But race now underway again

The eighth leg of the 09-10 Clipper race began in San Francisco on Wednesday after a stopover disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud.


All incoming crew members had arrived in California before the flight ban, but one boat has been forced to change skipper.


Chris Stanmore-Major, skipper of Qingdao, flew back to the UK to visit an ill relative, only to have his return flight cancelled, forcing Hannah Jenner to fill his shoes on the leg to Jamaica via the Panama Canal.


Hannah was sailing to Antigua aboard Cork – the yacht that ran aground off Indonesia – which is preparing to rejoin the race in the Caribbean.


The switch is not harming the boat’s performance though, as at 9am Thursday they lie third, behind Team Finland and overall race leader Spirit of Australia.


Team Finland had less than 36 hours ashore in San Francisco, but before they slipped their lines crew member Emil Vartiainen predicted that this would actually be to their advantage.


He said: “We’ll certainly gain there as we won’t have crew suffering from sea sickness on board compared to all the other boats which have been here a long time.”


This has proved correct with most of the skippers reporting that crew are feeling unwell, as they try and find their sea legs again in 35-40 knots of wind and a lumpy sea.


The flight ban has created more problems for the crew members who left the fleet in San Francisco.


A Clipper spokeswoman said: “The main difficulty is getting people back home. Some of them have managed to get back, but others are still waiting for flights.”


For the latest race results visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com