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Environmental Encounters for Clipper Crews

by Sue Warden-Owen / Loretta Spridgeon on 20 Dec 2000
'Flying fish landed on my bunk'...
'Sparrow 200 miles at sea stops overnight' ...
'Stray Dove Hit Helmsman in the Face While Surveying for MCS' ...
'One minke whale dived under our boat, blowing and arching - boat wobbled!'

... These are just some of the comments from crewmembers of The Times
Clipper 2000 Round the World Yacht Race. Crews aboard the eight identical
60-foot yachts are recording marine environmental information for the Marine
Conservation Society (MCS) Ocean Vigil Project throughout their journey.
This data aids MCS in its campaign for clean seas, and contributes to the UK
Hydrographic Office and Royal Navy's database of marine animal sightings

Sightings so far include various whales and dolphins - including minke and
sperm whales - seabirds and fish, plus less expected visits from a dove,
sparrow, and at least five butterflies! At the same time, crews have seen
evidence of pollution in the remotest parts of the Atlantic, with trails of
plastic debris such as bottles, bags and fish crates.

Many more sightings are expected over Christmas, which the crews will spend
with the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. The fleet then traverses
the eastern Pacific to a warm welcome in sunny Hawaii, to complete leg 2.
The race continues to Japan and on to Hong Kong via Shanghai for leg 3 in
February - keep up with the latest news at and at

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