At the start of Race 4 of Clipper 09-10 in Cape Town Hull & Humber and Cork, Ireland collided and returned to harbour to assess the damage to H&H’s port quarter and Cork’s bow.None of the crew were hurt.
A spokeswoman said: ‘The Clipper Race is hard fought and, as in any sport, the adrenaline is pumping for the crews on the start line.’
Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, was watching the action on the water and said, “This is a closely contested race and this kind of thing happens in fiercely competitive racing. The race is underway – eight boats are racing off towards Geraldton in Western Australia. For the two damaged boats, repairs will be effected as speedily as possible so they can catch up.”
The Clipper maintenance team, headed up by Justin Haller, has already begun assessing the damage and is in contact with local marine surveyors who will be called in to assist. Both yachts have been taken from the V&A Waterfront to Royal Cape Yacht Club for the work to be carried out.
Hearing of the incident, the Irish Ambassador to South Africa, who was in Cape Town, has stayed in the city to support the team and is commiserating with them at the yacht club.
The teams will round the Cape of Good Hope before heading down into the treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean where the first three boats to reach the scoring gate can gain some precious extra points. The fleet is expected to arrive in Geraldton, Western Australia, between 14 and 18 December.