us. We need to cross the finish line at least an hour and ten minutes ahead of the second placed boat to guarantee the coveted yellow pennant.'

However, the home boat, westernaustralia2011.com, which is currently lying in second place, is still optimistic about closing that gap. Roger Lee, Stormy Watch leader on the Australian yacht, reported this morning, 'Excitement and tension is building amongst the crew with less than 500 miles to home.

Besides making small gains on Durban 2010 and Beyond during the past 12 hours, the chase is still on and the Aussies are, as ever, optimistic. With winds forecast to back anticlockwise in the future 24 hours, the BBB will have a windward advantage that we must capitalise on to beat the 'home port curse'.

Clipper - Positions - DTF - 18:00hrs 13 December 2007

1 Durban 2010 and Beyond 278 nm
2 westernaustralia2011.com 372 nm
3 Qingdao 393 nm
4 Hull & Humber 409 nm
5 Glasgow:Scotland with style 470 nm
6 Nova Scotia 496 nm
7 Uniquely Singapore 513 nm
8 Jamaica 519 nm
9 Liverpool 08 622 nm
10 New York 999 nm

According to their email this morning, the crew of Qingdao is doing everything possible to protect and improve on their current podium position. 'What can we do to go faster?' The constant question being asked on board. Every effort going into pushing the boat to catch westernaustralia2011.com and Durban 2010 and Beyond. We also need to watch Hull & Humber and Nova Scotia as their time adjustments mean we have to beat them across the line by over an hour. No mean feat in this very close race. Every race sched is eagerly awaited and dissected for six hours.'

This would be the first podium finish for both westernaustralia2011.com and Qingdao, proving how evenly matched these boats are and how it very often comes down to the tactical decisions taken on board. Qingdao led the fleet on the race to South Africa for a long period but lost out when they stayed and stopped in lighter winds, allowing others to sail past them in the south. The high spirited crew of Qingdao will surely be irrepressible if they secure their first podium finish and the home crowds will go wild to see the big blue boat representing this region on the podium.

Durban 2010 and Beyond is expected on Saturday morning outside the Maritime Museum on the Swan River. Unfortunately New York, which has been struggling to catch up with the fleet since the medivac of an injured crew member, has missed the low pressure system speeding the rest of the fleet towards Fremantle and has got stuck in a high pressure area with lighter winds.