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Australian skipper Wendy Tuck
led her team of international amateur
sailors under Tower Bridge on 30
August at the start of a 40,000nm
global race, between six continents,
which will take almost a year to
Crowds of well-wishers lined
the banks of the Thames to wave off
the 12 crews and their professional
skippers in the tenth edition of the
famous biennial Clipper Round the
World Yacht Race.
Wendy Tuck, 50, from Sydney, is
the first female Australian skipper in the history of the Clipper
Race, and 50 Australians will compete in various teams.
The fleet of 12 identical 70ft ocean racing yachts, along with a
flotilla of RNLI support vessels and spectator boats, participated
in a spectacular parade with London’s iconic Tower Bridge lifting
to salute the crew twice ahead of their ocean odyssey.
“I am feeling very excited, although apprehensive, ahead
of the start of something so daunting,” Wendy said. “I am not
letting my nerves show in front of my crew though. We have been
training and prepping for so long now that we all need to start
racing to take away the nerves.”
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (76), who became the first person
to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-9, established
the Clipper Race so that novice sailors could experience ocean
racing and, for some, a full circumnavigation. Nearly half of the
700 crew, representing 44 nationalities, from all walks of life, had
never sailed before undergoing their extensive pre-race training.
The youngest is 18 and the oldest is 74; 35 percent are women.
Ross Ham, a 58-year-old from Brisbane, is the race’s
first double circumnavigator ever having completed the full
circumnavigation in the 2013-14 Race.
“I must be a little bit mad to be doing it all again, but I enjoyed
the last race so much and the regimented life on board fits me
like a glove,” Ross said ahead of the start.
Teams are sponsored by global destination, business and
consumer brands, which include debuts for cities such as Da
Nang - Viet Nam and Visit Seattle. GREAT Britain is making its second
appearance after finishing second in the previous edition and
Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is making its third
outing. The longest successive competitor is the Chinese city of
Qingdao; this is its sixth campaign.
The opening leg of the race takes the teams over 5,000nm
from the British capital, across the Atlantic Ocean to Rio de
Following the first stopover in Brazil, the fleet will continue
on via Cape Town; Albany WA; Sydney (including the Sydney-
Hobart Race); the Whitsundays; Da Nang – Vietnam; Qingdao
China; Seattle; Panama; New York; Derry-Londonderry and
Den Helder – the Netherlands, before returning to London’s St
Katharine Docks for Race Finish on 30 July 2016.
DEATH OF CREW MEMBER
A British crew member of a yacht taking part in the Clipper
Round the World race has died after an accident off the coast
Paramedic Andrew Ashman, 49, was reefing a sail on IchorCoal
just after midnight on Friday 4 September during the first leg
from London to Brazil when he was knocked unconscious.
“ We are deeply saddened to report the death of crew member
Mr Andrew Ashman, our thoughts are with his family at this
difficult time,” a statement posted on the official website of
the race said.
“Andy was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet and
possibly the boom (although not confirmed). He was given
immediate medical assistance and attempted resuscitation
but failed to regain consciousness.”
The yacht was diverted to Porto in northern Portugal. An
investigation has been launched, organisers said.
An experienced yachtsman, Andy had enjoyed sailing since
joining the London Sailing project when he was 16. He went
on to complete his Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Yachtmaster
Theory and Coastal Skipper courses.
Australian skipper sets off in
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Wendy Tuck and Clipper Race team near Tower Bridge.
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