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February 24, 2014

Clipper Yachts Recalled

Forestay fittings have failed among the fleet’s 12 boats causing race officials to divert the fleet to Hong Kong.

Clipper Ventures
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Clipper Round the World racers have been diverted to Hong Kong, China after race organizers became aware of a potentially dangerous flaw in the forestay system on the 12 Clipper 70s. The forestay under scrutiny holds up the yacht’s Yankee headsail and mast. Racers were on route from Singapore to Qingdao, China, as part of Race 9, Leg 5 of the event. No points will be assessed to racers prior to arriving in Hong Kong.

On February 20, Jamaica Get All Right retired from the race when their forestay bottlescrews failed and they safely diverted to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. Then last night a second failure occurred on PSP Logistics, followed only a few hours later by a similar failure on Derry~Londonderry~Doire. No injuries have been reported.

“There is clearly a fault with this part of the rigging and we are not prepared to take any risks with the remaining boats so far unaffected,” says Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and chairman of Clipper Ventures. “In Hong Kong the forestay bottlescrews will be replaced with a system we have just had approved by the MCA surveyor.”

Once the forestays are repaired, Race 9 will restart fresh from Hong Kong. Racers arrival in Qingdao is not expected to be delayed very long because of the direct routes available from Hong Kong.

For Lack of a Kill Cord

A horrific accident occurred near La Paz, Mexico late last month that could have been avoided by the use of a couple of simple pieces of plastic: an outboard kill switch key on a lanyard.

A kill key on a lanyard. If you don’t have one, get one. If you do have one wear it around your wrist – religiously.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

According to witnesses, the operator of a large dinghy with powerful engines — assumed to be 30-40 hp — was thrown from his boat while speeding through the La Paz anchorage. Because he was not wearing a kill key lanyard, his dinghy continued to roar around the area at high speed.

Seeing the mishap, La Paz-based cruiser John Spicher of the 31-ft sloop Time Piece reportedly jumped in his dinghy and retrieved the ejected driver from the bay. They were headed to shore when the wayward dinghy glanced off an anchored boat and turned straight for Spicher’s boat, running over the top of him. The deadly prop badly mangled his leg and both he and the rescued man were thrown overboard.

As Spicher attempted to climb back aboard he was struck again by the unmanned craft. This time it pinned him beneath it. The two men were rescued by a Mexican captain who administered first aid to Spicher’s leg. Although we don’t yet have all the details, Spicher was reportedly medevaced to the UC San Diego trauma center that same afternoon. 

Needless to say, the whole bloody incident could have been avoided if the dinghy driver had been traveling at a more reasonable speed — and even more importantly, had been wearing a simple plastic kill switch lanyard around his wrist. If you don’t have one, get one.

We’ll bring you updates on Spicher’s recovery when they become available. In the meantime, we all wish him the best of luck with his recovery.

What Are Your Favorite Yacht Toys?

Stand-up paddle boards are becoming more and more popular in the realm of cruising. Anybody can quickly learn to use one, they’re relatively easy to store (especially the inflatable variety), and they can serve as a second dinghy.

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Whether cruising up to the Delta or around the world, it’s a fact of the cruising lifestyle that once your boat is anchored, you rarely up-anchor for a daysail. Many cruisers stay put for weeks at a time.

With the dominance of inflatables, few people carry rowing/sailing dinghies these days, but they do have obvious advantages.

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So, more and more in recent years, we’ve noticed that savvy cruisers bring along one or more recreational yacht toys such as kayaks (inflatable or rigid), stand-up paddle boats, sailing dinghies, portable diving hookahs, scuba gear, boogie boards, kiteboarding gear or surfboards (inflatable or traditional). 

Kayaks of all types are also increasing in popularity.

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If you’ve been cruising — either near your home waters or far afield — we’re curious what yacht toys you’ve found particularly effective — and fun — in terms of getting a little exercise and getting you off the mothership. Please mention also how you store them on board. Drop us a line here and, if possible, send us a couple of medium resolution photos.

And then, of course, there’s the old reliable Boogie Board, a perennial favorite with kids.

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