Sir Robin's experience in lash-ups come into play
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman and Founder of the Clipper Race, has repaired the forestay bottlescrews of nine of the 12-strong Clipper 70 fleet, using modern cordage.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said inevitably there are things that need adjusting with a new fleet of boats. Race 9, Singapore to Qingdao, China was halted and the boats diverted to Hong Kong so the repairs could be carried out quickly before the race restarted less than a day later.
Knox-Johnston has been lashing the forestay instead of using a rigging screw using the exact same system he does on his Open 60 racing yacht.
“There was no alternative. It wasn’t just a question of possibly losing a mast, it was a question of safety so we had to take action instantly,” said Knox-Johnston.
“There are always adjustments needed with new boats and little things that need looking at. It’s not the end of the world because the skippers were onto it very quickly.
“The Clipper Race crews were all prepared when they arrived into Hong Kong so we could get on with it very quickly. There is an advantage with a one design fleet that it makes it easier for us as one solution fits all boats.
“We suspect a lack of articulation at the base of the forestay is the main reason for this type of failure. The fitting is being replaced with Dyneema cordage. Dyneema is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fibre. It is known as the world’s strongest fibre and weight for weight is 15 times stronger than steel wire.
“The Clipper Race boats have been through two serious storms in the Southern Ocean. This race is testing for the boats. We know the boats are tough and strong and the crews can cope with them,” Knox-Johnston added.