Race is on to re-rig dismasted clippers

The race is now on to get the two dismasted yachts in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race ready for the next leg to California. Thirty-four days after leaving China to race across the Pacific Ocean, the dismasted westernaustralia2011.com arrived in Hawaii at the weekend.

The yacht, one of ten internationally-backed entries in the Clipper race, was dismasted 700 miles off the coast of Japan on 5 March. A second yacht, Durban 2010 and Beyond, also crossed the Pacific under jury rig after being dismasted.

Halfway across the world the replacement mast section for westernaustralia2011.com and a complete new mast for Durban 2010 and Beyond, were leaving Luxembourg on a front-loading jumbo jet after being completed over the Easter weekend in the UK. Staff at Spencer Rigging and Atlantic Spars pulled out all the stops to make sure the huge pieces of the 81-foot (24.5-metre) masts left their premises in Brixham, Devon, on schedule on Wednesday. They will be transferred to another aircraft in Los Angeles for the six-hour flight to Honolulu International Airport.

In addition to the two masts, the planes will also carry standing rigging, replacement sails, mast electrics, running rigging, rigging tools and a swaging machine. The specialist swaging machine, used to terminate the standing rigging to the fittings, is being flown out to Hawaii as it has been impossible to source one on the islands. Mast fittings for the two dismasted yachts include sets of lights, wiring, wind instruments and aerials. Two boxes of standing rigging for the two dismasted yachts will also be flown to Hawaii, amounting to more than 325 yards (300 metres) of steel cable that support the masts.

Meanwhile, replacement rigging fittings are being produced in Germany to be replaced across the fleet.

Clipper Ventures is also flying out four specialist riggers from the UK. Three from Spencer Rigging will arrive this evening and one from Atlantic Spars will join them on Monday to work with the Clipper maintenance team and the local riggers in order to get the fleet moving again as quickly as possible.

The restart of Race 8 from Hawaii to Santa Cruz was originally scheduled for 26 March. The current delay to the restart is anticipated to be 8-10 days (3-5 April).