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Times Clipper fleet recalled after storm force winds

by Sue Warden-Owen on 7 Mar 2001
The Times Clipper 2000 race from Yokohama to Shanghai has been suspended due
to damage sustained by several yachts in the storm force 10 winds off the
east coast of Japan. All crew and yachts are now safely back in Yokohama.

The fleet of identical 60-foot yachts have confronted winds of 50 knots
gusting 65 knots, the highest experienced by the fleet since they left
Portsmouth in October 2000. Paul Burke, skipper of Leeds Clipper, reports
that winds have not fallen below 30 knots since the start of Race 7 from
Yokohama on Monday 5th March at 10:00 local time.

Whilst the boats have handled the dramatic seas well under their No.3 Yankee
sails and with 3 reefs in their mainsails, the wind and waves are not their
only problem. The Japanese coast has very heavy maritime traffic so the
yachts have to thread their way carefully through the shipping lane as they
beat towards the southwest.

With the eight-strong Times Clipper 2000 fleet only 40-50 miles out of
Yokohama, the Clipper Race Office has taken the sensible decision to recall
the yachts. The skippers and crews have been met by race organiser Sir
Robin
Knox-Johnston in Yokohama, where repairs to the damaged yachts will now take
place.

Commenting on the race suspension, record breaking international yachtsman
Sir Robin Knox-Jophnston said, 'Despite their dramatic experiences racing
in these very difficult conditions, the crews are in good heart, and realise
that safety is paramount, and that the racing has to wait.' Following Sir
Robin's decision for a general recall, The Times Clipper 2000 is expected to
resume on Thursday 8th March, on the 950 nautical mile race from Yokohama to
Shanghai

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