Irish entry hits the rocks

Disaster in the Clipper Round the World Race

Thursday January 14th 2010, Author: Zoe Williamson, Location: United Kingdom
Cork, Ireland, one of ten 68-foot ocean racing yachts competing in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race has struck a rock in the Java Sea, around 200 nautical miles north east of Jakarta.

All 16 crew were safely evacuated to the island and subsequently to two sister yachts, Team Finland and California. All are safe and next of kin have been informed.

Falmouth Coastguard is working with local agencies to ensure that the situation is being constantly monitored. Next of kin of all those on board have been informed and all crew are safe and accounted for.

The Irish entry was sailing in 20-knot winds when she struck a rock off the small island of Gosong Mampango at 2018 GMT, 13 January (0418 local time, 14 January).

The yacht was competing in the fifth race of the biennial global challenge which left Geraldton, Western Australia for Singapore on 3 January 2010.

Initial reports from skipper Richie Fearon stated that the boat is lying on her side on the rock with the toe rail under water and that some hull damage has occurred. Because the winds were increasing, the crew evacuated to the island as a precaution.

Competitors Team Finland and California were in the vicinity and immediately stood by offshore. The skipper and crew of Cork have subsequently used their life rafts to transfer to the waiting boats and all are now safely on board. Team Finland’s skipper Rob McInally is relaying updates with both the race organisers and the coastguard agencies.

The yachts on station are best placed to assess the situation and consider what salvage options are practical. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of race organisers Clipper-Ventures said, “Clearly our priority has been the safety of the crew and we have received confirmation that all on-board have evacuated the boat and are now safe. Their welfare is our prime concern at this time.”

At this stage, it is too early to consider what impact the incident will have on the Irish entry and whether the team will be able to continue in the 10-month-long 35,000 mile race around the world.

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