Thousands are expected to flock to London’s St Katharine Docks this Saturday to welcome the Clipper fleet home. But dramatic footage has been released today of the moment the GREAT Britain team were hit by a tornado as they competed in the Clipper Round the World yacht race.

The 12-strong Clipper Race fleet will return to London this Saturday, 12 July 2014, after covering more than 40,000 miles between six continents over eleven months.

A total of 670 novice sailors from all walks of life, aged 18 to 74, were trained to take on the biennial endurance challenges, currently in its ninth edition.

Crew have experienced a wide range of weather conditions from the benign to the extreme: in addition to the tornado incident they have endured being knocked down by giant waves, battled hurricane force winds, dodged icebergs and growlers; extreme heat and cold; been on the alert for pirates; had coast guard assisted medical evacuations and rescued of a man overboard after being lost in a Pacific storm for more than an hour.

The footage of the tornado was captured by a fixed on-board camera attached to the mast looking down towards the stern. It shows the team in challenging conditions a week out of Australia heading towards the equator with heavy rain and squalls battering the fleet.

The waterspout was pretty invisible in the conditions at the time and hit without warning, rolling the boat through 120 degrees pinning the mast down on the ocean’s surface in swirling winds over 100 knots.

Crew are thrown into the sea on their tethers and scrabble to hang onto the boat which starts to right itself as the tornado passes and is visible in the upper left hand side of the screen disappearing into the distance as the crew start to clamber back onto their feet.

Crew member Paul Hardy, aged 43, an IT consultant from Brighton is seen desperately trying to grab onto the mast after he is submerged into the sea as the yacht is hit by the tornado.

He said: ‘All of a sudden the wind picked up and the noise picked up…water started to rise and I knew there was something wrong… I tried to get out of the water and climb up onto the mast and then saw the water spout.’

Saturday’s homecoming schedule
Thousands are expected to descend on St Katharine Docks to welcome the Clipper crews back to London after 11 months circumnavigating the world.

But even those who cannot attend the big event will be able to watch the action online thanks to a Live Stream, which will be available from 11:45 BST (1045 UTC/GMT), by clicking this link.

 

The Clipper Race fleet are expected to finish racing in the early hours of Saturday, ready to parade up the Thames at 07:30 from Southend.

Timings of the best vantage points to watch the fleet:

  • 10.00 – Parade of Sail starts
  • 10.19 – QE2 Bridge at Dartford
  • 11.48 – Thames Barrier
  • 12.01 – Dome
  • 12.12 – Greenwich
  • 12.30 – Canary Wharf Pier
  • 12.45 – St Katharine Docks
  • 14.00-15.00 – Final prizegiving ceremony at St Katharine Docks

Find out more at www.clipperroundtheworld.com
See full article and video footage at Pratical Boat Owner – click here

 

Boatowners are urged to check the state of their boats before venturing on the tidal Thames, following an increase in the number of mechanical incidents.

 

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has advised boatowners to make sure they carry out routine mechanical inspections before heading out onto the tidal Thames. The warning comes after an increase in the rate of mechanical incidents reported on the river, with 11 in the six weeks around Easter.

Skippers are encouraged to check they have sufficient tackle and are able to anchor safely in the case of difficulties such as engine failure. The PLA adds that navigating the tidal Thames can be tricky, with up to 1.2m waves and a tidal flow of up to four knots.

Darren Knight, assistant harbour master (recreational) at the PLA, said: “Owners need to be sure that their vessel is in a reliable condition and able to cope with these demands, where engines will have to work much harder than normal. “They also need to pause and think carefully as to whether their vessel is suitable to navigate on the tidal Thames.”
See article at Motorboats Monthly – click here

There were a total of 381 drownings and water-related deaths the UK in 2013, according to a report published today by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).

 

This compares to 371 water-related deaths in 2012, and 407 in 2011. As in previous years, fatalities at the sea, on the beach or shoreline accounted for nearly a third (115), while a further 22 deaths happened at harbours, docks, marinas and inland or coastal ports.

More than half of the deaths (227) in 2013 were in inland waters, such as tidal and freshwater rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Eight deaths occurred in the bath and six in swimming pools, while three happened in areas that are not normally watercourses such as marsh and flooded land.

The figures, which are published by the NWSF, include deaths in water that resulted from natural causes such as a heart attack, drowning or other fatal injuries resulting from falls into water and those that occurred during the course of water-based activities.

The NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) reveals that in 2013, the age group with the highest number of fatalities (31) was males aged between 20-24.

Meanwhile, 0-19s accounted for 12 per cent of deaths (46), of which more than half were teenagers aged 15 to 19 (27). In the youngest age bracket of four and under, 10 children drowned.

The peak summer months of July and August witnessed the most deaths with 106 during this period. The leading activities were: people walking alongside water and falling in, swimming (predominantly in open water), and tombstoning – jumping into open water.

There were 260 deaths in England, 56 in Scotland, 41 in Wales and 11 in Northern Ireland. In England, the South West (53) and the South East (50) regions had the highest number of deaths.

The full UK regional breakdown is as follows:

  • Scotland (56)
  • South West (53)
  • South East (50)
  • Wales (41)
  • North West (39)
  • Eastern (36)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (20)
  • West Midlands (20)
  • London (16)
  • East Midlands (14)
  • North East (12)
  • Northern Ireland (11)
  • At sea (7)
  • Isle of Man (3).

Jim Watson, deputy chairman of the NWSF, said: ‘Although the number of accidental drownings and water-related deaths has remained consistent in recent years, there should be no room for complacency, particularly as we enter the warmer summer months and more people are drawn to the water.

‘We encourage people to enjoy the UK’s waters, but to make sure they understand the risks and come home safely.’

A full copy of the UK water-related fatalities 2013 report can be viewed at: www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/info/waid_fatalincidentreport_2013.xls.

WAID was developed by NWSF members, including: national partners – Canal and River Trust, British Sub Aqua Club, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the RNLI, RoSPA and the Royal Life Saving Society; sports governing bodies; and regional and local organisations, including Cornwall Council. It was developed in partnership with the Department for Transport.
See full article and figures at Practical Boat Owner – click here

 

Almost 1,000 people have downloaded anew Royal Yachting Association (RYA) smartphone app that aims to help the coastguard to track down missing boats. RYA SafeTrx is a smartphone app that enables boat users in UK territorial waters to plan their passage.

 

RYA SafeTrx, which is compatible with Android and iOS devices, allows users to plot and then upload their passage plan and estimated time of arrival.

If the estimated time of arrival is exceeded without the trip being completed, then the designated emergency contacts are automatically notified.

Using the data sent by the SafeTrx app during a voyage, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be able to pinpoint lost and stricken boats more quickly.

Keith Oliver, head of maritime operations at the MCA, said: ‘During a search and rescue incident, the UK coastguard collects vital information about the people and vessels involved.

‘When did they set off? Where were they going? When were they due back? What was their last known location?

‘These are all vital pieces of the puzzle and the coastguard welcomes any system that can contribute to the information gathering effort. RYA SafeTrx will help provide this information, meaning that valuable time is not lost.’

This technology has been in use in Ireland and Australia for some time, and now the RYA’s adoption allows members to take advantage of the service in UK territorial waters for free.

Non-members can download the app free of charge, and data logging credits are available in bundles of 10 for £1.49 or 20 for £2.49.

The app can also deliver performance analytics for those keen to plot their average speed or total distance travelled.

Stuart Carruthers, cruising manager at the RYA, said: ‘Although RYA SafeTrx is not intended as a replacement for regular approved safety devices (VHF, APIB, AIS, etc) it will be beneficial to the one million users of small powerboats, RIBs, PWCs and for dinghy cruisers for whom existing tracking technology is not always practical.

‘Until now a simple, cost-effective system of tracking and alerting has not been available for these boat users. When we learned about this app and its enormous safety benefits we knew that we had to bring it to the UK.’

RYA SafeTrx is available to download now from the iTunes app store, while Android users can find the app on the Google Play Store.
See article at Pratical Boat Owner – click here

Light winds turned the 2014 event into an endurance test with the slowest ever winner; 715 finishers and 791 retirees. This extremely light winds, at times recording zero knots, turned the 2014 J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race into an endurance test for its participants.

 

Held yesterday on Midsummer’s day, the race was one of the longest in the history of the 83-year-old race. There were 715 finishers and 791 retirees; race organisers said it is always regrettable to have more retirees than finishers but there was a very positive response from the majority of competitors nonetheless.

The slowest elapsed time for a line honours boat ever recorded in the race’s history was 08.51.37 achieved by Team Richard Mille on their GC32 foiling multihull – almost three times slower than last year’s winning time of 02.52.15, set by Sir Ben Ainslie’s AC45 catamaran team.

Most of the 1,585 entries started the race around the Isle of Wight in around three knots and bright sunshine and as the hours went by, temperatures rose but wind speed dropped leaving hundreds of boats becalmed and a large proportion of the 16,000 crew desperately seeking ways of making their boats go faster or resorting to stretching out on deck to enjoy the sunny conditions.

There were several standstills for many boats during the race, and other times when it was the tide, rather than the wind, that powered the yachts along.

First to the Needles was Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore’s Swan 45 Eala of Rhu but the going was slow and Sir Ben Ainslie, racing on the Farr 45 Rebel with members of his BAR America’s Cup crew, took longer to complete the first 13 miles than the record-breaking time he took to finish the entire race last year.

Rebel very quickly became involved in a match race with rival Farr 45 Toe in the Water crewed by injured servicemen and women who had served recently in Afghanistan and the lead swapped several times over the 50nms course though it was Capt Lloyd Hamilton’s ecstatic crew who nudged across the finish line ahead of Ainslie and his team of professionals.

‘This means everything to us,’ he said recording a time of 8 hours 51 minutes 39 seconds.

He added: ‘The guys are ecstatic at beating Rebel. They don’t know many of the America’s Cup sailors but they know and love Sir Ben Ainslie, so are thrilled.”

Racing debuts pay dividends
Another big battle to ensue on the water was between the brand new high-performance catamarans, the GC32s Team Richard Mille and Spax Solution making their racing debuts in the Solent.

Former line honours winner Pete Cumming had gathered together a professional crew for Team Richard Mille, including helmsman Paul Campbell-James and proved consistently faster than their rivals.

They took five long hours to reach St Catherine’s Point where the sea breeze kicked in to give the leading boats a big push over the next two hours towards the finish but just as they were within sight of the line, the wind in Stokes Bay died and their final flourish was delayed by a further hour to record a finish time of 8 hours and 51 minutes.

Cumming said: ‘It wasn’t the easiest race but these boats are superb – very fast even in light airs and fun to sail.’

First monohulls in battle royale
First monohull across the finish line was Dutch boat Tonnerre de Breskens, with a time of 9 hours 56 minutes 13 seconds but they too had a battle royale to gain an advantage over Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe II, which trailed in just 22 seconds later after one of the biggest tests of endurance and patience since the Round the Island Race started in 1931.

The first Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust yacht, Scarlet Oyster, crewed by PBO News Editor Laura Hodgetts, trust volunteers and six young people crossed the finishing line at 5.57pm – almost 10 and a half hours after setting off at 7.30am.

A total of 24 teenagers took part on the trust’s five yachts. Dame Ellen and a crew aboard the trust’s flagship yacht Moonspray were forced to retire, after becoming becalmed off Dunose.

Twelve hours after the first start, 246 boats had finished and a further 445 had retired but the rest were still out on the course valiantly trying to make the finish before the cut off time of 10pm.

Prize giving
The Gold Roman Bowl was awarded to a Folkboat, Madelaine, skippered by Edward Donald, who hasn’t quite achieved the record four wins of the Gold Roman Bowl by Edward Heath but he’s nearly there, having won it individually three times and the Donald family has collected this famous trophy four times.

The Tenacity Trophy, awarded annually to the skipper of the last boat home. This year it fell to Stuart Whitmore to win the applause. He crossed the finish line on his Sigma 33, Sixes and Sevens, (IRC3) at 21.51.35, having started his race at 0730 – 14 hours, 21 minutes, 35 seconds later.

Event organiser, the Island Sailing Club, runs the event with support from title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management and the race partners for 2014: Dream Yacht Charter, Haven Knox-Johnston, Henri Lloyd, Nautica Watches, Old Pulteney, Raymarine, Red Funnel, Volvo Car UK.

Find the full results click here

See full article at Pratical Boat Owner – click here

The tablet revolution is changing the way we do things in many aspects of our lives. Yachting World have tested out some of the Chart Plotting iPad applications that are on the market and provide their thoughts on each.

The focus of the tests were on applications that worked solely on the iPad rather than connecting to the existing instrument system on the vessel.

If you are thinking of buying an iPad or downloading applications to assist you in your sailing then this video will be very useful to you.

Read more on Yachting World’s website.

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New mobile app: You can now get a new app to predict how the weather forecast is going to be. A successful day on the water can be determined by the wind, and this application could become your new favorite sailing information tool.

Although there are many different mobile phone applications to provide you with details on current conditions out at sea, this Predict Wind aims to give you accurate and reliable wind forecasts.

The mobile app also provides a weather routing tool to help you to work out the fastest and the most comfortable route while taking in weather conditions. Also there is a trip planner that will summarize wind data for the next couple of days to help you to plan your trip.

The application is available to on Apple and Android smart phones.

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