Tuesday, 19 August 2008

JAMAICA 4th to arrive in Madeira

As readers of this web site will know, JAMAICA, is currently competing in the RORC Cowes to Madeira Race. At 13:00 today she has approximately 15 miles to go to the finish line at the end of the first leg.

Skipper Simon Bradley, this time assisted by a first and second mate along with a crew of non-professional sailors, crossed the start line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on Monday 11 August, sailing straight into a howling gale which battered the 11-strong fleet and forced six of the boats into port to repair damage and sit out the worst of the weather.

JAMAICA, used to the rigours of ocean racing, even if her crew succumbed to sea sickness for the first few days, pressed on, and will be the fourth boat to arrive in Madeira, off the west coast of Africa, this afternoon.

British Soldier arrived just before 8am today to join Norddeutsche Vermoegen and Pen Azen who are already in port. As the yachts are racing in different classes the timings must be adjusted according to each yacht’s handicap before the winner of the leg is announced. Puma Logic, the fifth yacht still racing, is approximately 20 nautical miles behind JAMAICA and also expected this afternoon.

The yachts must set off on the return leg before 26 August. They will inform the Race Director 24 hours before they decide to set off.

Following the gruelling upwind sailing at the beginning of the leg, the crew of JAMAICA have enjoyed some champagne sailing conditions.
Skipper Simon Bradley sent this report:

Sunday 17th August 2008

We’re currently under lightweight spinnaker in 5.9 knots of true wind from the northwest making a boat speed of 4.6 knots - not bad for a 32 tonne yacht. Our course is also still good for Madeira, which is always a bonus in these conditions.
The sun is hot and the sky is a lovely blue with small, fluffy white clouds dotted across the horizon. All very nice and the crew have welcomed the change from beating into strong winds and big seas.
However, the down side is that our ETA into Madeira has changed quite dramatically, this time yesterday we were making 10 knots of boat speed and the prospect of cold beers and showers (normally taken in that order) on Monday night/Tuesday morning has changed to later in the week… but this is the nature of sailing, particularly racing when you are not allowed to harness the power of the 130hp diesel engine that is sitting quietly in the engine compartment waiting to be fired into life.

Sailing a yacht in light airs is where a sailor’s skill really comes into play. High levels of concentration are required by the trimmers and driver, good communication with each other is essential as they try to maximise every breath of wind and swell from the waves.
Drinking plenty of fluids and wearing sunscreen and a hat is very important because it doesn’t take long to get dehydrated or sun burnt in these conditions, especially when you’ve just sailed south from the height of a British summer!
Well done Simon and the crew of JAMAICA for such a magnificent result. Enjoy your well deserved beers ....... showers are over-rated!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

With JAMAICA racing again Simon reflects on 07/08

As we confirmed in these pages last week, just five weeks after returning the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Race JAMAICA is racing once again with skipper Simon Bradley at the helm, assisted by first mate Juan Coetzer, one of the Clipper Training skippers, and a crew of non-professional sailors on board. The 68-foot ocean racing yacht is competing in the Cowes to Madeira Yacht Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The race began on Monday morning (11 August) on the historic Royal Yacht Squadron Line at Cowes and it is expected that the fleet will take approximately ten days to reach the sun soaked Atlantic island of Madeira.

Entries have come from all over Europe and there is a wide variety of yachts competing in three classes. The smallest yacht in the fleet is Matthias Kracht’s JPK 9.6 Ultreia!

The weather forecast predicts a stiff southwesterly breeze for the start of the race with the chance of the wind direction backing to the north. If this is the case it could be a spectacular sleigh ride in the Atlantic and the variety of conditions should make this an exciting race.

Simon Bradley is one of an elite group of yachtsmen and women who have not only circumnavigated the globe under sail but has done it twice – once as a watch leader on Bristol Clipper in the Times 2000 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and again as skipper of JAMAICA in Clipper 07-08.

The search is on for the ten skippers who will lead the crews in the Clipper 09-10 Race when it sets sail from the Humber on 13 September 2009. So what does it take to lead a team of non-professional sailors on a 35,000-mile race? Simon reflects on his experiences as a Clipper Race skipper.

Why did you apply to be a skipper in the Clipper 07-08 Race?

I’ve been involved with Clipper Ventures since 1999 when I applied to be a crewmember in the Times 2000 Clipper Race. After completing the race as a round the worlder on Bristol Clipper I decided to try my hand at professional sailing. I already had my RYA Yachtmaster Offshore ticket, so getting my Instructor qualification was the step I decided to take next. After successfully doing this I started life as a sailing instructor which, after time, took me back to Clipper running Part A training for the Clipper 05-06 Race on the Clipper 60s. This led to involvement with the Clipper 68s and then one morning I decided that applying to be a Skipper in the Clipper 07-08 Race should be the next thing to do.

Looking back what was your biggest achievement?

Helping my crew to become safe, competent and knowledgeable sailors, seeing complete novices turn into ocean racers was fantastic. I’m also very pleased to have become a double circumnavigator

What did you find the most challenging?

Managing the crew; creating and running a team that could function under any conditions, good or bad. The ethos on JAMAICA was that everyone would do everything, we would only specialise at race starts or if it became a matter of safety. This brought huge benefits but also some massive challenges as well.

From a skipper’s perspective what do you think the crews get out of the experience?

They learn about themselves and about sailing; it makes them start to think beyond their normal horizons. They begin to realise that a positive ‘can do’ attitude will allow them to change and shape their own lives. They also learn how to cook dinner and make tea and coffee for 18 people (well, some of them did).

What has it changed about you?

Lost about 20lbs in weight and have long hair (possibly not for much longer). I also realise that there is a lot more sailing that I want to do.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from taking part?

We didn’t get the race results that we so desperately wanted and we never stood on the podium. But success can be measured in different ways. We had a very strong team that stayed together throughout the race. We had highs and lows for sure but at the end of it all we were very proud to be the crew of JAMAICA. A large compliment to the whole team was that several crew members from other yachts let it be known that they would like to be on board JAMAICA even if we were in tenth place!

So, ‘Never Give Up’ on anything that you really want to happen or achieve… and of course ‘Don’t worry about a thing’.

What was your favourite moment on the race?

Hard to say, there were so many great moments - being closely followed by two Orca ‘Killer’ whales in the Southern Ocean, watching the albatross gliding effortlessly around the yacht, or seeing ‘Son of Krakatoa’ erupting as we sailed through the Sunda Strait. (The Guinness and Murphy’s in Cork were also very special.)

But sharing the whole experience of the race with my crew has to be the one for me.

What was your least favourite moment?

The times when I was exhausted both mentally and physically but luckily I’ve got youth on my side so recovery was never far away!

How do you think being a Clipper skipper and working for Sir Robin will enhance your career?

It can only be good. This is the only race of its kind. Any circumnavigation is a huge undertaking but racing round the world with a crew of ‘amateur’ sailors is a little different, it brings some quite unique challenges and rewards. Working for Sir Robin is a real privilege and one that I am very proud of. Now all I have to do is get a job!

What are your plans since finishing the Clipper Race? Have they changed from what you were planning going into the race?

I’m racing JAMAICA from Cowes to Madeira and back in the next few weeks. After that I plan to have a rest… and then go sailing again.

Now you have completed the race what would you say are the necessary personality and people skills anyone applying to be a race skipper should have?

Be yourself, be strong and positive, and commit totally to the race and your crew. But most of all you have to understand how to get the best out of people (including yourself), particularly when the going gets tough, because it will.

If you had one word of advice to pass on to future Clipper Race skippers what would that be?

It has to be, ‘Enjoy it’ (that’s two words, sorry, if you say it quickly it sounds like one word). Life is too short not to enjoy something like this. It’s a great adventure and a very special opportunity, so do your best and enjoy it!
Our thanks to Simon for his reflections on our magnificent adventure and good luck to him and his new crew in the race. For updates on their progress keep referring to jamaicaclipper.com over the next few days.
We have just heard from Simon from on board JAMAICA. He has said that they currently have 35 knots on the nose, she is bouncing about a bit at the moment and they have plenty on their hands, thus has excused himself from sending a report at the moment.
As a member of the 07/08 crew, I can't see what the problem is!

Friday, 1 August 2008

What now for JAMAICA?

You'd have thought that, having travelled 35,000 miles, the good ship JAMAICA would take a well earned rest.

Not a bit of it!

The old girl has got a new lease of live and will shortly renew her love affair with RTW Skipper Simon Bradley.

JAMAICA will be off on another offshore race, the RORC Madeira Race, in which she is expected to be the largest of the 20 yachts competing in the 2,600 nautical mile race from Cowes. The route will take them across the English Channel, past the Channel Islands, along the stunning west coast of France, through the unpredictable and challenging conditions of the Bay of Biscay on towards the island of Madeira off the west coast of Africa. After a short stopover for victualling and crew changes they will race back to Cowes.

Double circumnavigator Simon will skipper the entry, assisted by Clipper Training skippers Jan Ridd and Juan Coezer.

Making his final preparations for the trip Simon sent this exclusive message, via jamaicaclipper.com to the whole crew of the 07/08 race :

"Please can you pass on to the entire crew that I've had very good feedback on the excellent condition of the yacht since coming back from a RTW race from Jan Ridd (Training Skipper whose taken over JAMAICA in my absence), Jay and the Maintenance team and John Farndell (Fleet Manager). It's a compliment to you all on how the yacht was looked after and ultimately left in Liverpool."

Great praise indeed. Simon will be posting regular articles from on board JAMAICA so watch out for news of the RORC Madeira race on this site!

Monday, 7 July 2008

The end of a magnificent journey

And so we sailed into The Albert Dock on Saturday 5th July 2008 at the end of our great voyage to a fabulous welcome from some 60,000 people at the Liverpool waterfront.
Sailing into the Mersey was simply spectacular and brought a huge lump to the throat as we saw so many former crew members, family and friends together with many, many people who had come along to witness the spectacular sight.
Some of the crew now join an elite and rare group of people who have sailed all the way around the World - 35,000 miles. There are more people who have climbed Everest than there are circumnavigators. We are proud of our Round the Worlders : John Braithwaite, Ralph Grant, Claire Maloney, Chris Parkinson and Bernard Tissier and they should be really proud of their magnificent achievement.
For skipper Simon Bradley this is the second time he has circumnavigated the globe; Simon was a crew member on the Times 2000 Clipper race and it was that that gave him the bug to become a professional sailor.
The JAMAICA crew was lauded by both the Clipper Management team but, more importantly, the skippers and crew members of the other 9 Clippers, as the most inclusive team, the team which most noticeably embraced this magnificent journey. That is a true acolade and to get such recognition from our adversaries & colleagues is a credit to us all.
But team JAMAICA has not just been about the 40 people who have sailed her around the World. It is about the JAMAICA family. The support we have received has been second to none, whether it be from those people who have been fortunate to come and visit us in our stopovers, or whether it be those good folk back home who have constantly been there to encourage us along the way.
The end of an era it may be but it will not be the end of the journey; there have been too many great friends made over the course of the past year. It is too early to sum up one's experiences over this time. This is a time for reflection, a time to enjoy and savour the moment.
www.jamaicaclipper.com will remain on line for the foreseeable future as many of the RTW crew members have asked to be able to scroll back through the race reports to relive the memory.
Indeed we hope as many people as possible will send their own reflections on the JAMAICA experience, both crew and non crew, so we can publish them.
It has been a privilege to be part of the JAMAICA family.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

JAMAICA Clipper claims 1st prize...

On a wet and windy Saturday, not dissimiliar to the conditions the fleet left in last September the friends and family and former crew-mates of JAMAICA Clipper welcomed the team back to Liverpool Jon, Gus, Karen and Nick Jacob's family cheered the boats into the docks from the top of the Cunard building (many thanks to Karen for letting us up there)

At an impressive prize giving ceremony in St George's Hall, Liverpool, JAMAICA Clipper were awarded first prize in the Media competition for leg 7. The crew congratulated Nick Jacobs with his stirling efforts on the Camcorder. Well done Nick.

Further information was provided by Anna Wardley on the photos and film DVDs which will be available from Clipper and Nauticalia shops over the coming months.

The prize giving ceremony saw speeches from the Mayor of Liverpool and dignotories from Hull & Humber who will host the start and finish of the 09/10 Race.

JAMAICA Clipper were welcomed on stage by Sir Robin and were cheered by the other crews.

In reverse order Glasgow, Hull & Humber and New York recieved there 3rd, 2nd and 1st prizes respectively, all thanking the efforts of their crews.
As always the JAMAICA team then celebrated in style at Bar HA HA with a fantastic buffet organised by JB, Karen and Nick. Many thanks from the crew and friends and family who were there.

Jon G


Catching up on the missed postings as the boats left Cork in such a hurry here are some fantastic photos taken by Karen Jacobs and Mick Moran.


Jon G

Team JAMAICA Clipper prepare for crossing to Liverpool

JAMAICA crosses the startline

Looking back on another 35,000 miles04

July 2008 As the sixth Clipper Round the World Yacht Race comes to a close, we can reflect on the last ten months and the effect that 35,000 miles of racing has had on the 400 people’s lives who participated as crew in the race. Firstly they will have become competent sailors, and for those who had never sailed before they joined the Clipper Training programme a year or more ago,this means they have learned a new sport. But they have not done this in the sheltered waters of the Solent; they have done it through all the oceans ofthe world, in calms and in storms. But that is not all they take back to the land at the end of their voyage.They have learned that teamwork is not something preached in a weekend seminar, it is an essential part of survival at sea, and when they put their effort into their team it is not only safer it is enjoyable. They will also show the noticeable increase in self confidence which comes from taking on something really difficult and succeeding. Perhaps nowhere has this been more obvious than with the ONE HULL Tag Team, the young people, not drawn from privileged backgrounds, who took the Wilberforce Petition against modern day slavery around the world. It is pleasing to report that all of these young people have had a life changing experience,and have all now taken up jobs or further education. The crews all now face a similar challenge. Adjusting to life ashore again and the need to get back to work. Whatever they do however, they know that they have achieved something very special with their lives and something wehope will extend their horizons. At Clipper, well some people like the Race Team will go for a well deserved holiday. Others will take over the boats and race them around the Solent fora few months whilst the back room team will start to progress the re-fit,pulling together the list of tasks that keep the boats clean, safe, and effective. Already crew training is already well underway for Clipper09-10, so as we say farewell and good luck to the Clipper 07-08 crews, weare hailing the new ones for Clipper 09-10.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Liverpool Race Finish Programme Clipper 07 /08 Saturday 5th July 08
2 – 8 am Race 14 (Cork to Liverpool) finishes at the bar (entrance to the riverMersey) 10.30am Liverpool 08 Dash starts at Crosby buoy (presentational race up the river Mersey)
Also, race commentary & entertainment begins at the Albert Dock 11.30-12 pm

Liverpool 08 Dash finish off Duke’s mast 12.15pm

Clipper 07/08 Fleet parade past Duke’s mast 12.45pmClipper 07/08 Fleet enter canning half tide lock 2pm

Race 14 (Cork to Liverpool) prize giving in the Canning half tide 3.15pmClipper 07-08 overall prize giving at the Albert Dock 4.30pm

Shuttle buses from the Albert Dock to the crew reception (ticket holdersonly) at St Georges Hall, William Brown Street, Liverpool L1 1J 5-8pm
Crew reception St Georges Hall (tickets holders only)

9pm Jamaica Crew buffet at Ha Ha Restaurant, Albert Dock (only if you have prebooked)

Close battle underway for final podium positions

04 July 2008 After just over twenty four hours of racing up the Irish Sea from Cork to Liverpool only 14 miles separate the entire fleet, as they battle for thefinal three podium positions in the biennial 35,000-mile Clipper Round theWorld Yacht Race. New York and Uniquely Singapore are leading the fleet, butwith three boats just one mile behind, there is no room for complacency. Amongst the pack chasing the two leading boats is Liverpool 08. The Liverpool team, skippered by Ben Galloway, is fighting for a victory intotheir home port ten months after they set sail from the Mersey in Septemberlast year. The fleet are currently experiencing fast reaching conditions in a Force 3from the south west as they make their way towards Liverpool. The boats are going a lot faster than expected averaging approximately nine knots sincethey started Race 14 from Cork at midday yesterday, but they are sailing an‘elastic course’ that can be adapted according to the conditions. The tenteams will race around a number of pre-determined marks in Liverpool Baybefore the overall winner of the race is decided. The first boats will crossthe finish line at the Bar Buoy at the mouth of the Mersey from 0100 GMT onSaturday. Race Director Joff Bailey said: “The racing is incredibly close out therewith only three miles separating the top six boats. It is going to be atight finish and all the teams are battling to be the first across the linein this crucial final race. Nobody is willing to concede an inch and itlooks like it is going to go right to the line.” Nova Scotia has been deducted two points from their overall tally forreceiving a replacement main sail in Sydney after damaging their own. TheRace Committee penalised the Nova Scotia team after they received a fleetspare mail sail before departing from Nova Scotia for the final Atlanticcrossing. Earlier today, Radio 4’s You & Yours consumer affairs programme broadcast asailing special featuring the build-up to the finale of the Clipper 07-08Round the World Yacht Race.
Interviewees included Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Liverpool 08 crew member Lisa Pover andwesternaustralia2011.com crew member John Kimber live from the yachts as they raced up the Irish Sea towards Liverpool on Friday. Listen again is available at www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours.

Update from the boat

Ireland to the left of me, Anglesey to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you. Well it's midday on our penultimate day. The sun has got his hat on and the seas are calm. Having left Cork yesterday at midday the fleet has made excellent progress. The very light winds which had been forecast before the race have not transpired and although they have currently dropped to 10 knots we're pushing along quite nicely. So much so that we are way ahead of time. In theory we could be a few hours away from Liverpool but as the arrangements have been made for the big arrival tomorrow we anticipate there will be a number of new gates put into our routing which will mean we have to zig zag further North for another 12 hours or so before mustering somewhere off the coast to await the Mersey Dash fun race tomorrow morning at 9.30. Yesterday was glorious weather with decent winds allowing all clippers to fly their spinnakers. It was actually the battle of the mid weight and, as you know, we were not invited to that challenge. Flying our heavy weight we saw the whole fleet sail past us. However we have managed to stick as close to the fleet as possible and are currently in joint 7th place which is a reasonable place to be. We are fighting head to head with Durban who, ironically, shared our last party in Cork and 6 miles behind the front of the fleet. The calm before the storm ..... We understand there are very heavy winds forecast for later today which should make the sea state decidedly choppy. With this progress it would have been lovely if we could have turned right and popped into Holyhead for an evening to shelter from the ravages of the storm but it would appear that we shall be left to Bob up and down at the entrance to the Mersey overnight. With the weather as beautiful as it is now it is almost impossible to imagine a storm is on its way yet as we all know the Irish Sea can be very unpredictable. Indeed we have just been joined by 2 dolphins - what a beautiful welcome that it. We are all looking forward to seeing all of you good folks who are able to come to Liverpool tomorrow.

Nick Jacobs

Thursday, 3 July 2008


And so to the final race.
This morning we mustered on the good ship JAMAICA at 08:00 in preparation for the final race of the Clipper 07/08 Round the World Yacht Race. We slipped just after 09:00 and sailed to Cobh in a formation sail where we waved off by friends, family and locals. The huge P&O cruise liner The Grand Princess was there to bid is farewell and will be in Liverpool when we arrive. At this morning's crew briefing skipper Simon Bradley confirmed the winds would be light at the start of the race but high winds and perhaps squalls are likely to be "welcoming" us as we sail into the Mersey on Saturday. There is a massive low pressure system coming through which may make our final day highly challenging. At the start of this race at 12:00 we had an International race arbitrator ensuring any protests were adjudicated within an hour of race start so no decisions will be outstanding as we sail into Liverpool. As far as we could tell there appeared to be no incidents as the fleet crossed the line past Weaver's point heading into the Atlantic. After some excellent team work, great helming by JB, excellent tactics from Katie, we crossed the line in a magnificent 4th place before heading out to a way point 4 miles from shore. We left the waypoint to port and gybed JAMAICA to sail back to our original start point having gained a place to 3rd, although with Qingdao constantly nipping at our heels. We crossed the second way point in 5th having just been pipped around the mark by Qingdao and Western Australia, before turning East towards the Irish Sea. This close quarters racing is very exciting and there's a long way yet before race end in Liverpool. So I had better get back to racing.


Nick Jacobs posted by JG

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The Royal Cork Yacht Club

Greetings from The Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork, the oldest yacht club in the World and our hosts for the penultimate stopover before race end in Liverpool ..... and what fantastic hosts they have been.

We arrived on Saturday, two days early, following an excellent crossing of the Atlantic. Since then we have been working on the boat and enjoying the legendary hospitality of the Irish. It has been wonderful to see so many crew members, family and friends come to Crosshaven.
Yesterday evening we gathered together to present skipper Simon Bradley with two framed pictures as a thank you from all crew members.

The first was an original painting which has been painted by crew member Mick Moran's cousin Laura Miller. As you can see it is a beautiful painting of our very own JAMAICA clipper. It is clearly unique and Simon was delighted to receive it.

The second is a photographic montage which Jon Gibbard has prepared showing JAMAICA as well as two photographs of Simon: the first is the one and only time anyone has seen him do any work on board - here he is taking a bit of rope for a walk - the second is on the occasion of his 51st birthday.

Later in the evening team JAMAICA won the dancing competition (of course!) to the sounds of a reggae band which was sponsored by the Jamaican Tourist Board. Liz Fox & Torrance Lewis from the JTB in London have come over to join in with the celebrations as well as taking part in a Coporate Sail today. They will also be attending our crew party this evening.

And so to the final race in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race 07/08. The race started in Liverpool on 16th September 2007 and will conclude this coming Saturday, 5th July 2008 after 35,000 miles.

It is perhaps fitting that team JAMAICA was the only team to have an eve of race party last September and we are keeping up that tradition this evening before race start tomorrow morning at 8am. However, we are making sure we will all be on top form; although our team drink of choice is rum and coke we will not be mixing our drinks this evening ...... so Simon has banned the coke.

The forecast for the race is light winds blowing from the South - perfect weather for that gad damned spinnaker (don't mention the "S" word!). But rest assured we have a plan :

Crew member Dan Garnett has donated a pair of his boxer shorts which we have hoisted from the forestay. Early time trials suggest we will certainly finish in the top 10 on Saturday.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Liverpool.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Clipper fleet arrives at Royal Cork Yacht Club

29 June 2008.

All ten of the internationally-backed yachts of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are now berthed at Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven, Ireland following the finish of Race 13. The penultimate contest of the 14-race Clipper 07-08 series was won by New York, who crossed the finish line a little over an hour ahead of second placed Qingdao and Hull & Humber, who came third. New York have stretched their lead over their closest British rivals to three and a half points. Hull & Humber skipper Danny Watson said, “We have to beat them by a few places now, I guess. That whole thing was just a great race. We had someclose quarters stuff in the fog at the beginning then heavy winds, some downwind sailing which was great, then back into heavy winds and then some downwind close quarters sailing again at the end. It was close with Qingdao at the end but we had eight days alongside JAMAICA which just shows that the whole fleet is fairly evenly matched and it’s only small differences which mean you can get away. There was only one day that we weren’t alongside another Clipper. It’s like match racing across an ocean, which is fabulous,that’s what it’s all about.” After 2,080 miles of ocean racing all ten of the 68-foot yachts arrivedwithin 20 hours of each other, the crews happy to enjoy the hospitality ofthe Royal Cork Yacht Club – burgers and kegs of Heineken – at the end of anarduous race across the North Atlantic. The fleet set off from Sydney, Cape Breton Island, at the eastern tip of Nova Scotia 13 days ago and have coped with thick fog and light windsthrough the infamous Grand Banks as well as gales during the race to Cork,Ireland. Now the crews will enjoy some time to relax in Crosshaven and the wider environs of County Cork ahead of the final sprint to Liverpool, where the arrival on Saturday 5 July will form part of the city’s European Capital ofCulture 2008 celebrations. The Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, welcomed the crews with burgers and kegs of Heineken, which will also be flowing freely at the official welcome party and prize givingceremony on Tuesday 1 July. The results of Race 13 are as follows.
All times are GMT 1 New York 10:59:132
Qingdao 12:01:223
Hull & Humber 12:16:174
Liverpool 08 15:09:185
Uniquely Singapore 16:16:536
JAMAICA 16:29:327
Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper 17:11:288
Durban 2010 and Beyond 18:48:439
westernaustralia2011.com 02:55:47 (29 June)
10 Nova Scotia 06:54:38 (29 June)

Founder of the Clipper Race and legendary solo sailor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, a regular visitor to Crosshaven, says, “I think the crews of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race will discover something I learned in 1970 in the Round Britain Race and have re-learned on a number ofoccasions: that the Royal Cork Yacht Club provides and atmosphere and friendliness second to none.” This is the first time the Clipper Race, now in its sixth edition, has visited Ireland. Fiona Buckley, General Manager of Fáilte Ireland SouthWest, says, “Fáilte Ireland South West is delighted to support the Clipper arrival into Cork, and welcomes the support of Cork County Council and the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Sailing is central to the development of tourism inthe South West and particularly in Cork and is central to the Fáilte Ireland South West Regional Development Strategy 2008-2010. “Cork has an enviable sailing and maritime reputation worldwide, stemmingfrom its unique natural harbour, yacht clubs and maritime history. Whatmakes it so special is the vibrancy of the people and culture, theunsurpassed beauty of its landscape and the array of quality local food. Sailing along the East and West Cork coastline is a magical experience. I am confident that this week’s pit stop in Cork, which brings with it worldwide media, officials and crew and Ministerial parties form the Department of Tourism in both Nova Scotia and Jamaica, will impress the importance of the Cork region upon the event organisers and hopefully lead to the return ofthe race in a formal capacity.” The final race to Liverpool will start on Thursday 3 July.

Jon G

Saturday, 28 June 2008


CONGRATULATIONS to the JAMAICA team for their fantastic 6th place result. JAMAICA Clipper blog will have tales and photos from the leg over the coming days. We hope the crew aere enjoying a shower and meal and the hospitalities of the Crosshaven Yacht Club.

Jon G


Well the good ship JAMAICA passed the Fastnet lighthouse, our first way point since leaving Nova Scotia 12 days ago, at 11am this morning.
We are currently skirting the Southern coast of Ireland and have just 30 miles to go to the finish line. We have just received a schedule confirming Glasgow are 3 miles behind us and Singapore 3 miles ahead. We are still currently in 6th place which, given the deficiency of our sails, is a huge credit to all of the crew on board. After our podium position chances were snatched away from us as soon as the wind changed to aft and thus requiring spinnakers, we slipped from 3rd to 6th.

For the past 3 days we have been fending off Glasgow's advances and still are which, when you consider that Glasgow are currently 3rd in the race overall and they have been able to fly their mid weight spinnaker when we have not, is an incredible achievement. We are so close to a magnificent moral victory - to finish 6th in these circumstances would be an outstanding achievement. However, both Glasgow and Singapore are much further South than we are and may have a better wind angle into Cork. So close and yet so far. So, in the beautiful sunshine off the South Coast of Ireland it's "trim, trim, trim" and best course. Let's hope the Rasta Rocket can hold out just a few hours more.

Nick Jacobs

New York wins Race 13

28 June 2008 New York has scored her fifth victory in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race, crossing the finish line in Race 13 at 10:59:13 GMT (11:59:13local time) at the end of the 2,080-mile race from Nova Scotia to Cork, Ireland.

The yachts will be based at the Royal Cork Yacht Club until 3 July.

Qingdao and Hull & Humber are expected to cross the finish line atapproximately 1330 local time (1230 GMT), with Liverpool 08 finishing at approximately 1630 (1530 GMT).

JAMAICA should be in about 8pm!

New York extends lead as fleet closes in on Irish coast

27 June 2008 With the strong and steady winds that the fleet has enjoyed over the last 24 to 36 hours and with the favourable winds set to continue for the next 24 to48 hours the revised ETA for the leading yachts into Cork Ireland is now Saturday morning. These last couple of days of racing have been very fast and very wet for the ten teams, with average speeds being above 12 knots and top speeds being in the high teens. The fast reaching conditions that the teams have been experiencing has required 100 percent focus from the helms and trimmers onboard whilst wave after wave is thrown across the deck. The testing conditions have seen 45 knot winds driving horizontal rain acrossthe decks and made the last stages of this Atlantic race a real rollercoaster ride for the crews. All of the teams have been pushing as hard as they can to gain one or twoextra points with one eye on the fact that there is still a very importantrace to go and any equipment breakages now could affect them on the final race into Liverpool. Although very much focused on racing hard over the last 24 hours of the raceform Nova Scotia to Cork, Ireland, the teams are also looking forward at the penultimate stopover of Clipper 07-08. Skipper of JAMAICA, Simon Bradley,says, “It’s been fast and furious across the cold, grey North Atlantic. Mustbe getting close to home as it’s summer time but we’re still wearing thermals and mid-layers and it’s raining! But at least we will get a decentpint of beer!” The first teams are expected to arrive in Cork Saturday morning. During the short stopover the fleet will be based at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven with Prize Giving on taking place on Tuesday 1 July before the start of Race 14 on Thursday 3 July.

Mean while on board the good ship JAMAICA: CORK HERE WE COME. It is 20:20 on Friday 27th June 08 & we have just 183 miles to Cork. The Weather is beautiful & JAMAICA is surfing down the waves at great speeds. We should arrive Saturday evening, almost 2 days early. We are flying ourheavy weight spinnaker. The Conditions are perfect for the mid weight one but as you know it is out of action. The latest schedule confirmed that we had pulled 2 miles ahead of Glasgow. This is incredible as they will bef lying their mid weight so they should be quicker. It just shows what great progress we are making. If we are really lucky then we will keep Glasgow atbay and claim 6th place into Cork.


You may have seen the gorgeous pink & black polo shirts that we now use forofficial photos. For those crew members who sailed in earlier legs we stillhave some available. Those of you coming to Cork we can sell you polo shirtsthen. If you are coming to Liverpool for St George's Hall presentation it isimperative to wear these polos for the official photos. If this is the case,so that we do not sell them all in Cork, if you are coming to Liverpool & want a polo shirt or even if you are not coming to Liverpool but still wantone, please e mail Phil Thomas ASAP with your requirement and shirt size, although you may need to have what size is left! The cost forthe two shirts (black & pink) is £26. You have to buy both colours. At this stage there are only enough for crew members, not for family or friends butif there are any over we will sell them in Liverpool.


With not very far to go to the finish, the next big challenge that the skippers and tacticians will be considering is how to approach the coast of Ireland. The options are either inshore or offshore. To make the shortest approach and hug the coast for the last 90 nautical miles and risk the vagaries of coastal winds and sea breezes or take a slightly more offshore route and keep steady and more reliable winds but sail further. The winds forecast over the next few days look very favourable for the whole fleet with two low pressure systems sweeping north bringing excellent southwesterly winds that should bring the whole fleet to Cork, Ireland during Sunday 29 and Monday 30 June.

The heavy winds which have been forecast arrived earlier today. That meant dropping the dreaded spinnakers & thus has put us on even comparison witht he others. We have proved that if we have similar equipment to the others that we can sail as fast as anyone. The defective equipment we had has meant are slipping to 6th as the others could fly the mid weight spinnaker in perfect mid weight weather. Still the Rasta Rocket is now flying with 30knots wind pushing us along & boat speeds hitting 14 knots. At this rate we could possibly arrive in Cork late on Saturday night(2 days early) which would make crew member Bernard a happy man as it's his partner Trish's birthday on Sunday. Bernard is helming at the moment & as the boat is heeled over 35 degrees he is driving like Sterling Moss to see Trisha & son Jack.Cork will be a great stop over with so many family & friends coming to themighty Mick Moran's JAMAICA party on Wednesday night. Meantime after the disappointment of losing a podium position the crew is focused on a fast & safe voyage to Cork . See you all there !!

Nick and Karen Jacobs

Thursday, 26 June 2008


JAMAICA progressing well across the Atlantic although progress has slowed with the spinnaker rip. It shows how big a difference sail choice makes when the boats are so closely matched.

JAMAICA team meal 2nd July, Crosshaven

Message from Mick Moran: I booked the room in The Anchor Inn on Wednesday 2nd July for 80 people (Durban clipper are going to be joining us for dinner because they couldnt find anywhere else to go, and because we're nice like that !!!!). Its gonna work out at about 25 euro per head which is pretty good, not including drinks so people can buy drinks at the bar. There is gonna be salad, cold meat, lasagne, curry and desert along with a few other bits n pieces. Im expecting about 40 Jamaicans and 35 Durbans and probably 1 or 2 others will come along too so 80 should be right hopefully, maybe a bit too many so please invite family or friends who might be there in Cork to make up the numbers. Dinner is booked for 7pm and the land lady wants people to be there by 7.30 so she can have all the food served warm. If everyone could pay up to Mick by the Tuesday night that would be great so then I can pay the restaurant by Wednesday morning to avoid getting stressed on the night chasing people looking for money .... cause ill be far to pissed by then and will probably spend all the money on guinness and rum HAHAHA.


The price for a pair (one pink + one black) is UK £ 26.50.
Payment must be made on or before collection by:
1) cheque payable to "P.A.Thomas – Crew a/c"
2) by direct transfer to the crew a/c.
3) Cash
If shirts cannot be collected personally in Cork or Liverpool I am happy to collect them from Liverpool and post on but let me know soon so that I can reserve for you.
There should be enough left for family and friends but clearly crew take come first – so hurry up and decide.

Please let me know if you need Phil's contact details.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


13/14th September, put it in your diaries.

More information for JAMAICA crew via Adrian carey.

Jon G

Qingdao emerges victorious from overnight three-way battle

The lighter winds have finally had an effect on the leading teams and they slowed down overnight but not to the same extent as the teams further down the leader board. Qingdao, New York and Hull & Humber battled overnight in lighter winds and once again Qingdao came out on top. The conditions at the front are difficult with fog and rain hampering progress but each of these teams is pushing very hard and not giving an inch in this penultimate race
of the Clipper 07-08 series.
Race Director Joff Bailey comments, "With JAMAICA dropping back after ripping a spinnaker and Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper affected by the lighter winds, suddenly the chance of gaining a few extra places and maybe upsetting the podium is a reality. This race will have many place changes yet over the next five days before the finish in Cork harbour.

Mean while on board JAMAICA:, "A very frustrating day on JAMAICA," explains skipper, Simon Bradley, whose team had been keeping pace with the leading pack. "We’ve lost contact with
Hull & Humber, New York and Qingdao, and all because we had a spinnaker rip – this time not our fault! Because of this we couldn’t fly the appropriate spinnaker and little by little we lost ground to them."

Nick adds his reflections:

Another apology to all JAMAICA Clipper blog readers for lack of boat updates caused by our E mail system down since Friday. From the race start until Tuesday morning we were consistently in the top four & fighting for that podium place. Oh what a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday (Tuesday) was so frustrating regarding the ripped spinnaker. A hole appeared in it &
before we could bring it down it had ripped in half. Even today, we can still see our podium place sailing off into the distance. The mid weight spinnaker given to us in the previous leg to replace the damaged one was from 05 - 06 race . It is more like a patchwork quilt than a spinnaker. Oh
there's no justice. We would have preferred to have had 4 points deducted (like Hull & Humber) & then receive a new spinnaker. As our mid weight spinnaker is beyond compare we have tried both the light & heavy weight spinnakers but both have had to come down for repair. It know means that we have dropped down to 5th /6th place. Still, with over 600m to go & very
light airs anything can happen though it is a long shot for us now. However, JAMAICA never gives up !!!
Karen & Nick Jacobs and JG

Tuesday, 24 June 2008



Firstly apologies for no recent updates. The mail system has been down for 4 days. Progress has been very good until this morning. On watch at 3am to find the mid weight spinnaker up as wind moved to aft???????. At that stage JAMAICA were joint 3rd with Hull & Humber. One hour into the watch the spinnaker ripped in half. We quickly dropped it and put up the light weight spinnaker. The winds strengthened so this came down and we put up the heavyweight as we watched our podium place sail away into the distance. Very frustrating. The crew are a bit down as earlier in the race the mid weight spinnaker was replaced with a second hand one from the last race which is more like a patchwork quilt. We lost 3 points as it had to be replaced.

Ironically, Hull & Humber who had also damaged theirs were docked 4 points but got a brand new sail; that is why they are sailing away into the distance. Still with 800 miles to go there is an outside chance that we can still make up the distance though with a mid weight beyond repair we are at a disadvantage. But this is JAMAICA & we will do all we can. Good news is that 5th placed Glasgow were 45 miles behind at 0600. Will surely have madeup some ground but still behind.

Clipper on Sky Xtra TV Just a reminder to all JAMAICA Clipper Blog readers that Sky Xtra TV are dueto be featuring the Clipper race tomorrow night (Wed 25th June).

The ten-part documentary series featuring Clipper 07-08 produced by Sunset +Vine I APP will be shown across the globe over the coming weeks, bringingthe unique story of the Clipper Race and the 400 crew taking part tomillions of viewers as the racing draws to a close in Liverpool. The character-driven series focuses on some of the people that have taken timeout of their everyday lives to take on the challenge of a life time sailing around the world. Each of the half-hour programmes tells their amazingstories as the action and drama of the 35,000-mile race unfolds. Broadcasters’ television schedules are available in the Multimedia sectionon the official Clipper web site at www.clipperroundtheworld.com.

Nick & Karen Jacobs and JG

Monday, 23 June 2008

Change in conditions helps leading boats pull out lead

News from the good ship JAMAICA.

The downwind conditions beginning to engulf the fleet are proving a welcome respite from those of recent days. JAMAICA'S skipper, Simon Bradley, says, “The stronger winds and rougher seas have died down now, making a smoother passage possible on board JAMAICA. Several crew members are very pleased about this as they have been suffering from a little ‘mal de mer’. This is not only affecting some of our newer crew members, but also some of our ‘old salts’ as well. It’s amazing how this sickness can inflict itself upon people even after many thousands of miles spent at sea.”

Hopefully the crew are feeling a little better!


From Clipper Website

JAMAICA continues to have a good fight at the front of the fleet and is showing some of the speed that the team is capable of but has struggled to find on some of the earlier races.
Skipper of JAMAICA, Simon Bradley, says, “A bit of wake up call yesterday evening as the wind built and built until we had just under a steady 30 knots of true wind. Time to change headsails and reef! The sea was rather short and steep as well which didn’t help matters and it certainly made cooking in the galley interesting, it’s amazing the places that spaghetti will stick to! One Love!”

Sounds like the boat are having an interesting time at the moment...more later.


Sunday, 22 June 2008

Fleet tack south overnight

JAMAICA Clipper are holding onto 3rd position as the fleet tack south overnight to maintain the best wind angle. JAMAICA are now 9 miles behind the leading boat NY, but some interesting tactical changes have occurred with H&H and JAMAIACA coming south of NY and Quigdao.

Joff's race report that the wind is due to back to the East and then North (anticlockwise direction) and this maybe the reason for JAMAICA's dive south as they attempt to get a better wind angle when the wind settles (A northerly wind direction will allow JAMAICA to go onto a broad reach one of the fastest points of sails when racing with white sails).

Yesterday the JAMAICA CLIPPER BLOG recieved a phonecall from Nick, from the boat, to report that there were commuincations issues with the whole fleet which explains our lack of onboard information!
The comms equipment is tempremental at the best of times. This focuses mainly around the fact that salt water and electronics don't really mix but also as pictured below around the satellite reciever dome.

This dome houses a satellite dish, similiar to a Sky dish, which is gimbled to remain flat no-matter what angle the boat is at and is prepogrammed to know which direction it should be facing inorder to track an appropriate satellite to upload information to. For a similiar reason this is sometimes why the boats don'e "pole", upload their 6 hour positions, as the GPS system which does this can suffer from similiar gremlins. Hopefully we'll get some information again from the boat shortly!
Posted by JG and Karen Jacobs

Saturday, 21 June 2008


JAMAICA remain in a very strong position overnight as they keep pace with Hull & Humber and NY.

There are still only 3 miles between the top four boats. Clipper Race news suggests that Quigdao's poisition to the South may cuase them to loose out in the long run so JAMAICA are primed to do battle with the Danny and Dougie and their respected crews.

JAMAICA's Lucy Mayo will be pleased to be up competing with Hull & Humber and I'm sure, given current positions she is saving lots of money on phone and email as Danny will be within shouting distance!
JB and Lucy on the last leg
No word still from the boat, we assume they are having communications issues and concetrating on the racing! We'll let you no as soon as we have any news.

Friday, 20 June 2008

JAMAICA hang on in 3rd

20 June 2008

The entire fleet is starting to make better progress now the teams have cleared Newfoundland and head north east to follow the great circle route as closely as possible. Ben Galloway, skipper of Liverpool 08, says, “It’s windy! We’re currently doing nine knots close to the great circle route and we’re only a few miles behind the leaders.” In a dramatic change of course, westernaustralia2011.com headed north westovernight as the Western Australian team decided to cut their loses and join the rest of the fleet. Although this move has caused them to drop down the leaderboard the big blue boat is now back with the rest
of the pack and should not lose any more ground. Although the teams are making better progress, fog is still an issue formany of the boats. Skipper of New York, Duggie Gillespie, says, “The radaris working overtime in the fog, along with the operators, looking for other clipper boats, fishing gear, possible icebergs or other vessels. It is the coldest it has been so far on this leg and racing is close as we trade places with nearby JAMAICA.” JAMAICA, New York and Qingdao are leading the fleet but Qingdao’s more southerly position is a double edged sword, providing them with a chance of better wind angles but a greater risk of falling into the middle of thelatest low pressure system which is currently chasing the fleet. Skipper of Qingdao, Marcus Cholerton-Brown, says, “It’s a bit nippy but a great 24 hours of racing as tacking duals in the fog bring on their ownspecial challenges! The fog cleared for a moment and the TV game becamereality with all ten boats still in sight. Marvellous.”
Posted by JG


JAMAICA Clipper has held off stiff competition overnight in fickle conditions as the fleet cross the Grand Banks.

New York And Hull & Humber are now at the front of the pack with JAMAICA and Quigdao.

Danny Watson, skipper of Hull & Humber and close friend to JAMAICA Clipper, says, “We’re presently sailing in seven knots of breeze from the south west. The fog has finally cleared and we have sight of New York, Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, Jamaica and Qingdao. Four days into the race there is still only 4 miles sperating the top four crews. This is really close! One bad headsail change or one wrong or late decision could see any of the current leaders drop back!

This has all the makings of a fantastic race and now only 10 days until the boats are expected in Crosshaven.

And with that in mind here's a reminder of Mick Moran's JAMAICA Clipper Crosshaven itinary!

Mick Moran here calling from Dublin, I have managed to book a place for the Jamaica bash in Crosshaven. I have booked it for the Wednesday night 2nd July in a bar/restaurant called The Anchor Inn, in Crosshaven at around 6 -7 pm. It'll be a buffet event so as to save time on
getting orders and serving people, there is going to be about 50 people there so I though it would make it much easier to just have a buffet. I'll make sure its quality stuff and not just cocktail sausages and a few chicken wings.
The boats are due to arrive on the monday, but I'm sure JAMAICA will arrive on the Sunday to claim 1st position .... ISN'T THAT RIGHT SIMON???????? so Monday was out of question to organise the party as normally everybody just gets pissed on the 1st night in port anyways. Tuesday night is the prize giving (which, by the way is sponsored by heineken so bring your drinking boots) so that was also out of question for the bash. Wednesday night is free so that was the only option, its a real pity that the boats are only gonna be in Crosshaven for 3 night, but hay, at least you guys will have 3 amazing nights. So, wednesday, 2nd July, Anchor Inn.
I have been talking to the main man in Royal Cork Yacht Club, a guy by the name of John Roche and he's gonna put on a great show for us. He has organised live traditional Irish music and dance (riverdance here we go) every night in the club house. He also tells me that Mount Gay Rum have sponsored Wednesday night in the club so im sure we will all end up there after the dinner for a few free rums, Murphys, Guinness and anything else we can get our hands (or lips) on. Also he told me that Appleton Jamaican Rum are trying to get their stuff in there as well so expect to see a few free bottles of that stuff floating around as well. (oh my god I feel a repeat of
the Mai Tai night in Hawaii coming on, for those of you who weren't there ..... dont bother asking anybody about it becasue nobody can remember a thing haha, last thing I remember is holding onto the wall for dear life, oh happy days, never again, well ok then, maybe i will) Crosshaven is a fairly small little sea side town and those of you who have tried to book somewhere to stay have probably realised that there is NOWHERE to stay as the BnB's have been booked up by clipper people for the last few weeks. There is however hotels in near by towns like Cobh, Carragline,
Douglas and Cork City which are all about 20 - 30 mins drive away, cars can be rented from Cork Airport which is again fairly close. John from the yacht club has put up an add in the local auctioneers to try and find a few holiday homes and JAMAICA has 1st dibs (thanks to mammy Moran) so I'll do my best to try and get a place for people who are on the boat because I
know you will all wanna jump off the boat and straight into a shower and warm bed, after a few pints of Guinness of course. But as I said, Crosshaven is small so I cant promise anything.
Apart from that, I wont be around for the next 3 weeks, I managed to get myself onto a yacht sailing from Florida to Spain and will be leaving tomorrow morning. I couldnt hack this life on land, showers every day, eating BBQ burgers every day, sleeping in warm bed, drinking cold beers in the sun. I much prefer life at 30 degrees, getting soaking wet every 5 mins, eating spam for dinner every day and smelling like diesel .... actually ... WTF am I thinking??? yeah, couldn't turn down a free sail across the Atlantic after I just spent my life savings sailing across the Pacific. So,I will be in touch when I get back sometime around the middle of June.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


The 6pm schedule reveals that JAMAICA Clipper are still in 1st position and now heading north with the rest of the fleet.
Western Australia's strategy going to the South early hasn't yet paid off although these are early days, however there move back to the north would suggest they maybe attempting to cut their looses.

New York have made a big move to the north over the last 12 hours and are now in a strong 2nd with JAMAICA. As we reported on Monday this race will see Hull & Humber and NY vying for top positions as they attempt to gain big points advantages over their close rivals.
Lets hope JAMAICA can beat them both to it!

Message from JB, JAMAICA now in 4th

At the latest schedule JAMAICA clipper are now in a vert respectable fourth after leading the fleet overnight. The jubiliation and tension that this stint at the front of the pack is clear from the messages on board, I'm sure you all, like me, are willing the boat along to a podium in Ireland.


To all those JAMAICA clipper crew descending on the village of Crosshave at the end of the month JB has asked that should you want copies of the boat photo's, now over 7 GB's worth, please bring CD's or USB sticks etc to take the pictures that you want. Cork will provde the best opportunity to do this as access to the boats in Liverpool will be limited.


Yesterday we spoke of the unmentionable F word. Not tempting fate we are still in that position but only just. Our 9pm to midnight watch saw calm seas & boat speeds down to 0 knots at times as Bob the Clipper just bobbed in the foggy stillness. Yes you guessed it F is for "Frustration". Yet it is the same for all the fleet. I am now on mother watch until 3am but spent most of it assisting on deck team. Like a scene from the film Karate kid, John "Mr Miyake" Brathwaite was urging "Yankee on, Yankee off. Windseeker on, Wind Seeker off" to try to eek every bit of boat speed to keep us ahead of our nearest rival Qing & the rest of the fleet. As the fog was just
lifting at 3am we could just see 5 other clippers' lights proving that there is still a very long way to go. We still have 41 miles to the 1st waypoint & 1,824m to Cork. Still, apparently Xmas in Cork is very beautiful! A new menu came on board in Nova Scotia and this evening's supper of cassoulet au saucisson was brilliant, providing enough wind to fill all our sails.


Another fantastic update from Nick and the team, it's great to get a real insight into what's going on onboard!

If anyone saw the clipper programme on TV last night please email and let me know what is was like! It would be great to post for more details about it on JAMAICA CLIPPER BLOG.


On board JAMAICA we don't want to mention the F word i.e."first" but we have just received the 1800 schedule & we are it! Now let's not get to carried away. There is only 10 miles separating the fleet & 1,841 miles to go but better to be here than bringing up the rear. After a frustrating yet beautiful day the schedule was met with a big cheer & applause by all the
crew members. The sea is calm, flat & there is very little wind on board Bob the Clipper. Great for a stable boat to ease the sea sick sufferers at start of Atlantic cross but frustrating for progress. Beautiful scene here with sea like a mirror, bright sun trying to break through & fog some 100m around the boat, it is sublimely tranquil. Frustration at 0 knots boat speed for
half an hour due to no wind but this frustration was lifted when Lisa brought up on deck not 1 but 2 home baked cakes, 1 lemon & 1 carrot. & guess what? The Boat started picking up speed. Tonight the menu is cassoulet au saucisson. Guaranteed to get the wind blowing & more propulsion.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

JAMAICAN BOB TEAM - news from the boat


Just finished my midnight to 3am watch & now on Mother watch. However as there is little demand for haute cuisine at 4am & having just cleaned the heads, I can take time off to update on our progress.The great news is that we are still in podium position, though there really is very little in it; better to be in front though. Spirits are excellent & every watch is doing their best to maintain this great progress. Following the battle with Hull & Humber yesterday when we were joint 1st with them we are pleased to report that we are 3rd yet they have slipped back....NOW BACK IN FIRST!. Not that we wish them harm but this is proof that we CAN out sail the team currentlyvying for overall 1st place in the race. Flat calm seas & bobbing about butthick fog over night has added a new dimension to the race. We now have apermanent radar watch for other ships & icebergs. However, fleet's slow progress due to light airs means we need more wind if we are to make Cork intime for all the parties which are planned. But with 1,896 miles to go thereis still plenty of time to make up.

Nick Jacobs posted by JG

Clipper 07-08 hits TV screens around the world

18 June 2008
The ten-part documentary series featuring Clipper 07-08 produced by Sunset +Vine I APP will be shown across the globe over the coming weeks bringing theunique story of the Clipper Race and the 400 crew taking part to millions ofviewers as the racing draws to a close in Liverpool. The character-drivenseries focuses on some of the people that have taken time out of theireveryday lives to take on the challenge of a lifetime sailing around theworld. Each of the half-hour programmes tells their amazing stories as theaction and drama of the 35,000-mile race unfolds. Sunset + Vine APP were commissioned by Clipper Ventures to produce the 10x 30-minute documentary programmes, using a combination of onboard footagefrom every yacht from every stage of the race, in-port material from all 14 stops around the world and helicopter / boat-to-boat footage at starts andfinishes.
Series Producer Adam Birley said: “The series transcends the boundaries ofsports programming by focusing the narrative on the diverse characterstaking part. The unique thing about the Clipper Race is that it is the only round the world race for non-professional sailors making it the sailing racethat is most accessible to a non-sailing television audience. For once,everyday people can watch sailing that means something to them, everydaypeople at sea dealing with the hardships of life on the ocean – the audience can actually put themselves in the characters’ shoes. This is a unique opportunity for a sport usually thought of as elitist.” Sky Sports in the UK will be showing the first programme of the series today(Weds 18 June) and tomorrow (Thursday 19 June) in the following slots:
Wednesday 18 June
Sky Sports Xtra – 1800 / 2300
Thursday 19 June Sky Sports Xtra – 0200
Sky Sports 3 – 0730 / 1200

Each of the ten programmes will be shown on a weekly basis in these regular slots. The series will be broadcast by a host of other stations around the world.Further schedule information will be published as soon as it is available.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

JAMAICA in 6th

JAMAICA neck & neck with Hull & Humber whilst westernaustralia2011.com goesout on a limb and heads south.

17 June 2008 The penultimate race of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race seriesgot underway yesterday with the fleet of ten internationally-backed yachtssetting off on their final ocean crossing from Sydney, Nova Scotia, at 1300local time (1600 GMT). It was an anxious start to the morning for the Race Team as the Clippercrews woke to a light breeze but, as the morning progressed, the wind filledin and by the time the yachts slipped their moorings at the Sydney MarineTerminal at midday it had strengthened to ten knots to allow a spectacularstart in beautiful conditions in the harbour. Ricky Chalmers, skipper of Durban 2010 and Beyond, the first boat over theRace 13 start line, says, “What a fantastic, exhilarating start to the race,It has really pumped up the crew for the race across the Atlantic to Cork,and was hopefully as spectacular and exciting for those watching as it wasfor us on the water.”

The exciting race start was followed by some close tactical racing as the teams headed out to sea, not least between Hull & Humber and JAMAICA who have both made a beeline for the safety turning mark at the bottom ofNewfoundland. Skipper of JAMAICA, Simon Bradley, says, “An exciting duel with Hull &Humber has been unfolding as the two of us slowly pulled ahead of the othereight teams. At one point we were close enough to have a conversation without raising our voices, not that we spoke to each other as weconcentrated on trimming our spinnakers. This close quarters action hascontinued into the night illuminated by an almost full moon and a sky fullof stars.” The tactical moves made by the teams in the next day or so will affect thefinal outcome of this race. The big question, as in most ocean racing, is doyou go for the shortest number of miles, or do you sail more miles to tryand get into better winds? Opting for the latter tactic and searching for a better wind angle byheading south is westernaustralia2011.com whose recent return to form makesthem a team to watch over the course of this final Atlantic crossing. Skipper of the WA team, Martin Silk, says, “As we strike out on a limb to the south, spinnaker flying by moonlight, this race is feeling good;crossing the start line we initially led the fleet until the wind eased,then lost a little before changing sails. Then we managed to snag a lobsterpot and Clive (Frost) had to go for a swim and clear it from the rudderstock. This put us a good mile behind the fleet but somehow we managed toget everything trimmed right and soared up to the front again. As the lastnavigation light vanishes to port, we hope our bad luck is over for thisrace and the Grand Banks will be kind tomorrow.” With a low pressure system due to come off of the North American coast inthe next couple of days the skippers and tacticians onboard will be lookingover their shoulders and trying to position themselves in the best place toget most advantage out of whatever it brings. Joff Bailey, Race Director, says, “Any teams that move south early shouldget a better wind angle when the low pressure system arrives but at whatcost in the short term? Going for the direct route will give some short termgains but when the low pressure system arrives you may find yourself withstrong headwinds. In the short term the teams are having a great sail inmoderate conditions but the forecast for later today is for fog and verylight winds.”

Meanwhile on board JAMAICA: JAMAIZING! What a difference a few days make. Having arrived in Sydney in a storm ,Race 13 started yesterday in bright sunshine & calm seas. We crossed thestart line in 9th position but quickly picked our way through the rest offleet. Our midnight schedule confirmed we were joint 1st. At 7am this morning we are still in front of pack though with 2,000 miles to go & only 4miles separating the fleet there is a long way to go. We are currentlyplaying cat & mouse with Hull & Humber. Bizarre that in a huge ocean we aresailing within 200m of each other. That helps us to gauge progress. However,we must not take eye off the rest of the fleet who are some 2-3 miles to theSouth West. Both JAMAICA & Hull & Humber have been flying light weight spinnakers for some 12 hours. We have been filming them and they us so it should make great footage for the Clipper TV series soon to be shown on Sky TV. Check out the Clipper web site for details of when this will be broadcast. At the crew briefing we saw the first episode which made fascinating TV. Our very own Doctor Claire Maloney has a starring role! Lets hope that we can maintain such good progress.


At the start of the penultimate race from Nova Scotia, the JAMAICA Clipper blog is delighted to report that JAMAICA is currently in 1ST place!

Penultimate race of Clipper 07-08 starts in Sydney, Nova Scotia 16 June 2008. The penultimate race of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race series is underway with the fleet of ten internationally-backed yachts setting off on their final ocean crossing from Sydney, Nova Scotia, at 1300 local time (1600 GMT). The 2080-mile race will take them across the North Atlantic to Cork, Ireland.
It was an anxious start to the morning for the Race Team as the Clipper crews woke to a light breeze but, as the morning progressed, the wind filled in and by the time the yachts slipped their moorings at the Sydney Marine Terminal at midday it had strengthened to ten knots to allow a spectacular start in beautiful conditions in the harbour.
Durban 2010 and Beyond was first across the start line in a tightly packed leading group.


Onboard JAMAICA they have taken a leading position to the north of the pack with Hull & Humber closely behind on their port quarter.

With the race as a whole now coming down to the wire Hull & Humber and New York will be the boats to watch in these final two races as they compete for victory in the overall series. The JAMAICA team have done a fantastic job to get ahead in these early stages.

We will of course be tracking their progress and providing analysis, reports, updates and insights on a daily basis for all the JCB (JAMAICA CLIPPER BLOG) fans.

Message from the boat

In glorious sunshine and flat seas, a complete contrast to the conditions we experienced on the way in, we crossed the start line for race 13 at 13:00, 17:00 UK time.
Next stop Cork Ireland in, we hope, 14 days where we look forward to meeting the many former crew members, family and friends who are coming over for our JAMAICA pre race end party. Following our excellent 4th place in the 250 Democracy race the whole crew is buoyed and focused on doing our very best as we set sail across the Atlantic with 2070 miles ahead of us. This was the first race in leg 7 when we were able to start the race within a harbour and the crowds were there to cheer off the 10 boats of the clipper fleet. We have been made truly welcome during our 3 day stay in this remote part of Atlantic Canada. So a final e mail to thank you all for your support before the mid Atlantic limits the messages we can send. With one very big love from the whole team on board JAMAICA

Nick Jacobs, posted by Jon G

Monday, 16 June 2008

Crews prepare for final ocean race of Clipper 07-08

16 June 2008
The Clipper crews are making last preparations today for their final ocean race of Clipper 07-08. They will set off from Sydney, Nova Scotia, today at 1300 local time (1700 GMT) for the transatlantic race to Cork, Ireland.
The fleet arrived in Sydney, Cape Breton Island, at the easternmost limit of the maritime province of Nova Scotia on Friday evening following the
200-mile race from Halifax. For the last six hours the yachts were buffeted by gale force winds, a reminder of the conditions they may well face during the Atlantic crossing to come.
The prizes for the Democracy 250 Cup, the race from Halifax to Sydney, were presented at Sydney Marine Terminal on Saturday by former Premiers of Nova Scotia, Dr John Hamm and Russell MacLellan, co-chairmen of Democracy 250, the organisation set up to celebrate 250 years since the establishment of Canada’s first parliamentary democracy. The province’s Tourism Minister, Bill Dooks, raced to Sydney with Nova Scotia whose crew invited him to sail with them during his visit to the yacht in New York.
Addressing the crews and residents of Sydney who had come to see the yachts, Mr MacLellan said, "Frankly, with those winds I would have wanted a minister with a little more theological training! I was talking to some of the crew yesterday and I asked them how they enjoyed the trip and there was no comment like, ‘I was scared senseless,’ or, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ It
was one-word answers like ‘challenging’ or ‘interesting’. These are special people and if I had my hat on I’d take it off to you. You are special people to be able to handle those seas because they were really something."
On Saturday Clipper Ventures Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston celebrated the 40th anniversary of the day he set off to set the record for the world’s first ever solo and non-stop circumnavigation. Sir Robin left Falmouth with his 32-foot Bermudan ketch Suhaili on 14 June 1968 and returned 312 days later on 22 April 1969 to become the first person to sail single handed and non-stop around the world.
Last year Sir Robin completed another solo circumnavigation at the age of 68 in the VELUX 5 OCEANS, this time in his Open 60 SAGA INSURANCE. Earlier this year Sir Robin was awarded the Yachting Journalist Association’s prestigious Yachtsman of the Year Award for an unprecedented third time in recognition of his achievements over the past 40 years.
In 1995, Sir Robin founded Clipper Ventures with businessman William Ward in order to give ordinary people the opportunity to sail around the world. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is now in its sixth edition, with approximately 400 people taking part in each race.

JAMAICA's AMBASSADOR DAN MONK also joined The crew of Nova Scotia and Sir Robin visited the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney on Saturday afternoon. The group toured the facilities at the residential centre including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, radar simulation suite and the largest bi-lingual maritime library in Canada. JAMAICA crew member and Royal National Lifeboat Institution volunteer from Devon in the UK, who presented College Principal Madame Susanne Drouin with an RNLI flag.
Upon presenting the flag following the tour, Dan said, "I’m proud to present this to the College on behalf of the RNLI. Like you, we have also lost lifeboat men over the years and I would like to present this in their honour."
Sir Robin, who delivered a speech to the students, said, "I’m very aware of how important good training is at sea. Hands-on experience is crucial and it is good to see that you are maintaining high standards here. Please keep up the good work but I hope that I never have to call on your professional services."
The Clipper 07-08 fleet will set off on Race 13 from Nova Scotia to Cork, Ireland, on Monday 16 June and is due to arrive at the Royal Cork Yacht Club on 30 June.
It's now Sunday 15th June.

A very happy Father's Day to all those Dads outthere and greetings from Sydney, Nova Scotia. It's now time for reflection upon the Democracy 250 race from Halifax toSydney and the magnificent news that JAMAICA finished 4th. Now let's just put this into perspective: True this was a race within a race which means the positions don't counttowards the overall race points. However, don't for one moment think thiswas not competitive. Every single team wanted to win. We set sail from Halifax in relatively light airs. In typical JAMAICA fashion we hadn't really got our act together by the time the race started and thus crossed the line in 9th. However, some magnificent helming by Katie "Schumacher" Hearsum and greattrimming from the rest of the crew saw us outsail every single boat and moveup into 4th place.

Not only did we achieve that but successive watches managed to maintain theposition to cross the finish line on the approach to Sydney in the mosthorrendous, rough and windy conditions. At one point an "all hands on deck call" saw us hastily but above all safelybring down a Yankee 1 sail as waves were crashing over the bow as the boatwas roller coastering up and down the waves. A fantastic team performance made all the more impressive by many crew members suffering from the dreaded sea sickness. This is a truly wonderful group of people. So to finish 4th in spite of those conditions shows what an achievement thishas been. 4th is not only the best position team JAMAICA has achieved (5th was previously the best on this 2007-2008 voyage) but it is also the best performance this boat has achieved. I'll explain : In 2006-2007 this boat first circumnavigated the globe under the colours of JERSEY. In the whole of that race 6th was the best position for her. So to have sailed within a whisker of a podium position is credit to a crewwhich refuses to give up. And so to the next race, the crossing of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. For the Round the Worlders this will be the 3rd time they will have crossed the Atlantic having done so previously from La Rochelle to Salvador, Brazil and then from Salvador to Durban. Their experience will be invaluable. For the leggers, this will be a whole new, and somewhat daunting,experience. Indeed for some, including RNLI lifeboat volunteer Dan Garnett,crossing an ocean will fulfil the ambition of a lifetime. The crew briefing will take place at 1pm local time today. It will outlineroutings, weather forecasts and the very real obstacles of icebergs whichwill need to be avoided, yes, really icebergs! There will also be a sneak preview of a series of episodes which will beshown on satellite TV in the near future, documenting the 07-08 Clipper race. A great momento for the crew members and an insight into the race forall those loved ones back home of life on board. So onwards and upwards for the crew of the good ship JAMAICA under theexpert tutelage of skipper Simon Bradley. Here's praying for a safe and enjoyable passage and maybe, just maybe, a further improvement up the rankings.

Nick Jacobs postwed by JG

Message from JB

Hello from Bonnie Nova Scotia,

What a lovely place. After travelling round the world and arriving in ports as diverse and intense as New York, Salvador and Qingdao Halifax gets the prize for the most welcoming, calm and enthusiastic of the race. The stereotype of all people Canadian being polite and happy types is well found. We were greeted in the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron at 3am with a barbeque and beer after which we had a little kip. But only until 9am when they served us breakfast prior to us setting sail again for a parade of sail into the city of Halifax (just a short 1 hour motor round the headland). After parading up and down the river we were whisked away from the yachts to a short prize giving followed by a clam chowder welcome meal where we had to vote for the best chowder. The corn chowder won hands down, it had no clams but tasted great?!?! From there the evening was ended with a tour Mr Keith's Brewery which had been in operation since 1820, where they gave us free beer - God bless the people of Nova Scotia!

Ok, enough about the hospitality of the people of Nova Scotia, this is a yacht race not a year long holiday (honest!) Well it wasn't a great race for us, 10th isn't a happy place to be. Even though we are last in the overall standings we have only finished 10th in one of the previous races and in the recently we have been much more competitive. We had a good start in this race and were doing well. I think we then had a combination of a tired crew and unlucky decisions cause us to slip down the fleet on a few occasions. I know that I was exhausted following the the 3 short stopovers in Panama, Jamaica and New York and the close races between them. Well the race is done now and we're using this stopover to recoup and be in the best position to achieve a podium in one of the last 2 races now.

Which leads me back to the fantastic people of Nova Scotia. Today we were taken on a tour of the local area (followed by the APP production team who are making the documentary series of the race) to see a picturesque lighthouse at Peggy's Cove and then to the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal rise anywhere in the world and our trip was to take a rib ride over the rapids caused as the tide comes in over sand bars creating 6ft waves that the ribs can surf, or slam into, whichever the driver desires. So, what do you do on a day off from a round the world yacht race? Go get soaking wet in a rib for 2 hours! It was like doing 3 headsail changes on the trot, although the change of clothes, hot showers and hot chocolate supplied afterwards was as far away from being on the yacht as you can get - a welcome change.

We're off to Sydney on the north of the peninsular of Nova Scotia on Thursday, they have a lot to live up to based on the welcome here, but I have the feeling it'll be just as warm.

One Love


Hull & Humber wins Democracy 250 Race & Jamaica are 4th !!

13 June 2008
Hull & Humber has claimed victory in the Democracy 250 Race from Halifax to
Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The Clipper fleet was tightly
bunched overnight and all ten of the yachts crossed the finish line within
three and a half hours of each other. Hull & Humber was just 47 seconds ahead of second placed westernaustralia2011.com and 19 minutes ahead of third placed Liverpool 08.
The home favourite in the 200-mile race between the two ports, Nova Scotia,
with the province’s Tourism Minister, Bill Dooks, on board, finished in sixth place. The race does not carry points towards the Clipper 07-08 Race title.
All ten of the internationally-backed yachts are now in Sydney, berthed at the Marine Terminal, where they will stay until the start of the penultimate race of Clipper 07-08 on Monday. A busy programme of events is planned for the crews, starting this evening with a hot meal and music for the crews who have endured a rude return to cold water sailing following the last months
in warmer climes. The official welcome ceremony and prize giving will take place tomorrow.
On the dock to meet the crews was Clipper Race founder and legendary sailor,
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Saturday 14 June will be the fortieth anniversary of Sir Robin’s departure from Falmouth on his record breaking voyage in Suhaili. 312 days later he became the first man to have sailed solo andnon-stop around the world.

The finishing times (all GMT) for the Democracy 250 Race are:
1. Hull & Humber: 12:35:43
2. westernaustralia2011.com: 12:36:15
3. Liverpool 08: 12:54:01
4. Jamaica: 13:36:28
5. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper: 13:48:54
6. Nova Scotia: 14:08:19
7. Qingdao: 14:27:48
8. Durban 2010 and Beyond: 14:43:00
9. New York: 15:56:58
Uniquely Singapore retired due to rule infringement.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

The democracy 250 race.

Thursday 12th June, 13.30, (17.30 UK) and we have just left Halifax for the short Democracy 250 race to Sydney to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Democratic Government in Nova Scotia, the oldest democracy in North America.
The good people of Halifax have fully embraced the arrival of the 10 Clippers in their City and have made us hugely welcome, putting on a series of events and welcome parties. Halifax is a lovely City which, for 2 out of the 4 days we were there, was shrouded in fog and mist. Apparently that type of weather is quite normal for the area. The City has a mix of chocolate box type wooden slat painted houses and concrete port buildings of her industrial quarter.
Her residents must be some of the most polite people we have ever met. We were indeed treated royally. And so on to Sydney where we are promised similar wonderful hospitality.
Currently we are making 6 knots in very light airs and are gaining on our fellow competitors. I'd like to suggest our current watch of 'haircut 100' Jon B, Katie, Dan and myself are rushed off our feet but the contrary is honestly the case. This is one of those "single tack, little wind and little
to trim" moments, hence my being able to write a piece for the site in the cool sushine of the afternoon, whilst still just in sight of land so that the e mail can be sent. Life is very peaceful aboard JAMAICA currently. So in roughly 36 hours we should be in Sydney, ahead of two and a half days before the start of our Atlantic crossing to Cork, a journey expected to take 14 days. It will be our penultimate chance to win a pennant for our team.
If you're so inclined please say a few words to Neptune and see if he can smile favourably on the Rasta Rocket. That way we'll arrive in Cork in good time to meet with past crew members, family and friends for a JAMAICA party which has been organised by fellow crew member and Irish dynamo Mick Moran.
Another hard day at the office .....

Posted by JG

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A right stitch up!

Now I most profess that stitching was a big part of my 2 legs aboard JAMAICA. JB and I spent many hours stitching things on the mast and Lucy Mayo, Neil 'Whipman' Bone and I were often seen stropping together of a quiet moment.
However I've never seen such a 'stitch-up' as that ofj JB by fellow crew mates Lucy Jones and Lisa Gill who have kindly sent in the following picture of JB in Halifax. A prize to the person who can name the best haircut for our lovable watchleader, I think it has slight throwbacks to the 1930's, what what?!

And it wouldn't be fair if I didn't do the same for Lisa on JB's behalf!


Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The best of JAMAICA Clipper

The good ship JAMAICA and her crew looking at their best

Spinnaker up and sailing down-wind
Pink flowers in JAMAICA, matching the new JAMAICA team shirts

Monday, 9 June 2008

Nova Scotia leads Clipper 07-08 fleet into Halifax

Nova Scotia led the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race fleet into Halifax yesterday at the start of an eight-day stopover in the province.
They were welcomed by crowds lining Halifax Waterfront and the iconic Canadian figure of a Mountie – a member of Canada’s Royal Mounted Police Force. The fleet sailed in formation, past George’s Island and Dartmouth before arriving at Cable Wharf at Halifax Waterfront, where they will be berthed for the next four days.
Among the welcoming party was Nova Scotia’s Minister of Immigration, the Honourable Len Goucher, who was instrumental in bringing the fleet to the Province. At the official welcome and prize giving ceremony the Minister said, "I want my Nova Scotia crew to know that I was Minister of Tourism when this all started and we’re very proud to have you all here and very
proud to have the province involved in all this. When I saw the Nova Scotia pull into the pier today my heart went about this big so it’s just great and I want to say how appreciative we are of everything you’ve done. Welcome and thank you for making Nova Scotia and myself and everybody else here so proud.
"On behalf of the Government of Nova Scotia I’d like to just take a moment to welcome you all to Nova Scotia and hope you enjoy your stay with us and enjoy all Nova Scotia has to offer.
"The spirit of the race perfectly captures the spirit of our province it’s a great opportunity to promote and boost Nova Scotia around the world. Along with our partners we’re very pleased to host the Clipper 07-08 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race here in Halifax and later this week in Sydney. And to all the crews, families and friends visiting us here today, I hope you enjoy
the time here in Nova Scotia and take time to experience all the wonderful things and beautiful scenery this Province has to offer."
Overnight the fleet arrived at Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, where they were welcomed with cold beers and hot food at the end of Race 12 from New York.
During the stopover the ten internationally-backed yachts competing in Clipper 07-08 will take part in the Democracy 250 Race from Halifax to Sydney, one of a number of events to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of democracy in the Province. The teams will set off from Halifax Waterfront at 8.00am local time (1100 GMT) on Thursday and will arrive in Sydney on Friday evening. They will set off from Sydney on their final Atlantic crossing on Monday 16 June.
During the eight days the crews will spend in Nova Scotia they will be treated to the hospitality for which the Province is famed. No sooner had they arrived and attended the welcome ceremony and prize giving than they were whisked off to be served chowder cooked by some of the best chefs in Halifax, followed by a tour of Keith’s Brewery, a reception at the Red Stag
Bar followed by more partying at the Lower Deck. On Wednesday crews will enjoy a guided tour of Halifax.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race was founded by legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world. Speaking at the welcome ceremony yesterday, Sir Robin said, "Thanks so much for a fabulous welcome for Clipper and particularly our crews to your lovely port of Halifax. I love this waterfront. I’ve only been here
once before, two years ago when I hit a whale and thought I’d better come in and do something about it. I know we are going to have a great time here."

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Message from the boat as they approach Nova Scotia

Fantastic to have such a detailed report of race 12 from Nick. Today's email gives you a real feeling of life on board, the highs and lows and that sometimes there is no rythmn nor reason for what happens out on the water. This for me was one of the most difficult things to cope with, human natures makes us want to analyse what went wrong. At sea a whole combination of factors effecting you and the other boats all add together to give the results they do. The most important thing is the relationships that are formed and the happiness and safety of the boat and as Nick says the JAMAICA boat leads the way in these fields!

First, apologies to all readers that we have not been able to send daily messages. We have had a communications problem on the good ship JAMAICA which has meant we have neither been able to receive nor send.

This has been an eventful race to say the least. We left NY one person down as Claire Maloney was flying back to Blighty for her brother's wedding. We look forward to her rejoining us in Nova Scotia. We set sail from New York on Wednesday morning having been told the day before that the forecast was for a super speedy sail North East to Halifax, probably to arrive Friday evening. How wrong could that forecast have been. The race was due to start at midday but the leg 7 jinx hit again as calm winds meant we had to motor further than expected and a new race start was convened for 5pm.

The Le Mans start saw JAMAICA pull away in 3rd then move to 2nd and 1st as other boats of the fleet actually had swung 180 degrees and were sailing backwards, so fickle was the wind. As you probably know by now that wonderful start has come to nought as we've just finished in - er - 10th. Sounds better than "last" but only marginally. We went from no winds to strong winds and high seas with the wind on our nose as opposed to the "winds up the chuff" (apparently a nautical term) that had been predicted at our race briefing. Wednesday morning saw the bright sunshine we had had for our short 48 hour stopover in New York exchanged for thick fog. It meant the photo shoots in front of the Statue of Liberty had to be cancelled. Indeed fog has been prevalent for much of this race. A first for me and really eerie that we have been sailing literally into the unknown. We left New York without having filled our fuel tanks as were the instructions for the whole fleet. Having made very slow progress we would have expected the race to have been called earlier so we could motor into Halifax for the scheduled arrival time of the early hours of Saturday morning so as to be in time for a Saturday afternoon planned welcome. Well it's now 4.30 pm on Saturday and we still have 12 hours to go before our new ETA ...... That is if our fuel holds out. The race committee asked us all to confirm our fuel stocks before they shortened the race. Scraping every last drop out of all tanks and jerry cans we calculated we have 250 litres. Our capacity is 1680 litres. It's going to be touch and go if the fuel lasts until Halifax so we are motoring very very gingerly indeed.

So what happened in this race for us to drop from 1st (albeit briefly) to not-quite-1st ? Very difficult for us to say. It appears that at some stage / stages we took a wrong turn. You can't believe how difficult it is to see the mid Atlantic sign posts in dense fog. There were also boats who made potentially risky tactical decisions which paid off : for instance Western Australia who went from 10th to 1st by sailing right over the shallow George Shoals when we sailed around them. Well we have a saying on board JAMAICA that safety never takes a day off so most definitely better to be safe not sorry, as I am sure all of you loved ones will be delighted to hear. In spite of our not terribly great performance morale on board remains good although obviously we are disappointed. We have proved we can sail as good as the best but this was not to be our race. As a fresh faced legger who joined in Jamaica it is clear that there are a number of people on board who are so tired they are counting the days to 5th July. That does not mean they commit anything less than 100%. On the contrary the effort is immense. However, having been on board for just a couple of weeks I already feel jaded so my fellow crew members who have been on many legs or indeed almost around the whole globe have got to be absolutely knackered (another nautical term I understand). Old hands or new hands regardless, there would be nothing that would make us prouder than to get a podium place to show our appreciation for all the magnificent support we have been shown by you all. We really must have the best supporters of the whole fleet. There's nothing better than to arrive in port to see so many JAMAICA shirts. Absolutely brilliant.

The shortened stopovers and corporate and PR tasks we have to carry out during those oh so short times on shore make recharging batteries almost impossible. In Simon we have a wonderful skipper who is trying so hard to be super human. Although he generally succeeds in this objective - as confirmed by his wearing his Y fronts over his trousers - he is fatigued to the core. His aim in Halifax is to lock himself away in a hotel room for a day or two seeing no-one other than room service. I hope land based duties give him the time to do that. A very lonely job this being a skipper.

Before I sign off I must stress the thoughts expressed above are purely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of either our crew or indeed Clipper Ventures. Indeed we receive a paucity of information on board so you will probably know more about this race and the tactics of other boats than we do. And so to Nova Scotia where we are due to arrive in the wee small hours of Sunday morning (a time of the day which henceforth will always be known by me as "Clipper Time" as it appears this is the only time of the day when we are allowed to arrive in port!).

We will arrive at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (don't you know!?) at around 4am to be met by beer and breakfast. No doubt, after 4 long days at sea it'll be 1 beer then sleepytime. We are told immigration will take until midday. We will then sail in formation to the Marina in Halifax which will be our home for the next 4 days. The good people of Nova Scotia have prepared a full schedule of events for almost every hour of our stay in Halifax. I just hope our combined tiredness doesn't prevent us from collectively returning their generous hospitality. Thursday we sail to Sydney, NS, where we arrive on Friday with more corporate events and parties organised. Then to Monday and the start of Race 13, the Atlantic crossing to Cork when we will arrive first, yes we will, you know we will. Well, as long as we arrive safely and happily it will have been a successful voyage. Finally, I'll leave you with the one word which describes this race : "relentless".

One great big huge love to you all, Nick

Posted by Jon Gibbard

Saturday, 7 June 2008

westernaustralia2011.com wins Race 12

westernaustralia2011.com has won Race 12 from New York to Nova Scotia in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race. Glasgow: Scotland with styleClipper finished in second place, earning them a sixth appearance on thepodium in this edition of the biennial race. Qingdao maintained their recentconsistent good form to take third place. Clipper 07-08 Race Director, Joff Bailey, says, “The crews have worked hardfor the last few weeks in frustrating conditions and had a whistlestop visitto New York where there was a packed corporate programme. In Nova Scotiathey will be able to relax and enjoy what will be a great welcome in Halifaxand Sydney. The province is renowned for its hospitality and I know theywill be very well taken care of here. Following the welcome and prizegivingthere are several events, including a tour of Alexander Keith’s brewery andparties at the Red Stag Inn and Lower Deck. Some of the best chefs inHalifax are going to compete to cook them the best chowder as well. And that’s just the first day!” The yachts are expected to arrive between 0100 and 0600 local time(0400-0900 GMT) at Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron where they will completeimmigration formalities and refuel before leaving for the formal arrival atHalifax Waterfront. The boats will gather just off Point Pleasant to position themselves for theparade of sail which begin at 1400 local time (1700 GMT) and take them pastGeorge’s Island, Dartmouth, MacDonald Bridge and Halifax Waterfront, beforemooring at Cable Wharf, where they will be based until Thursday 12 June. Thebest locations to view the fleet include Point Pleasant Park and the HalifaxWaterfront boardwalk from the Cruise Ship Dock to Cable Wharf.

Countdown to conclusion of Race 12 underway

The ten crews taking part in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Raceare trying to squeeze out every last little bit of boat speed on Fridaynight as Race 12 from New York to Halifax draws to a conclusion. Earliertoday the Race Committee informed the fleet that it will be using FinishGate 1 as the finish line approximately 100 miles from the leading boats’current positions. If they do not reach the gate by 1200 GMT on 7 June, therace will finish at that time and finish positions will be calculatedaccording to each yacht’s distance to the finish. Clipper Race Director Joff Bailey said: “Earlier today we informed the fleetthat we will be using Finish Gate 1, a gate detailed in the sailinginstructions that is located in an offshore position, due to the conditionsthe fleet is experiencing. Light airs and fog have hampered the teams’progress, and due to a busy programme of events for the crews in NovaScotia, it was decided to use the offshore finish gate rather than theinshore gate located 100 miles further north.” Earlier on Saturday, skippers reported limited visibility as they made theirway towards Halifax in painstakingly light airs. “Still appalling visibilitybut every time it clears we find ourselves within spitting distance of theother boats. All exciting stuff playing dodgems with blindfolds on!” saysQingdao skipper, Marcus Cholerton-Brown.

Meanwhile on board JAMAICA Frustration for Nick & JAMAICA Clipper Blog readers as his E Mail system is down but he has managed to send a very brief message this a.m. via John Braithwaite: I am using John's mail as mine is down. The boat mail system has been downfrom New York then when eventually it came back yesterday, I sent a long message to the blog site but it bounced back today. I have had to deactivemy account for 24 hours. Will probably be in Nova Scotia by then so I willsend a long mail from there. It has been a frustrating race. The start wasdelayed due to light wind then when we did start the wind was so light thatsome boats went backwards! Good start for JAMAICA - 3rd then 2nd. However,in rough weather we dropped to 10th place. Now very little wind. Four hoursto the finish line then we will motor to Nova Scotia to arrive on Sunday.

From JAMAICA Blog readers: We would just like to say a huge thank you to the JAMAICA crew for all theirefforts in the most difficult of conditions. A special thank you thismorning to John for allowing Nick to use his E Mail account to send info to the JAMAICA Blog - what team work !!. We do appreciate how valuable thesevery limited E mail accounts are when they are the only connection to family& friends so THANK YOU JOHN. GO JAMAICA !

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Jamaica 9th

JAMAICA in 9th as the boats head north and with only 12 miles splitting the whole fleet there's all to play for with 400 miles to go to Nova Scotia.

I'm sure the crew of JAMAICA will be 'bouyed' from there success in the last leg and although JAMAICA are good friends with the Nova Scotia crew I'm sure they'll be wanting to see them come in a close 2nd behind JAMMA!

As you can see from the weather charts below the teams should be beating into a 15 knot head wind, this should allow them to use full mains and no 1 yankees but this will make life onboard fairly uncomfortable as there will be a good 20 degrees of heel!
Hopefully we'll hear from the crews shortly how life onboard is on this short sprint north!




Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Race 11 Photos

JB Trimming on Race 11
Glasgow: Scotland with style to leeward


09:30 (13:30 UK) and we are motoring up the Hudson River to assemble near to the starting point of our race to Nova Scotia, which will be the Ambroselighthouse.

JAMAICA has been drawn in 1st place for the Le Mans start. Inreality this doesn't give us an advantage but we'll take every omen we can! Also as we slipped from the North Cove marina at 08:00 we were the last boatto leave. As the good book says "The last shall be first" so let's hope The Good Lord shines on the Rasta Rocket. If He does He'll be the only one shining this morning. After 2 days of bright sunshine in NY the overnight downpours have left a very foggy morning. The fleet photo calls in front of the Statue of Liberty have had to be aborted. Indeed fog is forecast for much of this short leg so a vigilant look out will have to be kept at all time.
Simon has briefed us and explained that the forecast if for winds of 20knots to the beam. Apparently that means approx 20 mph blowing from the side of the boat to you non sailors like me. It should lead to a fast race North. However we've just been told the wind will be highly variable ie changing direction constantly so that will be challenging. If the wind does blow we should make Halifax in just under 3 days so it could be late Friday night / Saturday morning when we arrive ..... Which will fit nicely in to the Clipper tradition of ensuring that the crews arrive in the middle of the night when there's sod all open! Which is exactly how we arrived in NY.
We arrived at 03:00 Monday morning and were told that we could not leave theMarina before immigration proceedings at 12:00. Given we knew we would be leaving again in under 48 hours this was a source of huge frustration. In fact we only were processed at 2pm so that really curtailed our already short stay.
The Jamaica Tourist Board asked us to attend a promotional street party at 4pm on Monday before the Race awards at 6pm so Monday was written off with Clipper and associated tasks. I should make mention of the street party where various acts came on stageto entertain the punters.
One who deserves mention was the Jew Maican - the only Jewish Jamaican rapper. No expense spared then. Yesterday (Tuesday) we had a corporate sail for the Jamaican Tourist Board when we sailed into the Hudson River for a photo call in front of the Statue of Liberty. With such a short stopover these events can be a burden however in the bright sunshine and having the pleasure of 12 happy Jamaicans onboard we had a great time. We were accompanied by the Jamaican Minister for Tourism who had come to NY especially, having seen is off from Port Antonio. Resplendent in his Jamaica Clipper shocking pink tee shirt he reminded me of those wonderful pictures of Nelson Mandela wearing a Springbok rugby shirt when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup. Could you ever imagine a UK Minister similarly dressed? I don't think so! That's typical of the wonderful Jamaicans we have met and they are getting more and more involved as this race proceeds. Having been the last sponsor to sign up to this race they now see the benefit to begained by this global race and are fully committed to it. We also had the honour of the Lady Director General for the JTB and also Sir Robin Knox Johnston, head of Clipper Ventures and probably the most famous yachtsman in the World. With such dignitaries supporting us we can hope for a smooth passage to Halifax. In conversation with Sir Robin he said that he and Clipper Ventures believe we are the happiest crew of the fleet. Robin doesn't suffer fools gladly and would not have said that if he didn't truly believe it. A great accolade for Skipper Simon and the way he runs his ship.
On a personal note I had a wonderful surprise when my sister and brother inlaw surprised me on the quayside. I had no idea they were coming to NY so inthe short half day I had off we had a great time catching up. And so, as we pass under the Verazano bridge I shall sign off before I lose signal. Back to the abbreviated boat based e mails for the next 3 days as we head North hopefully amongst the leaders of this race. On behalf of the whole crew sincere thanks for all of your support. Nick the cabin boy.

Thanks Nick for that splendiforous report.


Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Clipper teams tuck into the Big Apple

The ten-strong Clipper fleet was moored up in Lower Manhattan’s North Cove
Marina on Monday after arriving overnight at the end of Race 11 from Port
Antonio, Jamaica.
After just a few hours in the city, crews gathered at the marina for the prize giving party for Race 12. Commodore of the Manhattan Sailing Club Michael Fortenbaugh said: "I would like to welcome the Clipper sailors here to North Cove. It’s a great thrill for us to have you all here."
New York Sports Commissioner Kenneth Podziba, who presented commemorative
plaques to each of the ten skippers on behalf of the Mayor of New York, also awarded the top three yachts with their pennants for Race 11. He said he was particularly proud to hand the winners’ pennant to the New York crew.

The JAMAICAN team, buoyed by their recent stopover in Port Antonio, was keen to catch up on some Jamaican culture on Monday and headed for the Jamaica Day celebrations at South Street Seaport. Simon Bradley and his team enjoyed some Jamaican music and food to remind them of their recent visit to their home port.

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Berths are now available for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race.
Those interested in participating in the world’s only round the yacht race
for non-professionals can find out more by contacting Clipper Ventures on
+44 (0) 2392 526000 or email oceanracer@clipperroundtheworld.com

Ship shape

Once again on JAMAICA we are cleaning… We’ve scrubbed the floor boards out on deck, cleaned the heads, emptied all cupboards in the galley and attacked the dirt. We’ve pumped the bilges then scrubbed them too, waded through kit in the sleeping area and drowned any germs in anti-bac. The saloon lockers have been dried, cleaned and foodstores re-bagged and recorded on the inventory. Who’s to say life on the open sea isn’t all glamour?!

JB, Chris and Lucy pictured here on the way into NY cleaning the boards from the saloon.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Fleet arrive in NY

The ten-strong fleet competing in the Clipper 07-08 Race has arrived in NewYork at the end of Race 11 of the 35,000 mile race around the world.
The fleet of internationally-sponsored racing yachts will be berthed atLower Manhattan’s North Cove Marina, Battery Park City, for the duration ofthe three-day stopover. The marina has a webcam for those wishing to see the boats once they have arrived in the ‘Big Apple’ which can be viewed at http://www.thenorthcove.com/ .

Upon arrival the crews will have a busy couple of days getting their boats prepared for the next race to Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is scheduled tostart on Wednesday 4 June. Prize Giving for Race 11 will take place next tothe boats at North Cove Marina this evening at 18:00.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Well done JAMAICA

Congratulations to the JAMAICA clipper team on an excellent 6th place result. We are really proud of you.

Thanks to Bruce Braithewaite for providing this picture of the team on there departure from JAMAICA.

Whilst in JAMAICA the support crew and leg 7 crew were treated to a restful and relaxed time. We made lots of friends but I would like to extend a special JAMAICA clipper thanks to the following: Wayne the coach driver for taking us around Port Antio and making sure we were always smiling and had a drink in our hands.

The Jamaica Palace Hotel, our excellent hosts for the duration, Garfield and the other waiters made sure we were well looked after.

The Mocking Bird hotel, for throwing us a drinks party with the JAMAICAN tourist board! Dan kindly presented the JTB with an RNLI flag and card signed by the leg 7 crew.

Finally I'd like to thank Woody's restaurant where we had 3 excellent meals (4 if you include Nick's romantic dinner with Karen ;-) ). They looked after us very well!

Quotes of the week that will last with me for a long time:

Nick & Jon causing trouble - 'I think we got away with that' & Jon, Dan and Nick's early morning runs, yes it was a little hot!

The kind hostess at Woody's who announced the menu with such gusto - 'For starters we have Jamaican vegetable soup, made with alllllllllll vegetables................., no meat'

The crazy hostess at the marina - Lucy M: 'What's in the Jamaican salad?' Waitress: 'tomatoes.........etc' Lucy: 'Anything else?' Waitress 'Salad etc...........(then pushed for more details)....all the colours of Jamaica' Lucy: 'so there are pepper?' Waitress (little uncertain)....'yes'. Understandably Lucy didn't have the salad.


Jon G

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Historic win as New York romps to victory into home port - 31 May 2008

Breaking what has been referred to as the ‘home port curse’, skipper DuggieGillespie and his team have achieved an historic victory by winning into NewYork at the end of the 1,420-mile race from Jamaica of the Clipper 07-08Round the World Yacht Race.This elusive accolade of a home port win has only been achieved once beforein the history of the biennial round the world race, by Canadian entryVictoria Clipper, in Clipper 05-06.


There is a mixture of pride & disappointment onboard JAMAICA as we have tosettle for 6th place. Having been 3rd for much of this race there is a sense of what could have been. However this crew has been excellent, have tried so hard & yet fell back at the final hurdle when a poor spinnaker drop lost us time. Would we have finished higher with out that ? Probably. Would we have achieved a podium finish ? Unlikely. Racing is like that. But what we do know is everyone tried oh so hard. We know we can keep up with the best ande ven out sail them so we have confidence for the next race. Before then we have 2 days' motoring to arrive in New York late Sunday /early Monday. Time for reflection before another reduced stopover. With corporate sails on Monday & Tuesday & the race start early Wednesday there is little time for relaxation but we will be ready for better things for the next race.

From Nick Jacobs posted by Jon Gibbard

Friday, 30 May 2008


It is 08:45 on Friday 30th May (14:45 UK time) and we have just received the news that the race will end at 23:00 UK time tonight. Currently we are in 5th position though little separates the fleet. The Sea is calm & wind low though rising so every little helps. Forget the "off" watch this is serious! Glasgow is in our sights. Please may the Rasta Rocket succeed !!!


Nick Jacobs posted by Jon Gibbard

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Dr Clare's Blog

27 May 2008 - Dr Clare's Blog

You can feel the excitement in the air on JAMAICA. It’s day three of sailing and we are up there at the front of the fleet. We’ve never sailed so close to the other Clippers before, other than at race starts. Both Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper and Qingdao are just in front of us, New York are so close to starboard we can read their branding, and just a few miles behind us are the white sails of Hull & Humber and westernaustralia2011.com.
Yesterday, we managed to overtake Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper. It took us a good few hours of just steadily creeping up towards them, and we spent a fair while maintaining a parallel course to them, but eventually our perseverance paid off and we managed to slip past them on the windward side. Obviously Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper just saw it as a challenge, bore away for a while and now we’re chasing them again, but it was good while it lasted!
Being so close to the other yachts means we can all see each other’s sail plans. As soon as one boat shakes out a reef the others follow. One boat does a headsail change and immediately the rest of us are up there on the foredeck changing the yankee. Like the most devoted followers of fashion, we’d ideally like to lead the way, but certainly don’t want to be the last to join the new trend.
The stopover in JAMAICA was sadly much shorter than planned, but most of our new crew joining us there flew out on the original dates anyway. It’s seemed to really help the dynamics, as they’re all now rested after their holiday and have bonded over JAMAICAN rum, rafting down the Rio Grande and drinking more JAMAICAN rum, from what I can work out! We’ve inherited a relaxed, happy and enthusiastic new crew and the rest of us are picking up the vibes.
You know by now what this Clipper racing business is like, and how difficult it will be for us to keep up with the likes of Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, New York and Hull & Humber. But you know what: we’ll give it our very best shot!


The JAMAICA Clipper support team, including new crew members, took their responsibilities very seriously. As the crew were only in port for a short period we started the party early with a sociable lunch at the beach bar, followed by team trips to the Reach Falls, Rio Grande rafting and the Blue Mountains. The crew did get time to recharge their batteries, and the awards party, sponsored by Red Stripe, was drunk (temporarily) dry by 6.45pm. Perhaps the British troops based at the adjacent JDF base may have had something to do with it?

JAMAICA were summoned to the stage and made sure everyone present understood that this trip is about the experience, the friends you make and the great times you have at sea and on shore, and they are definitely top of the league table on this scale!!!

The fleet was waved off from the quayside, then the beach, then from the balcony of the start line lighthouse, with huge JAMAICA flags and much enthusiasm, and the crew saw them and waved back as they sailed for New York.


Here in the Atlantic mill pond with the lightest of winds shifting 360 degrees we are teasing every little inch out of JAMAICA. Amazing that in this vast ocean we are still sailing within 1 mile of Liverpool & Western Australia. At mid-day today (Thursday 29th May) with 574 miles to go & currently travelling at just 2 knots per hour it would take 12 days to get to New York & with corporate sails scheduled for Monday surely the Race
Committee will call this race soon. We therefore have to do everything now to pull ahead. Fighting for 3rd but next schedule at 1pm (18:00uk) will be eagerly awaited. Have tried to move all possible weight to low side to catch as much air as possible so after a yummy lunch of baked potatoes & tuna mayo only the starboard heads are to be used! Bright sunshine and calm seas are great for sea sickness but very difficult for racing. All You JAMAICA supporters please say a little prayer for us!

Nick Jacobs posted by Jon Gibbard


Slow, slow, Quick Quick Slow: that's the order for today as very light winds have bunched fleet close together. But JAMAICA are holdng their own in 3rd.
Boat speeds down to 4-5s though we were closer to 0 when wind direction changed & a flurry of activity across the fleet saw all us put up spinnakers
then back down again. Now back to wind seeker & keeping abreast of the best.
Tactics are to closely follow others & sail the shortest distance to New York. Great team work for sail changes, excell helming & vigilant trimming helping us make such good progress. Winds forcast is to stay light so much of the same for the next few days maybe more. Still Xmas in New York is said to be beautiful! Let no-one doubt are commitment to win: there do appear to be naturally faster boats than ours but we have 6 other Clipps insight & are still amongst the leaders.

Nick Jacob posted by Jon Gibbard

The Race returns to the North Atlantic

Overnight the fleet has cleared the Bahamian islands and the ten teams nowfind themselves out in open waters once more.
Race Director, Joff Bailey, says, “With the whole fleet now back into theNorth Atlantic and making great speeds, it will not be long before they allarrive in the ‘Big Apple’. At this rate of progress we are expecting thefirst boats to arrive in North Cove Marina, Manhattan, over the weekendafter crossing the Race 11 finish line which is situated at the famousAmbrose light house.”Qingdao and Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper are still battling at thefront to gain the upper hand in near perfect fast reaching conditions.

Meanwhile on board JAMAICA:

FRUSTRATION ABOARD JAMAICA. 02:00 (08:00 uk) Wed 28th May.Having held 3rd position for most of race we have just been over taken byNew York. Though 4th position is still very good. Our goal is to haul in NewYork, Glasgow & Qingdao who are 1-2 miles ahead and fend off Hull & Humberas well as Western Australia. Four days into the race & we can still see 5other boats close by. It seems that JAMAICA doesn't sail as fast as othersin these light winds though we can be proud that we were as fast as the bestin strong winds. Let's hope for stronger winds & a little luck to see us onthe podium in New York this week end. It is what Simon & the crew deserve aswe are all working extremely hard. The Wind forecast is to change to behindus, so we may be able to fly the spinnaker soon. The 3 watch system isworking well with 6 hrs off. Sleeping for England (or is that Jamaica?)Haute gastronomie continues with a lunch of corned beef curry & a supper ofchilli spam & mash. They say an army marches on its stomach!

Posted by Jon G, Nick and Karen Jacobs

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Message from JAMAICA

It is 5.30 am (11.30 uk) & just finishing 3 hours of Mother watch following
3 hours of normal watch. 6 hrs off soon. Sleeping like a baby whenever off
watch. Must be the activity, sea air & life at 40 degree angle making me so
tired. Got the dreaded sea sickness after a night of choppy conditions but
feel stronger now & stopped puking. Had overtaken Glasgow for 2nd but back
to 3rd now & NY trying 2 take us.


Overnight JAMAICA have moved up to second position and are now holding onto 3rd behind Quigdao andGlasgow: Scotland with Style, I wouldn't want to suggest any correlation between Nick Jacobs joining and this new competitive edge but...!

The boats are now split by the Bohemian Islands and are now ot the north split West / East with Liverpool and Nova Scotia favouring the eastern track and the rest of the boats keeping west. It will be intersting to see how these tactics develop over the coming day!

Go JAMAICA...lets see you on the podium in NY.



Monday, 26 May 2008

JAMAICA in 3rd! News from the boat

News from the boat via Nick Jacobs, our roving reporter. Hopefully now keeping of the champagne!

Day 2, race suspended as no wind. Fleet motoring, flat seas, sunshine, calm, all well. Even I can't be seasick in these cond's!

Cuba to West, Haiti to east. Beautiful! For crew joining in PA this is perfect as eases us gently back 2 sea in idyllic calmness & chance to train our sailing skills.

Left PA yest 2pm. 9th over start but no prob: as lead boat we will automatically cross new start point in 5th i.e. mid fleet. May need to continue under motor for rest of day as winds still very light. As yet new start point not known so will continue to motor until Simon determines new start point. 3 watch system: allows 6 hours off for great sleep. I'm buddied with Dan. We're on Mother watch now so prep'ing yummy egg mayo s/wiches! Haute Cuisine on board JAMAICA! What a great way to start leg7.

day 3 & all's well aboard JAMAICA. Just rec'd 7am (middayUK) sched & 3rd so excelt news - IRIE MON! Came on watch 3am and watchedsunrise as stronger o/n wnds died a little but still 9-10 knots boat speed.Weaving our way thru small islands of Bahamas on another beautiful day.Please God we can keep this up, tho it's early days yet.

Posted by a very jealous Jon.

Stringfever gig Tuesday 10th June, London

String Fever

The fantastic Stringfever who kindly gave a brilliant performance at the pre race JAMAICA party on the Walk the Plank boat in Liverpool are playing at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London on Tuesday 10th June (Doors 6.45pm & performance at 7.30pm)The guys who travel the world with their music & regularly appear on TV are closely following the daily progress of the JAMAICA Clipper. Following their gig at the pre race party, the JAMAICA Blog has received many enquiries about the string quartet. Further information can be obtained by visiting their web site at http://www.stringfever.co.uk/ .

Tickets for their Bloomsbury concert in London on Tuesday 10th June can be purchased through the box office on Tel: 0207 388 8822 or via the web site www.thebloomsbury.com
From Karen Jacobs


JAMAICA Clipper is now in 5th after a successful Le Mans restart yesterday evening BST.

Within a few hours of the start of Race 11 from Jamaica to New York yesterday, the fleet stopped racing and began heading towards a rendezvous point in the Windward Passage, midway between the islands of Haiti and Cuba, some 200 nautical miles from the start line at Port Antonio. The decision was taken because the weather forecast for today and the next week shows little or no wind for this initial stage of the race. To prevent the teams wallowing around for several days making no progress and the race becoming a lottery the Race Director decided to restart the race today north of the Windward Passage.

Joff Bailey, Clipper 07-08 Race Director, said, “The conditions that the crew will experience over the initial part of the race will be similar to the Doldrums. Unfortunately, unlike the Doldrums which move around, this area of light winds is very static at the moment and we could not see when, if at all, the light and even no wind would be replaced with more steady pressure that would allow fair racing.

“During the skipper and crew briefings all the teams were informed that this would be a likely possibility and Simon Bradley, the lead skipper at the moment, made the final decision after talking to me a couple of hours after the race start yesterday. The effort put in by the teams during the start was still recognised as the positions around the first turning mark were used as the start order for the Le Mans start today.”

JAMAICA'S skipper, Simon Bradley, the lead skipper for Race 11, reported that a successful Le Mans start took place at 2211 GMT today, Sunday 25 May. It was slightly later than the fleet had planned. As they met at the rendezvous location Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper’s crew discovered they had several fishing nets caught around their keel, propshaft and prop and had to send a diver down to untangle the mess.
Simon said, “After Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper had freed themselves from the fishing nets the fleet had got very close to the TSS off the eastern end of Cuba. The decision was taken to motor just north of the TSS to ensure the safety of the fleet as the wind angles at the time would have meant sailing straight towards the shipping lanes.
“Hull & Humber, New York and Uniquely Singapore all had very good starts, but as expected we’re all very close together as we head towards New York approx 1200 nautical miles away. The wind is light from the northwest but boat speed is around the 8 knots mark.
“An interesting 24 hours is ahead of us as we negotiate our way through the Bahama Island chain into the open North Atlantic.”


Sunday, 25 May 2008

LEG 7 starts from JAMAICA

At 8pm BST the boats left Port Antonio to start the race upto New York. The plan was to conduct a short race in the Harbour before all the boats motored upto Cuba to restart the race just north of the island. This was to avoid light airs that have slowed the fleet for several days in previous years.

However as the Clipper website doesn't currently contain any information to this effect and they may have started the full race, we will update you as we get more information.

The crew will be busy as Simon had been selected as duty skipper, this means he is responsible for checking in with the entire fleet every 6 hours and assisting with any challenges they might face over the coming week.

During the short stopover in Jamaica the country’s Tourism Minister, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett MP, visited the fleet in the Errol Flynn Marina, to welcome the crews to Port Antonio. During the prizegiving ceremony he said, “Clipper is for us the latest of the great adventures of the seas that have found Jamaica an exciting place. So I want to welcome you to a proud country, a proud land that has a beautiful history with wonderful people. We have been blessed with geophysical features that are unique in these parts. You are in a country that has learned how to do things well and one of the things we do best is to welcome visitors and to make them feel irie. Now we want to tell you that the yacht that bears the name of Jamaica is going to leave Port Antonio to New York and I will be there to see when it wins on that leg! So I congratulate the team that came in first to Port Antonio and I say to you, watch the JAMAICA boys, they are at home now!”
Jamaica’s skipper, Simon Bradley, said, “No pressure then! We look forward to seeing the Minister again and hopefully it’ll be the right result. We’ll do everything we can to do it as we have done in every single race – we’ll just have to work even harder.”
Of the crews’ time in Jamaica Simon said, “This has been absolutely fantastic, absolutely brilliant, the best stopover in the race so far and the only one that will come close will be Cork, but it’ll still be second to Jamaica. It’s a shame we’re not here longer. The Jamaica Tourist Board has been absolutely wonderful and all the Jamaican people have been absolutely fantastic.”

Saturday, 24 May 2008

New content from JAMAICA

After the JAMAICA stopover we are lucky to have recovered a series of pictures and some videos from the boat, I'll look forward to publishing this content over the coming weeks.
I'll also recount a selection of experiences from the leg 7 crews pre-race preparation!

I have also recruited the help of a number of the wider 'JAMAICA' family to assist with content and provide on-the-ground reports from the NY, CANADA and CORK stopovers. Please let me know if you have any stories, pictures or comments. Email me directly at gibbardjr@hotmail.com

JAMAICA going through one of the locks on the Panama Canal.

JAMAICA's Katie Hearsum climbs the mast.



Celebrity Chef causes a stir on JAMAICA

Yesterday as I prepared to depart the shores of JAMAICA I was treated to watching the crew prepare for the arrival of the 'Pressure Cook' - chef Ralph Pagano. Ralph had been challenged to cook a meal aboard JAMAICA and was joined by camera men, sound engineers and crew as well as ITV's competition winners, flown out to JAMAICA to see the start of the race and meet the boat and crew with the chance to go for a sail.

Ralph seemed to be unimpressed by the food available onboard JAMAICA, an opinion I'm sure is shared by many of the round the worlders now! However fresh fish and other ingredients were quickly found.

Insiders tell me that the crew enjoyed the food however there was a distinct lack of any washing up being done, what would Gordon Ramsay say? and several of the camera crew succumbed to seasickness in the flat calm, gentle breeze and tropical sunshine. Maybe the 'pressure cook' would like to have another chance to prepare the food in a force 9? :-).

Simon briefs the TV crew on standard safety procedures.
Streaming video of the episode is currently only available in the US but will hopefully come to other countries shortly, I am looking forward to watching the episode. More information at http://www.hulu.com/pressure-cook


Leg 7 about to begin

It is 11:30 on Saturday 24th May. Leg 7, which starts with a race from Port Antonio to New York, will commence at 2pm today local time (8pm UK time). We have completed all of the last minute jobs and are waiting for the departure in formation from the Errol Flynn Marine at 12 o'clock.

Simon Bradley, skipper of JAMAICA, is lead skipper for this race as the rest of the fleet lines up in formation behind JAMAICA and a Coastguard clipper.

It's at this stage that I am delighted to be handing over the web site baton to Jon Gibbard who has kindly (and no doubt reluctantly) agreed to post details of the forthcoming race. I hope to be able to send posts to Jon on a daily basis to let you know how life REALLY is on board the good ship JAMAICA but that will depend on how busy we are ....... and the dreaded mal de mer!

For me it has been a long time coming but it will be a pleasure and a privilege to join such a happy crew.

So fare you all well; we hope you enjoy our voyage just as much as we will, and see you in Cork for a big JAMAICA party before arriving back in Liverpool on 5th July.

In the meantime :


Photo added by Jon...sorry Nick!

Nick Jacobs

Friday, 23 May 2008

JAMAICA Clipper welcomes visitors on board

Following the arrival of the fleet in the wee small hours of this morning, the crew of JAMAICA have been welcoming visitors today.

Amongst the many locals who have come on board was a party of school children from the Shebian Preparatory school who were given a guided tour by crew members. They then repaid the compliment by proudly singing the Jamaica National Anthem. It is an honour for the crew to be representing such a proud nation.

This evening will be the prize giving ceremony and party which is hosted by the Jamaica Tourist Board.

At 10am tomorrow JAMAICA will host a group of media representatives and take them out of the Marina for a morning sail. On board will be a celebrity chef and TV representatives from the UK and the USA. We look forward to welcoming them.

The race will restart from Port Antonio on Saturday 24 May at 1400 local time (1900 GMT). The boats will leave Errol Flynn Marina at 12 noon (1700 GMT) and sail in formation past Folly Point where spectators will be able to have an excellent view of JAMAICA and the other nine yachts in the Clipper 07-08 fleet.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

JAMAICA arrives in Port Antonio

Team JAMAICA arrived in our home port of Port Antonio this morning at 2am local time (8am UK) to a hero's welcome.

The crowds and media were here in force to welcome our gallant crew as they finished the race in 8th place.

Resplendent in their magnificent shocking pink tee shirts, specially designed to match the colour of their eyes after this 500 mile race, they have now disembarked, completed the immigrationb formalities and are now looking forward to some rest before the next race to New York starts on Saturday.

These 2 days are a really short stopover for the crew and they have a round of media visits, celebrity chefs on board as well as their routine maintenance and training sails.

In the meantime they look forward to spending a few hours recovering and sharing the Jamaican experience with their friends and family.

Hull & Humber finish first

Just before midnight this evening (06:00 UK time) Hull & Humber moored along side at the Marina in Port Antonio. Yes, you heard it hear first on http://www.jamaicaclipper.com/ !

At the end of the 590 mile race from Panama Hull crossed the line just 1 minute and 4 seconds ahead of second placed New York.

Meanwhile, the family and friends of JAMAICA clipper are waiting patiently for their heros to arrive. Uncharacteristically they are camped out next to the beach side bar. Well it's a hard life !
Watch this space as we publish the very first pictures of JAMAICA's arrival into our home port of Port Antonio.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

JAMAICA expected to arrive midnight Wednesday.

They're coming home, they're coming home, JAMAICA's coming home ....

The first of the Clipper 07-08 teams are expected in Port Antonio, Jamaica, just before midnight tonight local time (0500 GMT) at the end of the 590-mile sprint from Colon, Panama.

And at 13:00 local time (19:00 in the UK) JAMAICA were sitting in 8th place but only 13 miles off the lead, and with just 70 miles to go, as can be seen from the race viewer above, all of the top 8 yachts could be in with the chance of a podium finish.

JAMAICA skipper, Simon Bradley, says :

“Just losing a single mile against the rest of the fleet can change your standing by several places as we’re so close together. It’s great to see the other yachts, it really keeps everybody on their toes! We’re racing hard to Jamaica, looking for our first podium of the race. We had a fantastic Le Mans start fighting for position with the rest of the fleet. We’ve sailed through several heavy squalls and are now making good speed to the finish where we know there’ll be a huge welcome from friends, family & our Jamaican supporters.

One Love!”

All of the teams have been making very fast progress towards Jamaica in the moderate F5 easterly wind, however Nova Scotia and westernaustralia2011.com were trapped for several hours in their own personal wind holes and now lag behind the pack.

The current good winds will continue until the teams reach the eastern corner of Jamaica and then the final 30nm to the finish will be light and fickle and we will see lots of position changes on the finishing straights.

The first of the yachts is expected between 2200 and midnight local time (0300 and 0500 GMT) with the rest of the fleet arriving through the night.

The JAMAICA crew members and their family and friends are in Port Antonio and will be staying up through the night to give team JAMAICA a hero's welcome when they arrive. They have been preparing themselves both mentally and physically for the task ahead and were guests of honour at a reception at the Mocking Bird Hill reception last night where local Jamaica Tourist Board representative Polly was presented with a RNLI / JAMAICA Clipper pennant by Dan Garnett of JAMAICA Clipper who is also a RNLI volunteer as a thanks you for all of their help and support during their stay in Port Antonio. Crew member Nick Jacobs was invited to join a local Reggae band who provided the entertainment for the evening.

With the crew are Barbara and Shireen, owners of the Mocking Bird Hill, who kindly hosted the cocktail reception.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Jamaica leading the way to home port

At 6pm today the JAMAICA team were in 3rd place, just one mile behind New York and Hull & Humber leading the way to our home port.

Although we are running slightly to the west of the 'rhum line' this puts us into an excellent position for the short run up-to JAMAICA. Fingers crossed for a podium finish.

As the boats continue to make their way north the shore crew have been undertaking a gruelling itinerary of pre-race training sessions. This has included, but is not limited to, early morning running and swimming, employing the services of a series of dieticians to ensure maximum crew strength and yoga lessons led by friends from 'Hull & Humber' and roman wrestling competitions, selected photographs included.

Meanwhile the editorial integrity of the JAMAICA clipper website is under question as Nick Jacobs prepares to handover to Jon G, oh dear! We have been training hard for this for several months!

Finally the team have been studying hard, paying off the 'Hull and Humber' crew with a series of brown envelopes to get additional weather routing information for the coming legs.

Monday, 19 May 2008

JAMAICA in the lead at the start of Race 10

The JAMAICA clipper team welcomes you from Port Antonio, Jamaica, where we have moved for the start of Race 10, from Panama to our home port.

We are delighted to announce that at the start of Race 10 which took place at 10:00 this morning local time, 16:00 UK time, JAMAICA was first past the post. The fleet is due to arrive overnight Wednesday / Thursday where JAMAICA will arrive to a hero's welcome.

The small town of Port Antonio is slowly filling up today and the Clipper race team will arrive shortly. Other crew members from JAMAICA as well as the rest of the fleet are arriving through the course of the day.

It will be a short turn around for the fleet as a VIP welcome supper has been arranged by the Jamaica Tourist Board for some 250 people on Thursday night. On Friday, there will be a celebrity chef cooking on board JAMAICA as well as visits from local school children and a film crew from ITV and the BBC.

It means that the new crew will only be able to do their training sail on Saturday morning just before the race start when the boats will muster at mid-day (6pm UK time) for the start of race 11 to New York.

Meanwhile the finely tuned atheletes of the JAMAICA crew who have arrived in Port Antonio have been aclimatising themselves to local conditions. Just as JAMAICA clipper has started race 10, we are delighted to report that the arriving crew and families have been practicing their skills on the River Grande, as this picture shows.

After 3 hours of rafting, the occasional red stripe beer and some swimming training for good measure, the crew met later yesterday evening to enjoy a traditional Jamaican supper at Woody's International Acclaimed restaurant.

Keep watching http://www.jamaicaclipper.com/ for further updates throughout the course of the week

Thursday, 15 May 2008

JAMAICA arrives in Panama.

JAMAICA clipper arrived at Flamenco Marina Panama this afternoon. The fleet of the Clipper round the World yacht race is gathering in Panama in order to transit together the 51 miles journey along the World famous Panama canal. Having entered the canal in the Pacific, they will exit in the Caribbean where they will start race 10 to Port Antonio, Jamaica. We hope to see many of you in our home port next week.

Meanwhile if any JAMAICA clipper fans are thinking of visiting New York when she arrives there (due to be around 1st June) at the end of race 11, crew member Guthrie "Gus" Steer (pictured) kindly sent us these photos of the Manhattan Sailing Club in North Cove Marina New York to whet your appetite!

Gus, who was a crew member on leg 5 - Qingdao (China) to Santa Cruz (USA) dropped in to New York on his way home and kindly sent us these photos.

Right in the heart of Manhattan the sailing club will be a fascinating stopover for the crew and we look forward to meeting you in The Big Apple and sharing a Big Applejuice (or something stronger) with you!

Before then we look forward to meeting those of you who will be in our home port of Port Antonio, Jamaica, over the next 8 days before our departure on 24th May.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

JAMAICA will arrive in Panama this evening. Also, offers for visitors to Port Antonio.

The fleet is approaching Panama after their long journey motoring down the West Coast of North America. Having made a detour into Banana Bay Marina, Costa Rica in order to refuel, the fleet will start arriving from 10:00 GMT today, with JAMAICA expected to arrive this evening.

It is hoped that the rest of the yachts will arrive in the Flamenco Marina, Panama, on Thursday 15 May. There they will gather to prepare for the transit to the Caribbean side and the forthcoming Race 10 to Port Antonio, Jamaica, where they will be met by the new crew joining JAMAICA for the final leg, leg 7, as well as many family and friends who are travelling to Jamaica for her "home port" visit.

For those crew members, family and friends visiting Jamaica, please find below a number of special events which have been generously offered by Shireen and Barbara of the beautiful Mocking Bird Hill hotel to make your stay even more special :

Welcome cocktail at the hotel Mocking Bird Hill.

Please note this will now take place on Tuesday 20th May at 18:30. All crew, friends and family welcome. This has kindly been offered by the Mocking Bird Hill hotel who have also organised many other events for us. Pleae note they have one room available next week so anyone still needing accommodation please contact them direct - see contact details below.

Shuttle service

A shuttle service that will be offered from between the hotels and the Marina. This service will be offered between 6.00 - 10.00 AM and then again in the afternoon from 4.00 -8.00 pm. The price per person will be US$ 7.00 (one-way based on minimum 2 persons on any given shuttle) from Mocking Bird Hill.

The shuttle will begin from Goblin Hill and also stop at Fern Hill, Frenchman's Cove and Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica Palace, Faith Cottage, Match Resort.

The fare will be US$ 10.00 per person for the hotels further away, that is Frenchman's Cove, Fern Hill, Goblin Hill. Between 10.00 AM and 4.00 PM guests can order regular taxi transfers.

Welcome breakfast

Welcome Breakfast on expected day of arrival; we can only determine this day closer to the time. They will be offering a lovely, hearty breakfast buffet with Jamaican specialities and a wide selection of home baked breads, homemade jams, cheese plate with fresh local goat cheese, quiches, eggs to order, fresh juices, famous Blue Mountain coffee and pastries. A Mento band, (local folk music ) with the famous Jolly Boys will welcome the participants and help them to find their "feet" on land again.

Dinner at Mocking Bird Hill

Complimentary Shuttle from either the Marina or the other hotels for dinner service at the Hotel Mocking Bird Hill. Guests are requested to please indicate if they want the shuttle service when making their dinner reservations tel. 993 7267 or 993 7133.

Art gallery visit and afternoon tea

Mocking Bird Hill will be arranging a special art show with works from various local artists. Guests might want to combine this either with lunch ( they can also use the pool and swim) or afternoon tea served between 3.30 - 5.00pm. Guests can enjoy a spread with home baked cakes, fruit tartlets, smoked Marlin on Toast, Goat cheese (Chevre) on home baked breads, Muffins, Scones or Waffles with a selection of home made jams and cream, Solomon Gundy on crackers and open sandwiches with homemade egg or liver pate. Our selection may vary depending on the availability of particular products. Price US$ 25.00 per person -

Introductory culinary session to Jamaican cuisine

With prior reservation, our chefs offer an introduction to Jamaican cuisine. A group of friends can have fun cooking a traditional Jamaican lunch together and then enjoying what they have cooked. We have a choice of 2-3 menus that they can select from. Price varies accordingly.


A visit to the hotel can be combined with a relaxing massage which can be booked in advance and can be enjoyed either in the garden gazebo or other secluded locations in the garden.The selection of massages and treatments that are offered can be viewed on the website athttp://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/english/hotel/gazebo.php Guests can email us in advance for their reservations.


can be booked in advance to help with the easy organization. Please e mail the Mocking Bird Hill at info@hotelmockingbirdhill.com . Shireen and Barbara from the Mocking Bird Hill said :

The advantage of booking the tours with the group is that the per person price becomes more reasonable based on increasing numbers. It is certainly more advantageous than booking individually. If any guests would like specialized guides for special interests such as birdwatching, please ask them to let us know in advance so that we can book the guides. This is not generally possible at short notice.

Sincere thanks to Shireen and Barbara for all of their hard work to make us all so very welcome.

Anyone wanting to meet the crew of JAMAICA clipper, we will be staying at the Jamaica Palace Hotel. Please come over and say hello and let's share a Red Stripe together!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Mick Moran recounts his experiences on legs 4 & 5

Hello JAMAICA Clipper crew and followers.

Its Mick Moran here.

I have just returned home to Dublin after spending the last 5 months on JAMAICA Clipper sailing from Fremantle - Singapore - Qingdao - Hawaii and Santa Cruz, and what a great experience I had. It was absolutly amazing and definitely one of the best things I have ever done. I had a great time, saw some amazing things, did some amazing things and met loads of really amazing people.

I am really missing them all terribly, its really hard to ajust to life on land when I am so used to living on a 68 foot boat with 15 people packed around me at all times. I had such a great time and I would just like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the crew who I sailed with on JAMAICA Clipper.
The characters I met made the adventure such an enjoyable experience and made the boat a great environment to be in, even when the conditions onboard were a bit of a nightmare at times, the people on board always made it a lot easier to survive, so thank you to you all, especially Simon the skipper and my watch leaders Johnny B, Maloney and Harry (Julian) who were a huge help. So keep up the good work guys and I hope to see you get on the podium in Jamaica and of course in Cork too.

One Love


Friday, 9 May 2008

Messages to the whole JAMAICA family : stopovers in Jamaica and Cork

With Race 9 having been cut short and the fleet motoring down to the Panama Canal skipper Simon Bradley has these important messages to friends, family and crew past present and future. First a message for the crew joining in Port Antonio :

As soon as possible after our arrival in Jamaica I want to have a crew meeting (on board preferably) with all current and 'new' crew. This will allow me to outline our commitments during the stopover with regards to work on the yacht and anything else that is going on.
I'm assuming that we will be met by 7 enthusiastic crew who will want to join in asap with work on the yacht! I want all crew to enjoy the stopover, so providing we all get stuck in from the start the work won't take long to complete.
We will be doing as much as we can in advance in Panama and en-route. We are all very excited about the stopover and can't wait to get there! Please can I ask you to spread the word so that everyone knows - thanks.
One thing that can be done in Jamaica before we arrive is to find a service wash laundry service. As the stop is so short we won't have time to do the washing!

One Love!

Simon and the Crew!

For everyone who will be in Port Antonio, http://www.jamaicaclipper.com/ have liaised with hoteliers and the Jamaica Tourist Board to offer welcome cocktails and other events during our stay. Please watch these pages over the next few days for more information.
In addition we are hoping to set up a live stream from a web cam at the Miraflores lock at the entrance to the Panama canal. We are liaising with the crew on board to find when they should be going through there so that you can follow the fleet's progress live. At this stage that is scheduled to be Monday of next week, but watch these pages for updates.

Second, a message to all crew, family and friends about the final stopover - in Cork - before arrival in Liverpool in July sent by Mick Moran who did leg 4 and 5 on JAMAICA Clipper and has just returned to Dublin after getting off in Santa Cruz.

I just got a message from Simon a few days ago, he is planning to organise a big get together in Cork for all the JAMAICA crew, past and present, and family and friends, as he knows that there will be a lot of previous crew members such as myself turning up there as well as the crew that will be sailing into Cork and is worried that once people get to Liverpool they will just disappear with their families with out having a proper Jamaican goodbye.

He asked me to try and sort out a hotel function room or book a restaurant for the occasion, which I am more than happy to do. The only problem is I have no idea how many people plan on turning up in Cork.

Could all crew members, family and friends who are planning to come to Cork e mail me so that I can get numbers and organise the event? People can mail me at this email address : micko.moran@gmail.com.

Thanks to Mick for organising the party. We saw the crew off from Liverpool with the only eve of race bon voyage party of the whole fleet - let's make sure as many of us as possible get to Cork. The fleet is due to arrive some time between 29th June and 4th July and with http://www.ryanair.com/ offering flights at 0p (yes nothing!) plus taxes, a return flight can be booked for under £40 !

Finally Mick has written an account of his experiences on board JAMAICA from legs 4 & 5. His article, together with photos of his journey, will be published here over the next few days so keep visting http://www.jamaicaclipper.com/ for that as well as further updates from the crew on board the Rasta Rocket.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

JAMAICA claims 8th place in very light winds

Skipper Simon Bradley and watch leader Claire Maloney pictured in windier and colder conditions on the previous race to Santa Cruz.

Having overtaken Western Australia and held off Durban, JAMAICA had to setlle for 8th place in Race 9. At the 11th hour the "go west in search of stronger winds" strategy of Liverpool catapulted them past JAMAICA to take 7th.

With race having been shortened due to light winds the fleet will now motor to Panama in order to achieve their scheduled transit time through the canal. From on board JAMAICA, Simon sent this message :

“The last few miles took forever to complete as the wind died away on us. We saw Liverpool 08 then Uniquely Singapore finish before us, very frustrating as we hoped to beat both of them to the line. Well done to them both. We’re motoring now to Panama and this will bring its own challenges: the noise, the heat and not running out of fuel. But it will allow us to get most, if not all, of our maintenance jobs done en-route.”

The first boats are due to arrive in Panama on Monday 13th May.

Congratulations to the crew of JAMAICA clipper - time now to relax and recharge your batteries before the journey through the Panama Canal and onto race 10 to Port Antonio in Jamaica. Wouldn't it be great if we could claim a podium position in our home port ?

Well Red Stripe may be the drink of choice on the island of Jamaica - but as they say on the Emerald Isle : BELIEVE!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

JAMAICA sneaks into 7th place

Following yesterday's decision by the course committee to shorten the race due to very light winds lead boats Hull & Humber and New York have just crossed the revised finish line to claim a provisional 1-2.

Meanwhile at the interesting end of the race (no bias at all at jamaicaclipper.com) at 06:00 this morning JAMAICA had overtaken Western Australia to assume 7th place. But with some 100 miles for these boats to the Angel gate finish line there is still a long way to go.
As the race viewer shows WA is clinging to the coast of Mexico but in the last 12 hours they have experienced lighter winds covering just 22 miles. This has given JAMAICA the opportunity to overtake her and assume a wafer thin 6 miles lead, though a lead is what it is. If she manages to keep her nose ahead to the end of this race it will mark an incredible achievement for the crew who have been struggling with the very light conditions to get the Rasta Rocket in full flow.
However, closing in on the rails is Liverpool who, for the whole of this race, has taken a more westerly routing in search of stronger airs and it looks like this is now paying off as they have covered twice the distance of JAMAICA, WA and Durban in the past 12 hours and have just overtaken the South African entrant to be in 9th place.
Liverpool is only 20 miles behind JAMAICA. Having had all of their work pay off to overtake WA our crew will have it cut out to fend off Liverpool. But we know they can do it and get their just desserts.
Meanwhile, the most recent addition to the crew, Italian Ettore Filippini, writes exclusively for jamaicaclipper.com from on board JAMAICA. Although he's loving the experience the haute gastronomie on board leaves a lot to be desired .......
Hi Nick, there is a new country represent on JAMAICA Clipper.

I'm Ettore Filippini legger in leg 6, one of the 4 Italian crew member that join to Clipper 07-08.
I'm really happy to sail on this crazy boat, language is not a big problem, UK food is something that you can habit to.

Today is another hot day, sleeping in the bunk during the day is quite having a sauna.We are trying to speed up the boat as mach as possible to catch WA.

See you in Jamaica.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Light winds bring an early end to Race 9

It has just been announced that the course for Race 9 has been shortened due to the lighter than expected winds en route to Panama City, threatening the fleet’s scheduled transit through the Panama Canal.

With the fleet currently logging 12-hour runs of between just 17 and 48 nautical miles and the winds forecast to remain light before building as headwinds, the Race Committee has decided to utilise the pre-determined Gate Angel, approximately 140 nautical miles ahead of the lead boats, to finish the race that started 13 days ago in Santa Cruz.

Gate Angel is one of several intermediate gates contained within the Sailing Instructions for Race 9 that allow the Race Committee to shorten the course and finish the race early in case of abnormal weather conditions that seriously affect the safety of the fleet or the overall programme for the race. Most of the fleet crossed the first gate yesterday off the coast of Acapulco.

Race Director Joff Bailey said, “The Race Committee has been studying the forecasted winds for the next seven days and monitoring the fleet’s slower than expected progress towards Panama City due to the lighter than expected winds since the start in Santa Cruz. In order to ensure a smooth transit through the Panama Canal, the fleet has been informed that the Race Committee has opted to shorten the course and finish the race at Gate Angel.”

It is expected that the first teams will finish during Wednesday with the remaining teams finishing over the following 24 – 36 hour period. After finishing, each of the teams will motor sail to Panama with the first boats expected to arrive in Panama City on 13 May.

At today's 12:00 schedule JAMAICA was still in 8th place, some 32 miles ahead of 9th placed Durban. The key objective over the next 24 hours will be to consolidate our 8th place whilst focusing on 7th placed Western Australia just 32 miles ahead. And with such fickle winds, and a wide variety in speeds being posted, overhauling WA may just be possible. The route they will take to Panama and then on to Jamaica is shown below.


Chief seamstress Bernard saves the day again

Bernard Tissier repairing yet another sail.
What would JAMAICA do without Bernard Tissier ? Not a great deal if truth be told. Round the Worlder Bernard has taken it upon himself to repair the damaged sails and his work has been cut out during this race as Claire Maloney reports from on board JAMAICA :
This is the first time since race start day that we’ve taken down the kite and hoisted the white sails. Unfortunately, the sail in question had to be the windseeker!

We’ve now hit the large area of light and variable winds that the other boats reached yesterday. The one good thing about being behind everyone is that we had a few more hours of wind and managed to pull back a number of miles on the fleet while they bobbed about, turtle spotting (so I’m told). But we were always heading straight for the hole, and we’ve well and truly found it.

Not surprisingly really, as we’ve been heading steadily towards the equator, it’s starting to get a wee bit warmer. We started the race by snuggling into our Ocean Sleepwear sleeping bags on the off watches, just a nose peeping out, trying to keep warm. Most people progressed to lying on their fleecy inners, with the bag unzipped, and now it’s too hot even to do that. There is an international collection of fans dotted about the boat now. The originals were installed in the UK, but we have picked up others in Fremantle, Singapore, Santa Cruz.

It’s just as well we’re flying the windseeker at the moment, because poor old Bernard is in the saloon, sewing machine whirring, putting the finishing touches to yet another spinnaker repair. The little team of apprentices have made the job a lot quicker this time, and the boat being flat helps too, but it’s still a painstaking process. Until you’ve seen one of our spinnakers at first hand it’s difficult to appreciate just how much fabric there is. We’ve become very good at retrieving blown spinnakers (no wrap this time), and I’m sure Bernard could go into professional sail repair after this. Although, funnily enough, he doesn’t seem too keen.

As I look up, the speed as picked up to 3.0 knots. I’m trying to type fast as any moment now it could be back down to 0.0 knots. And, for the moment at least, the direction we’re heading isn’t too bad either.

JAMAICA loses ground

The light winds which have hampered the whole fleet are making sailing on board JAMAICA very challenging. Having been one of the fastest boats last week, at 06:00 she has posted the shortest distance covered in 12 hours - a mere 17 miles : just 1½ miles per hour.

It must be very frustrating on board. But she is not alone as the rest of the fleet is managing no more than 3-4 mph.

Skipper Simon Bradley reports :

“It is hot with little wind here. We’re using the windseeker and lightweight kite a lot. A halyard shackle broke during the last spinnaker hoist, but fortunately we hoist with two halyards so disaster was averted.”

It means that JAMAICA is back to 8th, just over 100 miles off the lead and a mere 8 miles ahead of nearest rival Durban whom she overtook last week.
With such light winds there is a chance that the Race Committee may decide to shorten the race in order to achieve their scheduled transit through the Panama Canal so getting as much out of the boat as possible at this stage of the race is vitally important.

Monday, 5 May 2008

JAMAICA narrows the gap

If Carlsberg made Clipper racing car parks, this would be the biggest ocean going yacht car park in the world!

We're half way through race 9 and the race has almost come to a grinding halt. Having covered on average 10 miles per hour at the start of the race, the fleet is now averaging a frustrating 3 mph as light winds and "trim, trim, trim" are the order of the day.

However, things are not all bad as JAMAICA has siezed the opportunity to move up the rankings and to reduce the overall lead. As reported yesterday, she overtook Durban to assume 8th place and now has started to rein in 7th placed Western Australia who this time yesterday was 29 miles ahead but today is only 19 miles away. Indeed yesterday we were 72 miles behind the leading boat, today that lead is down to 65 miles.

So there is still plenty of scope for JAMAICA to make more gains in the second half of the race. Watch this space for further updates and postings from the crew on board.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

A message to all JAMAICA crew, past, present and future

Skipper Simon Bradshaw sends a message from on board JAMAICA to all crew members past, present and those joining for leg 7 :

We have taken delivery of new JAMAICA Clipper crew polo shirts, they are new designs and colours, black with pink embroidery and pink with black embroidery. The two colours are slightly different in design, but basically have the Jamaica flag, JAMAICA and the Clipper 07-08 logo on them. We have enough for one of each for every crew member, at $25 each, incredibly good value as they are top quality items!

We have them all on board, so crew joining us in Jamaica can get theirs then. Any crew that are planning to visit at one of the remaining stopovers can collect from us, and any others can get them posted/delivered in some way.

We made an executive decision on this as it would have been impractical to try poll every crew member on choice of colour, design etc. We also felt that $50 (roughly 25 quid) for 2 unique, top quality polo shirts was an absolute steal!! In future all crew photos will feature one of these two shirts, the original Licensed to thrill shirts are now very faded and tatty looking (like several of us!), but make good drinking shirts!

The pink polo shirts are not being revealed until our arrival in Jamaica, they are quite eye catching to say the least!

Please can you also ask crew members to have plain black shorts to wear with these shirts, it does make a difference everybody dressing the same, it makes for good photos and PR and really shows the team spirit and camaraderie that JAMAICA Clipper is famous for, we all feel very strongly about this so please get the shorts!

Now, prompt payment for the shirts is obviously vital, two of our current crew have organised these shirts, they are Roger Perry (black polos from Hawaii) and Robert Morphee (pink polos from Santa Cruz). They each need to receive $25 or we don't handover the shirts!! This can be paid in cash and for those not seeing us they can send their money to Phil Thomas (who is also on board at the moment) who will then pass it on. We'll supply more details on how to do this shortly, including exchange rates to use etc. I hope this is OK with you, the shirts are definitely good value and will make fantastic souvenirs of this great adventure that we are all undertaking.

One Love!

Simon and the Crew.

Simon and the crew will be sending us further details of how to make payment for the shirts so please keep visiting your web site http://www.jamaicaclipper.com/ for more information.

JAMAICA outsails the fleet

With just over 1,400 miles to go JAMAICA has switched on the afterburners and at 12:00 today had outsailed the whole fleet. She had covered 76 miles in the previous 12 hours, allowing her to overtake Durban and claim 8th place. She is still 72 miles off the lead but if she can continue at this pace and snatch 10 miles off the lead boats every 12 - 24 hours she could be well up there with the leading boats when the fleet arrives in Panama.

Next target is 7th placed Western Australia 29 miles ahead. As the race viewer above shows WA is further in shore where the winds are less strong. And with the whole fleet only separated by 84 miles, as they sail past the International resort of Acapulco, this race is still up for grabs.
Let's hope the other boats go loco before we do!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Downwind sailing at its best, although JAMAICA is falling behind

Duncan Bagshaw constantly trimming the sails in changing conditions

After an excellent few days' sailing and making great advances, JAMAICA has slipped further behind the pack in the last 24 hours. Their strategy of sailing close to shore had clearly paid off as it allowed them to get within 47 miles of the lead boats this time yesterday. The earlier gains were made because the sea state picked up closer to shore and then the wind built quickly. Pretty soon they needed to peel to the heavyweight kite, and then that changed rapidly to forget the heavyweight.

The wind eased off and they were back under spinnakers by early morning and had peeled back to the lightweight by lunchtime, then pretty much in a wind hole for a number of hours.
Unfortunately, this has led to their falling behind again as, like Durban who are also assuming a similar position, they have covered just 88 miles in the last 12 hours compared to the rest of the fleet's managing over 100. Even Liverpool which had taken a wide westerly position has now come back into contention and is now only 17 miles behind 9th placed JAMAICA which finds itself 90 miles off the lead. A frustrating time for the crew and trim, trim, trim is the order of the day as they try to pull back the miles.

But spirits are still high as Claire Maloney, from on board JAMAICA writes :

‘A boxer left the ring after winning the world championship. His trainer took all the money and he never got a cent. Why not?’

Now, I don’t want you to think we’re sitting around in the sunshine doing nothing all day, it’s just that there are times in between sail changes when it’s possible to chat on deck. Granted the conversation is frequently punctuated with ‘trim’, ‘grind’ or ‘hold’, and the helm is often concentrating too much for full participation, but chatting is definitely possible.

We’re getting a bit intellectual on JAMAICA at the moment. Lisa bought an IQ test book in Santa Cruz, with the idea of testing the crew’s IQ before and after each stopover. So far we’ve discovered at least one crew member is of ‘borderline’ intelligence. We moved on to lateral thinking problems this morning, like the one above. The question master is only allowed to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any queries. We’ve a whole book of these to get through.

There’s been a reading frenzy going on too. The only sail trim book left that managed to escape the wet has been read by nearly everyone. Every time you come on deck there’ll be someone quoting from the (very small) section on spinnaker trim. The saloon has been renamed ‘the library’ and is generally full of people just reading. Obviously, being a racing machine, there are books on trim, weather and tactics, but just occasionally the odd novel or biography might just slip through the net.

Every day’s a school day on JAMAICA. And the lessons don’t stop at night, you know. After dark ‘Stellarium’ gets pulled up on the computer. Introduced by Gus, it’s proving extremely popular. Once it’s set up for where you are in the world, it will show you the night sky in real time, with names of stars and constellations and even some cheesy artist’s interpretation of the constellations. It’s definitely our favourite new toy.

But anyway, as guessed correctly by the crew, ‘The boxer’ was a dog who had just won the championship at the dog show.
And John Braithwaite, another round the world crew member has also got the reading bug :
"All is going well. It's been a lovely sail so far this leg, all down wind, we have kept moving & no wraps (touch wood!). It's about to get very hot. I'm reading Panama Fever about the building of the canal - very interesting."
At the end of the race the crews will enter the Panama Canal to transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean before continuing their journey to Jamaica.

Friday, 2 May 2008

The gap narrows as JAMAICA makes big gains

As the fleet approaches the coast of Mexico the gap has closed as only 47 miles separate leading yachts Hull and Glasgow from JAMAICA.
That distance has been reduced from 58 miles yesterday and more than 70 miles earlier in the week. Some great sailing has put JAMAICA right back in contention.
And with more than 1,800 miles and an estimated 9 days to go there are still plenty of opportunities for JAMAICA to reduce the gap even further.
Overnight we have seen her change tactics dramatically having gone from one of the most westerly boats earlier in the race to the furthest east. She is now hugging the coastline where fresher winds helped by a northerly breeze are allowing them to take miles out of most of the fleet.
May this move continues to pay off - if she can continue to shave 5 - 10 miles per day off the rest of the boats it could be one of the most unlikely ascents up the leader board since the leaving of Liverpool.
Let's not tempt fate but fear not and trust in providence wherever thou may be.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Who stole the wind?

Frustrating times off the coast of Baja California Sur.

As the teams turn left, leaving the coast of California and the USA behind them, the next time they will see land will be Mexico ..... that is if the wind decides to blow.

With more than 2,000 miles still to go in this race, there really is anything in it with the top 9 boats only separated by 58 miles. Currently in 9th, JAMAICA has Western Australia firmly in her sights just 8 miles ahead and will be hoping to reel her in over the next few days. But with average boat speeds down to 7.5 miles per hour (at the start of the race they were averaging over 10) the Clipper Round the World yacht race could be sponsored by supermarket giant Tesco : every little helps .....

It's a frustrating time on board with flat calm seas and trim, trim and more trimming of the sails and the situation will get harder before it gets better as they are just heading into the area where they will encounter the North Equatorial Current which flows at about half a knot in the opposite direction and is likely to impede their progress.

Time for the Rasta Rocket to switch on the after burners and fly past the others. Watch this space - it could be a very long race.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Light airs, fog and Catherine's 30th birthday

A very happy 30th birthday to Catherine Plane

Catherine Plane, seen here helming, is 30 today. Fellow crew member, Claire Maloney, reports on life on board and birthday celebrations :

"We’ll never hesitate to let you know just how tough it is out here. How cold, wet and windy it’s been; the basic living conditions; the struggle to perform those daily tasks. As a fully committed racing machine, we’re constantly battling against the elements, fighting against adversity, striving always to eek out those extra knots of boat speed.

But it’s not our fault if it happens to be rather nice out here sometimes. If we happen to be serenaded by sea-lions at the race start, or if we have a pod of six killer whales swim in formation up to the boat. You probably don’t want to hear any more stories of dolphins bow riding in their dozens, or blowing phosphorescence in the dark.

We didn’t choose the weather, and the gentle downwind sailing we’ve been granted just happens to mean that the boat is flat and dry at the moment. Moving around the yacht is easy, cleaning is not a chore and being in the galley is (almost) a pleasant experience.

Catherine’s birthday cake managed to come out of the oven an even thickness – no bias to the downwind side this time.

Not a bad day to have your 30th birthday. It’s warm and sunny these days, and we’ve been steadily removing layers since leaving Santa Cruz. But it hasn’t reached the blistering hot stage yet. Just perfect. We’ve got fog today, though, for the first time in the race really. Visibility is 100-200 metres, and we’ve been ‘maintaining a proper lookout at all times’. It’s not exactly busy out here, but as Simon says, “it would only take one ship.”

We’re actually enjoying the spinnaker sailing at the moment. Over the last few thousand miles we’ve definitely got better at the old kite trimming. Moving the pole up, down, forwards and back isn’t quite such a trauma as it was on leg one. And, frankly, you’d hope not!

So it’s not all struggle and strife. But we’ll soon let you know when it gets tough again, don’t worry."

Skipper, Simon Bradley added :

“As it became dark this evening it was quite eerie as the fog seemed to close in from all sides. The crew are keeping ultra alert on deck maintaining lookout by sight and sound, while down below decks a radar watch is in place - so far we’ve been on our own.”

In terms of race position, JAMAICA is currently 8th and 60 miles off the lead. In these light conditions they have decided to gybe further in shore, as the race viewer below shows, as the forecasted stronger off shore winds have not materialised. Only Liverpool remains on its lonely voyage to the West.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

JAMAICA boldly conservative

JAMAICA is playing a waiting game.

She has followed Liverpool - currently the furthestmost westerly clipper - to the west but not in such a bold way, as the race viewer above shows. She is clearly hoping to benefit from stronger offshore winds as the forecasted lighter winds closer to the coast limit those boats who have taken up a position there, whilst hedging her bets by not being too far removed from the pack should the tactic not pay off.
She is currently 74 miles off the lead, having sailed 74 miles in the last 12 hours - coincidentally exactly the same distance as leading boat Glasgow, so speed is clearly not an issue.
The question is simply if fortune will favour the brave.
This is going to be a very close race and as winds die it may be, just may be, that our conservatively bold move has paid off.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Wind speed reduces - will JAMAICA's tactics pay off?

At 06:00 this morning JAMAICA posted the second fastest speed of the whole fleet, continuing their great progress having posted the fastest time at 18:00 yesterday evening.

As reported yesterday JAMAICA has decided to take a more westerly position in search of stronger winds and at a time when the winds have reduced dramatically, this tactic appears to have paid off.

As the race viewer above shows, JAMAICA has followed Liverpool's example and sailed to the West. It means that currently both Liverpool (10th) and JAMAICA (9th) have the furthest distance to finish of the whole fleet but as the winds continue to drop their positionswill give them more options both in terms of winds and sailing angles than those clippers hugging the shoreline.

The graphic below illustrates this point : to the left of the picture we can see the relative positions of the fleet. As they continue to sail south they will at some point have to gybe to port (that's "turn left" to you and me) so as to continue south east down the western coast of the United States, before arriving in Panama, which can be seen in the bottom left of the picture.
There's still a long way to go but the crew can be satisfied with both their performance and their tactics thus far.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

JAMAICA does not have a monopoly on spinnaker wraps!

As we head into day 3 of this 19 day race it has been confirmed that the disatrous spinnaker wraps which beset JAMAICA in previous races have also been experienced by other teams early on in this one.

The race from Santa Cruz to Panama will be a dash south with the wind behind the boats and some very fast racing - normally the perfect conditions for flying the spinnaker. However, downwind sailing also brings huge challenges for the helm and both Glasgow and Liverpool have had spinnakers wrapped around their forestays which have made them reduce speed for between 7 and 4 hours of sailing whilst they unwrap them.

And with more than 2,800 miles to go, the teams need to do everything in their power to preserve their sails. It may be the prudent approach will pay dividends later on this race.

JAMAICA is one of 2 teams to be assuming a more offshore approach, hoping to benefit from stronger winds. It means that, for the moment, they appear to have fallen down the rankings - Liverpool in 10th and JAMAICA in 9th as the finishing line is to the South East - but a similar tactic paid off for both Singapore and Nova Scotia who finished 1st and 2nd in the last race.

You need one large spoonfull of great tactics and several buckets full of luck if you are to move up the leader board. Well, of course, we know that our expert tacticians on board JAMAICA are amongst the best in the World so here's hoping Lady luck is Jamaican!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Memoirs of Santa Cruz by John Braithwaite, aged 33 and a bit

The penultimate leg of the 2008 Clipper round the World yacht race has started. First up, race 9, a 3,000 mile dash down the West Coast of the United States from Santa Cruz to Panama, before a non racing transit through the Panama Canal, followed by race 10 to Jamaica. Then it's leg 7 when they're homeward bound to Liverpool via New York, Nova Scotia and Cork.

As the race began Joff Bailey, Race Director, outlined the task ahead :

“The teams have a wild downwind ride for the first half of this race which will see them achieving some great speeds and they will make rapid progress south. They will all try to make as direct a route possible, parallel to the coast, but at the same time trying not to get too close as the effect of the land my reduce wind strength. The trick along this initial part of the race is to try not to damage too many of the downwind sails. Several boats have recently been penalised for damaging sails and once the Race Committee considers the repairs and replacements in Santa Cruz further penalty points may be awarded."

Joff continues, “As the fleet approaches the southern tip of Baja California, the winds will start to reduce and become much less stable in direction. At this point the direct route along the coast is heavily favoured in terms of the least miles. However, fickle and inconsistent winds closer in may see some teams opting to sail further offshore in order to benefit from better wind speeds and direction.”

Sail damage will indeed be something team JAMAICA will be very wary of as they were docked 3 points by the Race committee for those disastrous spinnaker wraps and with this race being mainly downwind those spinnies will be up a lot.

There's certainly a very long way to go in this race so as the boats are so tightly packed we asked team JAMAICA round the Worlder John Braithwaite to share his memories of the Santa Cruz stopover just before the start of the race 9 :


Race 8 was a great race. Despite sailing into the wind for all but 2 days, this race was the most pleasant so far for a lot of reasons:

  1. Our new watch system. We had 3 hours sailing and then 6 hours off watch, followed by 3 hours sailing then 3 hours mother watch then 6 hours off. And repeat. So this means we get bigger chuncks of sleep and do a short mother watch each day rather than a mother watch every 8 days or so.

  2. We were able to sail in the right direction - it makes such a pleasant change from the last time we were sailing into the wind going to China. When you are sailing accross the largest ocean of the world at 8 miles an hour its nice to know you are doing it in the right direction rather than having to go at 45 degrees and in reality only be making 4 miles an hour in the direction you want to go.

  3. We had a good race with Liverpool and beat them - get in! In the middle of the race we had a good spell where Liverpool were in sight for about 3 days and we had a bit of a tactical battle as the wind changed from the the south to the north.

  4. The weather was just about perfect for sailing, if maybe a little cold. It was more cold than I expected but I would rather that than too hot.

  5. We had lots of food and we knew what it was. Nothing like buying your food in a werstern speaking country for making sure you don't end up with random bits bits of meat.

The Santa Cruz stopover has been good too. Santa Cruz has an unofficial slogan 'keep Santa Cruz weird' and its doing a good job. We had a lovely meal at a vegan restaurant this evening, the local bar is straight out of the movies and has a good supply of interesting locals.

The people from the yacht club have been most welcoming. A trip up to San Francisco over the weekend was a lovely break away from the yachts. We spent time looking round Alctraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown, then ran back down for the Clipper Prize giving. At which we succeeded in winning the most important prize of the evening...the Hull & Humber organised charity Gurning Competition - nice one Claire.

Well its the night before we leave to sail to the Panama Cannal. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Cannal and sailing back into the Atlantic, and on to Jamaica for a bit of a party.

One love JB"

Only 10 hours into this race and team tactics have already split the fleet with JAMAICA heading a break away pack to the West, closely followed by Durban and Liverpool, as the race viewer below shows. These three teams are clearly hoping to capitalise on the stronger winds further away from the coast, whilst the other teams, led by Singapore and Nova Scotia, remain further in-land.

It means that JAMAICA appears to be further down the rankings in 7th place, but as wind speeds develop, it could prove a similar masterstroke to the one which saw Qingdao and Singapore shoot up the leaderboard in the last race. Here's hoping ....

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Skipper Simon Bradley looking forward to Race 9

Following the arrival of the last 2 clippers - Durban and Western Australia - into Santa Cruz, the race committee has confirmed that the race will restart tomorrow, Thursday 24 April at 1300 hours local time (2000 GMT). The next race is the longest of all the races remaining in the Clipper 07-08 series and will test the teams with strong downwind conditions to begin with followed by light and fickle winds as the fleet approaches Panama.

Having received the confirmation, skipper of JAMAICA clipper Simon Bradley (a.k.a. Clint Eastwood) sent this exclusive message to jamaicaclipper.com :

"All is going well here in Santa Cruz, the yacht is in good condition (apart from a few deck leaks!) and the crew are in good spirits (mostly rum!).

The 'new' crew are all here and we'll all be at the prize giving tonight.

Hope everything is ok with you and we're all looking forward to our arrival in Jamaica even though the stopover is being cut short.

Best regards,


Simon and his team will be sending us regular exclusive articles about their journey down to Panama so log onto jamaicaclipper.com for daily updates of their progress.
Good luck Simon and your team and have a safe and enjoyable voyage.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Race 9 due to start on Thursday

With Durban and Western Australia now expected to arrive in Santa Cruz tomorrow, 22nd April, the Race organisers are estimating the restart of the Clipper round the World yacht race to take place on Thursday 24th April.

Race 9 was originally scheduled to start on 19th April, however, following the dismasting of Durban and WA, they are currently traversing the Pacific by both sail and motor. At 06:00 they are just under 350 miles away from Santa Cruz. It will be a quick turn around for both teams.

Meanwhile the gallant crew of the good ship JAMAICA have had a little time to explore California before heading back to prepare her for the restart.

Keep visiting www.jamaicaclipper.com for news of the restart and daily updates of her position and life on board as she sails downwind to Panama. Good luck guys!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

JAMAICA arrives in Santa Cruz in 6th place

After 2,000 miles of racing JAMAICA arrived in Santa Cruz at 01:47 (07:47 GMT) this morning, at the end of race 8, having crossed the finishing line in 6th place.

Skipper of JAMAICA, Simon Bradley, said, “It’s been a good race, the weather was quite varied, quite wet and cold and the thermal underwear was brought out again, which we didn’t expect. It certainly wasn’t balmy pacific sailing with grass skirts! The last few hours have been entertaining because there’s been no wind and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

The team can now look forward to a well earned rest before the start of race 9, a downwind dash down the West Coast of the USA to the entrance of the Panama Canal. Originally due to start on 19th April, the race will be delayed until some time after 21st April due to the late arrival of Durban and Western Australia who are still crossing the Pacific having had their masts replaced. Both yachts are still over 1,000 miles away from Santa Cruz. The Race Committee is still to confirm the reschedule race start as it will depend upon their progress which is hampered due to light winds but best estimate at this stage is next Thursday, 24th April.

It means a longer stop and well earned break in Santa Cruz for team JAMAICA.

Congratulations guys and enjoy the sights of Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Hollywood, the wines of the Napa Valley; well it's a tough job ...........

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

JAMAICA sweepstake as Singapore takes 1st

At 12:26 (GMT) today Singapore snatched victory just passing Nova Scotia at the 11th hour ..... literally. Having taken the most northerly approach, and therefore benefitting from the stronger winds, Singapore managed to just pass Nova Scotia, which had been leading for most of the latter part of the race. Nova Scotia crossed the line just over half an hour later; 2,080 miles after leaving Honolulu it just shows how close this race was.

Currently sitting in 6th position JAMAICA should cross the finishing line at approximately 06:00 BST tomorrow. Indeed their arrival time is the source of much discussion as the crew have a lot riding on the confirmation of their arrival time as this posting from the boat confirmed:

With less than 500 miles to go, talk has already turned to the finish. The jobs list has been rubbed off the white board and replaced with ‘The Santa Cruz Arrival Sweepstake’. A serious business and, with a $5 entry fee and a possible 15 players taking part, a reasonable prize at stake. (Although the rules of entry do state ‘winner buys the first round’.)

There was a long debate this morning as to which time zone we would be working in. There is boat time, Santa Cruz time and UTC. Boat time went forward an hour last night but we are still an hour behind Santa Cruz time. The skipper hasn’t decided yet whether to move on another hour before or after reaching the finish. So boat time, we decided, was too ambiguous. UTC was just too complicated, so Santa Cruz time got the final vote of approval. That brought on a sudden rush to change the predictions already made in boat time. There’s still bound to be someone at the finish who claims ignorance to the decision.

With the northerly boats still pulling away, we’re having our own little battle with Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper and Liverpool 08 at the moment. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Liverpool 08 we seem (somehow) to have overtaken them and held them off for a few schedules now. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper are ever allusive, and just as we seemed to have narrowed the gap, Hannah decided to go up a gear and has pulled a few more miles ahead. They’re not that far away, though. Still within catching distance.

The wind is so changeable. In any one watch there is such a wide variation in wind strength that it’s really quite tricky choosing a sail plan. There is a choice between being mostly ok but sometimes underpowered and slow, or mostly ok and often clinging onto the helm while frantically dumping the mainsheet to get back under control. As we heeled right over just now, someone commented that the driver had clearly picked Tuesday morning in the sweepstake

JAMAICA expected to cross the line tomorrow

The end of race 8 is nigh.

As we write this article (08:00 BST), the battle for 1st place should just be coming to an end. The 06:00 schedules confirmed Nova Scotia to still be a whisker ahead of Singapore with just 4 miles separating the 2 yachts. If Nova Scotia do manage to hold off the persistent attempts of Singapore it will be a major turnaround for the team currently sitting in 9th place in the overall rankings and will propell them half way up the table. And with Singapore currently 7th in the overall results it shows how quickly fortunes can change.

JAMAICA has consolidated her 6th place in this race; with Glasgow, JAMAICA and Liverpool evenly matched it does appear that these will be the positions when JAMAICA is due to cross the finishing line at early tomorrow. 6th will be a credible result for the crew after a hard race of constant beating into the wind. The boat has been on a pretty consistent tack as this picture of Lisa Gill helming shows.

The bonus will be that all of the teams are ahead of their (rearranged) schedule which should give a little more recovery time in port. Leg 6 / Race 9 is due to start soon after the new crews arrive on 21st April.
All depends on the progress of Durban and Western Australia who did not manage to join this race due to their mast replacement work. They are roughly half way through their journey under a mixture of sail and motor as the graphic shows. Sadly for them they are not enjoying the strong winds which have propelled the leading boats to achieve speeds in excess of 120 miles for a 12 hour run and are currently only managing some 60 miles per 12 hours.
With some 1,200 miles still to go theirs will be a very quick turnaround when they arrive in Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

400 miles to the finish

With the finishing line in Santa Cruz getting ever nearer, the crew on board JAMAICA can almost smell the aroma of freshly baked pancakes and maple syrup blowing to them from the coast of California. But there'll be a lot of sailing before their estimated arrival on Thursday as they battle their way through a strong North Atlantic high.

It's back to life on an angle as they beat into strong headwinds and have no option but to keep sailing hard on the wind on port tack at the moment. The weather front has also brough some chilly North winds as JAMAICA skipper Simon Bradley reported :

“Boots, socks, fleeces, mid-layers are all appearing again as we beat our way towards Santa Cruz. These are all items of clothing that crew were not expecting to wear for some time!”
It's a big change from the temperature they experienced over the weekend during Simon's birthday when hawaiian skirts and bikini tops were the de rigeur clothing ...... if only for the skipper.
With JAMAICA currently lying in 6th place, some 30 miles behind Glasgow and a similar distance ahead of Liverpool, it's now a dash for the coast. Realistically, 6th is the best JAMAICA can hope for and if they do manage to fend off the persistent challenge of Liverpool they will have achieved a lot. Nevertheless they will be nipping at the heels of Glasgow in the hope that the big black ship gives way.
Some 150 miles ahead Nova Scotia is still managing to cling on to 1st with a 10 mile advantage over Singapore, with New York and Hull in their own private battle for 3rd and 4th.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Happy Birthday Simon from the Jamaica Tourist Board

On Saturday we reported it was skipper Simon Bradley's 51st birthday - yes only 51!

Elizabeth Fox, Regional Director UK / N Europe of the Jamaica Tourist Board, our principle sponsor, seen here at the start of the race in Liverpool with both Simon and her colleague Torrance Lewis sent the following message :


Now put the rum down and get back to the lead......!

Sound advice, Elizabeth, and your message has clearly got to Simon and his crew as they turn up the heat in race 8, slowly but surely moving up the leader board.

Indeed, it would appear that Simon's birthday has been the perfect spur for the whole team as the following message, just received from the boat, confirmed :

We’ve spent the last 24-hours neck and neck with Liverpool 08. All day yesterday we were chasing them, working hard to turn the tiny white triangle on the horizon into a recognisable clipper off the starboard quarter.
Everyone’s been really up for it. Funnily enough, it seems to have helped the concentration on the helm a wee bit and prompted a flurry of sail trim activity.

But no one’s been more excited than the skipper. He’s been loving it. There’s been a total obsession with the compass bearing Liverpool 08 has been on –‘Are they gaining? Are we pulling away?’ - and the distance they are from us. We were tracking them on the radar at one stage so we could monitor how many hundreds of metres away they were.

You wouldn’t expect a man of his age to be so excitable. After all, he was 51 yesterday. Unable to take him out for a few beers, the crew did their best to make it a special day. Dragging him up on deck at first light to show him we’ d finally overtaken Liverpool 08 was the start. An outsized cup of ‘skipper’s coffee was then thrust into his hand followed by a plate of French toast.

We saved the cake and the presents until after lunch, when we made the most of the sunshine on deck to hold a Hawaiian themed party. With Hawaiian music in the background, the crew dressed up in their lays, put flowers in their hair (well, the girls did anyway) and presented Simon with a chocolate cake which had his age written on it in M&Ms. There was then an assortment of presents including a new shirt, some coffee and a game of ‘nun bowling’, and an attempt to get a nice photo for Simon’s Mum which didn’t show him wildly brandishing a sharp knife. All with the spinnaker still flying.

Perfect timing for a birthday, as since then the wind had totally died on us, Liverpool 08 has crept back up again and the more northerly boats are flying along. But that’s sailing. Apparently…

JAMAICA deducted points for sail damage

The Race Committee giveth but they also taketh away.

This really is a cruel sport; JAMAICA has been making great progress in race 8 and the past 48 hours has seen her overtake both Liverpool and Glasgow to assume 5th place which, oridinarily, would mean increasing their tally by an extra 2 points.

Yet it will be heartbraking for the crew on board to learn that even if they do maintain this rise in the rankings it will have been to no avail with the announcement today that they are one of the teams to be awarded penalty points for sail damage.

Following compilation of all the sail repair data, the Clipper Race Committee, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has reached a decision on sail repair penalty points that are to be awarded following the Hawaii stopover. The penalty points awarded are for either replacement sails or for professional sail repairs costs, which are cumulative over the whole race.

JAMAICA has been deducted 3 penalty points (2 points for a replacement sail and 1 point for repair costs). Ours is the second largest penalty behind Glasgow's 4. Nova Scotia have been deducted 1 point whilst Liverpool had already been deducted 1 point in the previous race.

On board the crew can only try to focus on the job in hand. As can be seen by the race viewer below they are part of the chasing pack of 3 yachts which also includes Liverpool and Glasgow. With 4th placed Hull over 80 miles ahead it is unlikely that they will be able to haul them in so the battle for 5th needs to be their main preoccupation.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The Rasta Rocket moves up the rankings

There have been big gains over the past 24 hours, mainly for the yachts who had taken the gamble to sail further North as the stronger winds hit them first.

Nova Scotia and Singapore have benefited the most as their tactics took them the furthest North. They have taken full advantage and have raced up the leader board to claim first and second place and relegate yesterday's leader New York to third. It has led to a mad dash North for the whole of the fleet as the race viewer above shows.

But of course things could have been very different had the winds come from the South - this ocean racing lark really is a game of tactics, determination and perhaps not a little luck.

JAMAICA has clearly decided in this race to take a watching brief and to assume a "middle ground"; don't be the first to go too early, don't try something which may cause big gains but may also lead to big losses. Slowly, slowly catch a Clipper.

And that's exactly what they have done in the past 12 hours overhauling Liverpool to claim 6th place and putting 24 miles of clear water between them. With over 700 miles until the finish line in Santa Cruz, JAMAICA now has the much fancied Glasgow firmly in her sights just 15 miles ahead.

Saturday, 12 April 2008


Skipper Simon Bradley is celebrating his 51st birthday today. From all at jamaicaclipper.com we wish you a very happy birthday, and where better to spend your day than in the middle of the Pacific ocean, doing what you enjoy and amidst your fantastic crew?

What's more JAMAICA is making excellent progress in this very tight race with only with only 42 miles separating 1st and 7th and just under 1,000 miles to the finish line. Positions are changing at every schedule but JAMAICA is sensibly retaining the middle ground, keeping other yachts closely in sight to monitor their own progress; Liverpool is just 5 miles ahead and provides an excellent marker to track comparative speed.

As Simon said reporting conditions on board :

“Another nice sailing day, lots of sunshine and a good breeze for most of the time, although it did go light for a while this afternoon. We have another Clipper yacht in sight ahead of us, so now we have a target to overtake. We think it’s Liverpool 08 but at the moment they are too far in front to tell for sure.”

Ben Galloway, skipper of Liverpool, who is also celebrating his birthday today (though a few years fewer than Simon) confirmed:

JAMAICA just slipped out of sight behind us as the sun set but we know they aren’t far behind. Shifty winds for the last few watches have kept us busy which makes the time go faster.”

The proximity of the boats can be seen by the race viewer below :

So on this day, 12th April, 2008, Happy Birthday Simon and happy sailing.

Friday, 11 April 2008

A race of intrigue

This time yesterday we were reporting that Glasgow was extending her lead in Race 8. Indeed the main Clipper web site this morning reported that Glasgow was still ahead. Yet the 06:00 schedules which have just been published place Glasgow in 6th place and JAMAICA behind her in 7th.

The reason for this ? In the middle of the World's largest ocean communications are not always perfect and neither Glasgow or JAMAICA have had their positions updated since midnight last night.

What we can say, however, is that JAMAICA is slowly moving up the field and it could be to do with the recovery from the seasickness that affected many of the crew across the fleet from the outset of Race 8.

As skipper Simon Bradley reported :

“They now hold conversations as opposed to sitting there with a face like grim death wondering if they will survive the watch without making an offering to Neptune.

Yet every watch they are there doing their stuff. Now that is something to be proud of; they feel terrible but they still turn up for duty. Back in the real world I bet they would have phoned in sick…”

In a telephone call to his parents overnight John Braithwaite confirmed spirits on board are high :

"All is well on the boat. The crew are enjoying having 3 watch system.

We now have 14 on board but it means that we can get more rest; I've even read a book for the first time since leaving Liverpool!

We picked up new crew member in Hawaii who is from Santa Cruz so we're hoping local knowledge will help in the run into port.

Expecting light winds for next 24 hours affecting all fleet as wind veers to north then good winds for 3/4 days and should make good progress. Got Liverpool in sight."

By that we believe he means the Clipper Liverpool and not the European Capital of Culture - if not, there's something seriously wrong with their navigational aids.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

JAMAICA outsails the fleet

When the 12:00 schedules arrived today they showed that JAMAICA had sailed farther in the previous 12 hours than any other yacht in the fleet - a total of 105 miles.

We have now adjusted our position within the fleet from our previous most northerly position to be right in the middle of the chasing pack. This has allowed us to review the progress of all of the lead boats and adjust our course accordingly. It is surely this that has led to such an improvement.
Although technically we lie in 7th place, we are only 40 miles behind the lead yacht Glasgow and, in a race of this length, there really is nothing in it.

Today, reporting from on board JAMAICA Chris Parkinson, pictured here pretending to look busy on the winch (!) looks back to their extended stay in Hawaii and reports of difficult conditions on board :

After our lovely long stopover in Hawaii, it’s been a bit like going back to work after a summer holiday.

We’d all got very used to sunshine and nice hotels with clean linen and showers. We’d feasted on fresh food that required the use of knives and forks, and found McDonalds and Starbucks a welcome change. After so many months at sea you might think that material goods would have lost their attraction as we become one with nature, but you would be wrong. There was a shopping mall right next to the Waikiki Yacht Club that had both male and female crew in raptures. And there was even an Aveda hair salon!

But now we’re back beating to windward. Life is once more on a 300 angle. We’ve just finished dinner of tuna pasta eaten out of blue, plastic bowels and I’m sitting on the floor propped up against the generator writing this blog. The watch on deck are in full oilskins and every so often there is a shout of ‘wave’ as water comes crashing over the deck to soak the unwary. Mother watch is in the galley dealing with the washing up, and the bilges are being pumped dry of water for the third or fourth time today.

There are people sleeping – or trying to sleep- in their damp, bouncy bunks. No worries about loud music keeping anyone awake at the moment as the stereo got flooded on the last leg and the replacement hasn’t been wired in yet. The volunteer electrician has unfortunately been too busy throwing up over the side to contemplate the job.

But we seem to have almost seen the last of the seasickness for this race. There are a couple of people still a bit queasy below decks, but I don’t think anyone’s been sick for a whole 24 hrs. With the new three watch system we all get much more time off watch, and people are correspondingly more lively and enthusiastic. Sail changes are much less of a chore when you know it’s not taking up precious sleep time. The mood has lifted noticeably now that people are feeling well again.

And we’re not doing too badly race wise. Lets face it, we’re often a lot further behind by this stage in the game. We’re sailing well and enjoying the sailing. Now lets see if we can start pulling a few miles back from the boats ahead. We’re more than capable of it!!
Meanwhile, news today that the 2 dismasted boats Durban and Western Australia have finally left Hawaii and are making their way to Santa Cruz where they will rendez-vous with the rest of the fleet at the end of race 8.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Happy Birthday Mrs Doris Bradley

Happy Birthday Mum!

That's the message from JAMAICA's skipper Simon Bradley as his Mother, Doris, celebrates her 82nd birthday today.

And as the good ship JAMAICA continues to sail across the Pacific Ocean en route to Santa Cruz, Simon's thoughts are with his Mum many 1,000s of miles away.

As Race 7 moves into its 4th day with an estimated further 10 days ahead, it's at times like this that the crew starts to leave the excitement of the Hawaii stopover behind, is beginning to get tired through the punishing schedule they are experiencing and realising that there's still a very big ocean to cross before land fall on mainland USA. That, combined with heavy conditions and seasickness, means thoughts do go to loved ones back home.

Here at jamaicaclipper.com we add our best wishes for Mrs Doris Bradley to those of Simon.

Meanwhile, back at the race ......

As the race viewer shows the fleet is spanning out in like the wings of a Stealth bomber as they make their journey across the Pacific. At the nose and in the most central position is Glasgow, whilst JAMAICA is continuing its policy of staying North and is still sailing close by Nova Scotia; her position can be seen in the top left hand corner of the graphic.

There have been changeable conditions over the past 12 hours as the fleet first entered into a no wind zone and all possible sail combinations were attempted to move the boat in the right direction.

After few hours of hectic sail changes easterly wind arrived and the boats could start to achieve good boat speed again.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Life continues on an angle

As the fleet enter their 3rd day of racing on leg 8, Hawaii to Santa Cruz, life on board JAMAICA remains at 40 degrees - that's the angle of pitch not the temperature.

It's a 40 degree angle to boil the water in the kettle, 40 degrees tempting you to fall out of your bunk as you try to sleep, 40 degrees as you try to - erm - take a tinkle, in the desperate hope that that is not the moment when the boat drops 20 feet off the next wave.

It has led to very choppy conditions and not a little sea sickness.

The whole fleet is currently experiencing moderate headwinds but a weak ridge in the Pacific high pressure system should give all the teams a slightly better wind angle over the next 24 hours which will see their progress towards Santa Cruz improve. This will, however, push them all further north with the risk of sailing into the centre of the high with its associated light and variable winds.

JAMAICA has managed to sail a fantastic 82 miles in the last 12 hours, a speed only bettered by Liverpool. The team are clearly back in the groove. This has pushed her up the rankings to 5th place, although, at this early stage in the race where the boats are sorting out their different strategies, relative positions are less important.

JAMAICA is still continuing her strategy of assuming the most northerly position of the fleet as can be seen at the top of the race viewer. She has been joined by Nova Scotia - the two yachts are sailing so close to each other, they can almost smell what each other has had for breakfast ..... but enough of the sea sickness!

The question is "is this a strategy that both teams agreed before the start?" Unlikely, however it is a great incentive when crossing an ocean to see another boat, to gauge one's progress against it, to review their sail settings and see if you are gaining or falling back, proof of which is the fact that both teams covered exactly the same distance over water in the last 12 hours.

It's either spurring each other on or they've decided to lash the two yachts together and sail catamaran style across the Pacific. Our Spies on board are due to report soon so watch this space for the latest information.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Headwinds now and for the next 5 days mean hot bunking and disturbed sleep

36 hours into Race 8 and there is nothing in it as the different teams develop differing tactics.
As can be seen from the race viewer above JAMAICA, Liverpool and Nova Scotia were the first 3 yachts to tack North as they left the islands of Hawaii, and they occupy the most northerly positions of the fleet. In taking this approach, these 3 yachts are following the shortest distance between Hawaii and Santa Cruz, represented by the white lines on the graphic.
Singapore and Qingdao left it late to tack north and having adjusted their position west towards Santa Cruz remain the furthest south.
In the middle, and playing cat and mouse, are the leading boats Glasgow, New York and Hull, all sailing within view of each other, waiting to see which of them changes tactics first.
Headwinds being produced on the south side of the North Pacific high pressure system means the yachts in the Clipper fleet are tacking their way towards Santa Cruz. The centre of the North Pacific High has moved further north and it looks like the whole fleet will continue to experience headwinds for the next five days or so.
It means there will be some pretty uncomfortable days ahead for the fleet as the crew experience living and working conditions some 30 to 40 degrees to the perpendicular before a tack sends the boat in the opposite direction.
Like many yachts in the fleet, the crew of JAMAICA have decided to operate a "hot bunking" system which means that when the boat is tacked (or turned into the wind) crew members attempting to sleep are woken to be asked to move from what was the high side of the boat to the new high side. Weight distribution is all important in a race and keeping the weight to the high side can make several miles difference to a race of this length.
On a watch system which allows 4 hours on and 4 hours off, the maximum sleep the crew can have at any one time is, say, 3 hours (after changeover, eating and preparation). When these precious hours are disturbed through hot bunking it can quickly take its toll.

Only eight of the ten yachts managed to make the start line yesterday as Durban and Western Australia were unable to start the race due to the work being undertaken on their mast. The Race Committee has decided that, this being outside the control of the crew, they will award both teams the points (to the nearest whole number) associated with their average position in the previous seven races.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

And they're off! Race 8 begins

On the day the Grand National was run in Liverpool, the City hosting the start and finish of the Clipper Round the World yacht race, Race 8 from Hawaii to Santa Cruz began. It brought to an end an extended stay in Hawaii, due to the 8 out of the 10 boats needing replacement rigging and 2 yachts, Durban and Western Australia, requiring mast replacements. With their repairs still ongoing the race started with just 8 boats.

As the picture shows, JAMAICA had a cracking start of the 2,080 mile race to Santa Cruz and at 06:00 this morning the fleet were passing North of the island of Molokai. Hugging the coastline, JAMAICA was overshadowed by the tallest sea cliffs in the World at over 3,000 feet.
Ahead of them the race is due to take some 14 days with ETA in Santa Cruz on 19th April. After such a long stopover the crew are keen to get back to racing duties. Reflecting on the extended stopover and writing exclusively for jamaicaclipper.com just before the start of the race, crew member John Braithwaite says "aloha and Mahalo" to Hawaii :

Stranded in paradise; well not far off anyway. This has been a much needed break in the race schedule for all of the crews. It was a terrific shame that WA and then Durban lost their masts, however, with no one injured and the crews now safely in Hawaii the consensus is that this break has just been what was needed.

Hawaii met our expectations as we made the final approach to the harbor through a narrow channel cut through the corral reef. The backdrop was of the volcanic mountains covered in rain forest. Waikiki beach was to starboard; where there were surfers riding the waves into the white sand beach. Ahead traditional polynesian canoes were being paddled out from the harbor for an evening race. To port, the sun was setting on the skyline of Honolulu's skyscrapers. Then as we moored along the 'Magic Island' Fuel Dock we were greeted with beer and a warm Aloha from the locals. Perfect.

The race itself was a strange one. The start was tough with light winds, then becalmed so we spent the night at anchor, during which it snowed and we were able to build a snowman on deck - complete with Rasta hat and outfit. We then had a good sail as the winds built. However, during the second night we managed to do our usual trick and wrap a spinnaker round the innerstay. This time it took 12 hours to cut down and we lost part of it in the process. Not a great start. This put us at the back of the fleet and with one of our spinnakers needing serious repair. Bernard spent the next 12 days fixing that spinnaker, an awesome effort. We showed the sail makers here the repair job to check it was ok, as Bernard had had to make new panels, and they offered him a job it was that good. Well after that we had some of the best sailing of the race, set a new boat speed record of 24.8 knots and hooned along until the race was cut short for the rig failures. The last week motoring in was rather tedious but good to get a few of the jobs done, leaving more time for fun in port.

It has been a bit of a holiday to remember in the middle of the race. We have dived with Manta Rays, dolphins, turtles and octopus. Visited Pearl Harbor, went on the US Bowfin Submarine, the US Missouri Battleship on which the Japanese surrendered at the end of WWII and visited the US Arizona memorial where 1000 soldiers were drowned when the Battleship was sunk in the raid. This was a vivid history lesson.

We then went further afield and flew to the 'Big Island' - Hawaii. We kayaked to where Captain Cook was murdered, a beautiful unchanged cove with volcanic beaches and dolphins playing in the shallows. The dolphins here are unlike any we have seen before on the voyage. They are called Hawaiian Spinners, and as the name suggests, they leap out of the water like salmon and spin (up to 7 times) in the air. The highlight of the stopover was definitely taking a helicopter ride around the island as seeing the volcano that is still active with underground lava flows going into the sea.

Its back on the yachts now and preparing them for the race to Santa Cruz.

Mahalo and One Love,

Our thanks to John and best wishes to all our crew for a safe and enjoyable voayge across the Pacific.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Race 8 likely to start tomorrow

Work has now been completed on the replacement rigging for JAMAICA and 7 other Clippers which means the teams can go out for test sails tomorrow and all being well we are looking at starting Race 8 at 1100 local time (2200 GMT) on Saturday.

As can be seen in the photograph the boats have been pulling up alongside the swaging machine which has been set up on an A-frame on the dock to remove the need for the rigging wires to be completely detached and allow the work to be carried out quickly. After the two fittings on the first side of the yacht have been replaced, the skipper turns the boat around for those on the other side to be changed. Adjustments to the rig tension are made back on the yacht’s berth so the next one can be accommodated.

On the opposite side of the harbour in the Ala Wai Marine boat yard, the mast builder from Atlantic Spars has been getting to work on the two masts of Durban 2010 and Beyond and westernaustralia2011.com. He has made great progress today and has already the two sections of Durban 2010 and Beyond’s mast and is getting ready for the arrival of the spreaders in a shipment tomorrow morning.

It is envisaged that Race 8 will restart without Durban and WA as the mast replacements will require such extensive work. We are still waiting to hear from the race organisers as to how they will be re-entered into the race at a later date.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Decision on start date of race 8 "imminent" as Dan Garnett visits schools

The start of Race 8 has been delayed by the dismasting of both Western Australia and Durban as new masts and replacement sections have had to be sourced from around the World. Theirs are the most visible and serious signs of fatigue to the fleet of 10 Clippers and replacement of their mast sections will require several days for completion.

However, the 8 other Clippers, including JAMAICA, will also be undergoing rigorous maintenance checks and replacing sections of their rigging. Joff Bailey, Race Director, expects to be able to make an announcement over the next few days about the revised start time of the race from Hawaii to Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, JAMAICA crew member Dan Garnett has been visiting schools to spread the word of JAMAICA clipper and also our nominated charity the RNLI for which Dan is a volunteer crew member. He spoke of his experiences exclusively to jamaicaclipper.com :

I am pleased to announce that Holsworthy Primary School, in Devon, is now my adopted primary school, following my progress in the Clipper 07-08 gobal race. At 2.45pm, 50 plus schoolchildren, 10 and 11 year olds, were ready to ask questions about the challenge.

I took lots of ocean equipment: charts, a compass, RNLI lifeboat media stuff, lifejacket etc. I really enjoyed the enquiring questions - Will you see any Pirates? No shark questions this time.

After seeing a short video of rough weather action, racing up wind, they begin to get a taste for it - How old do you have to be to join?

Chart work and Navigation questions can be challenging from school children. Looking at my weather routing Atlantic charts togehter there were real questions of wonder, about the world outside.

As the race gets nearer for me , I am still amazed at the increasing interest from all, especially the connection with the lifeboat "train one, save many" campaign. I am proud that our yacht JAMAICA Clipper is raising funds for our volunteer RNLI Lifeboat crews. Fellow racing crewman Andy from the Isle of Man, has raised over £1000 for his local lifeboat, in Peel.

Today, talking with school children helped to remind me why it so vital to keep our boats afloat. The youngsters had a go in dressing up in the Henri Lloyd ocean racing foul weather gear, putting on the giant Musto HPX boots , climbing in to the Gortex sleeping bag - the best bit for one youngster was wearing a lifejacket which I inflated, with the gas cylinder, to his supprise. I look forward to comments and questions online.

Our thanks to Dan and to Andy for the excellent work they are doing both as Volunteer RNLI crew members and by raising funds on behalf of JAMAICA for the RNLI. Thanks also to our crew which has been taking our "Immersion suit challenge" around the different ports of the Clipper 07-08 race in order to raise further funds.

The new masts, specialist swaging machine and shipment of rigging and other parts have finally arrived in Hawaii today and the three riggers from Spencer Rigging have set up their swaging machine on the dockside at Magic Island Fuel Dock and have started replacing the first rigging components on Hull & Humber. They will have an early start tomorrow to work their way through the eight boats who are due to begin Race 8 to Santa Cruz in the next few days. To answer a much-asked question, a swaging machine rolls the high grade stainless steel swage (metal fitting) onto the wire of the rigging with the aid of two powerful rollers – rather like an extremely high pressure mangle.

Meanwhile the guys and gals of our valiant crew are preparing JAMAICA for the start of Race 8 after their extended stay in Hawaii . We wish you a safe and enjoyable journey to Santa Cruz.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Jamaican rum - the perfect apéritif for the prize giving ceremony

The prize giving ceremony for Race 7 took place yesterday at the Hawaii Yacht Club. JAMAICA, currently berthed at the Waikiki Yacht Club, sent a boarding party to requisition Qingdao which is berthed adjacent to the HYC. But this was no takeover - Skipper of JAMAICA Simon Bradley came bearing gifts of rum for all crew members taking part in the Clipper round the World yacht race. The rum had kindly been sent to JAMAICA clipper from the Jamaica Tourist Board and gratefully started the proceedings.

Earlier this week JAMAICA arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the end of a mammoth 4,400-mile race across the Pacific from Qingdao, China.
Arriving in the Ala Wai harbour shortly before sunset, JAMAICA’s skipper, Simon Bradley, said,
“It was a long crossing, it was hard work. It was a bit like the Southern Ocean conditions we didn’t get, with the types of winds and waves, so it was exciting sailing. The crew worked really, really hard and of course we’re glad to be here.”
The restart of Race 8 from Hawaii to Santa Cruz will be delayed for a number of days while rigging fittings are replaced across the fleet of 68-foot race yachts. The replacement fittings are being manufactured to order in Germany and will not arrive in time to be fitted for the fleet to restart Race 8 on 26 March as planned. It is currently anticipated the parts will be ready for dispatch on 28 March and will arrive in Hawaii by the end of the month.
In order to make up for the delay it is likely that stopover times in Santa Cruz and Jamaica will be reduced, with the aim of being back on schedule by the time the fleet visits New York in early June.
The JAMAICA crew members who are arriving to help crew the Rasta Rocket back to the UK are scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on Friday 16th May. However, it is possible that the fleet will arrive in Jamaica one or two days later than expected, perhaps on Wednesday 21st May.
Plenty of time to acclimatise and enjoy a few ice cold Red Stripe beers and some of that legendary rum.
Well it's a tough job but somebody's got to do it. All in a day's work for team JAMAICA.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sparing a thought for those back home

As the race viewer shows JAMAICA is currently sailing past the Hawaiian island of Kauai and is due to arrive in Hawaii port within the next 24 hours where she will welcomed by race winner Hull & Humber, and the other boats already alongside in this sprawling marina complex.

Race 7 of the Clipper round the World yacht race has had it all for team JAMAICA :

Departing Qingdao, the whole fleet being pushed back because of adverse currents and no wind; anchoring in the middle of a race (is that a first?); snow ball flights on deck; disastrous spinnaker wraps (again); major engine failures (again); knowing 2 of the other boats have suffered serious mast and rigging failures; knowing that thankfully no-one was injured; miraculously surviving one of Katie's chocolate cakes.

Using some of RTW crew member Bernard Tissier's photographs from previous legs we would like to pay tribute to the crew on board but also think about the emotions of the loved ones they have left behind.

It takes a truly determined person to take part in this race, whether to participate in one leg or to sail 35,000 miles around the world in damp, cramped conditions affording no privacy, little in the way of comfort and thrust together with people you barely know. Deprived of sleep, physically and emotionally shattered. It also takes a truly supportive partner or family member to watch their loved ones sail off into the distance.

It means that it's all the more important to savour those times of humour, the camaraderie, the friendships which have been made and will remain for life.

Yet this is not just the experience of a lifetime for the crew members who are deeply privileged to be taking part. Their destiny is pretty much in their own hands. But what about their loved ones back home?

Here at jamaicaclipper.com we are in regular contact with many of the friends and family of crew members who are living every minute of this amazing journey but very much at arm's length, hanging on to every 6 hours posting to learn of JAMAICA's progress, agonising with them when they fall back in the rankings, being a JAMAICA crew member by proxy.

Ann & Bruce Brathwaite, Mum & Dad of RTW crew member John sent us this message last night, having received a brief e mail from the boat. They are clearly living the moment just as much as John is :

The problems should be fixed whilst the boats are in port although there will be a focus on the 2 boats needing re-rigging and on checking the rigging on the other 8 boats. Reading about the conditions between Singapore and Qingdao and on the early parts of this leg the rigging must have been under great strain and been from over 40 degrees C to below freezing - not to mention the crew experiencing the contrasts as well. I don't think that the welcome in Hawaii can come anywhere near the celebrity status the crews were given in China but shopping should be easier. Rations have been simple on this leg and all the goodies had been consumed by just over half way. The warm weather and good bars and restaurants will be at the top of the agenda - hopefully after a hot shower!

Ann & Bruce are not alone but their thoughts and are joined by many others who are not only following the race every minute of every day but are also travelling great distances to meet the crew at various locations around the World. Then there's the crew who have completed their leg and are back home resuming "the old grind" of work. How many of them wish they were back on board now ?

So enough about the crew - they've got it easy! They take the glory, can bask in the limelight, in the glare of publicity. Spare a thought for those back home. On behalf of all of the crew on board, jamaicaclipper.com would like to thank you all for your incredible support. We couldn't do it without you. Aloha! *

* Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, love, peace, compassion, mercy, goodbye, and hello, among other sentiments of a similar nature

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

JAMAICA to reach Hawaii on Thursday

Following the shortening of the race from Qingdao to Hawaii due to the dismasting of two of the Clippers JAMAICA is expected to arrive at the Hawaii yacht club on Thursday with both Durban and Nova Scotia, at which time urgent repairs will be commence on the dismasted Durban.

The first Clipper to be dismasted, Western Australia, has just completed a 30-hour stopover in Midway Island where they took on more provisions and enough fuel to fill their installed tanks (approximately 1,700 litres) along with two 50-gallon drums as a further contingency. They are still managing to sail under jury rig but now have sufficient fuel to motor if required during the remaining 1,000 nautical miles of their journey to Honolulu. The Race Team expects them to take approximately six days to complete the rest of their voyage, arriving in the Ala Wai over the Easter weekend.

Spirits on board JAMAICA are high, although the crew is understandably frustrated at the suspension of racing. Nevertheless, they know that safety is paramount and they have been carrying out checks and running repairs en route to Hawaii. More detailed examinations will take place once they have arrived later this week.

It really is from one extreme to the other for the crew. These Clippers are not built for comfort but for speed. They are focused on one thing alone : racing, and when not racing minds inevitably run to other fanciful things as crew member Katie Hearsum reports from on board the Rasta Rocket :

I made chocolate cake surprise today on mother - the surprise being that everyone ate it. A few suggestions for Clipper should they need to branch out following the 2nd dismasting were discussed today:

Clipper 18 to 30;
Gourmet Clipper;
Pipe & slippers Clipper;
Swingers Clipper;
Little Nippers Clipper.

Katie's creative skills clearly are being used to the full! Meanwhile fellow crew member Chris Parkinson added :

Spirits had initially fallen when the race was stopped & speeds dropped off as sail areas were reduced as a precautionary measure. All we wanted to do then was get to Hawaii as food is getting short. Once the motor was turned on, our spirits returned & we are looking forward to landfall with added enthusaism.

We wish them safe and speedy passage to Hawaii and a reet good feast when they arrive.

Friday, 14 March 2008

JAMAICA claims 8th place as racing suspended

As we reported, Race 7 has been stopped due to the dismasting of a second Clipper Durban 2010 and beyond. The safety of all crew members is paramount and until all of the rigs have been checked at their next port of call in Hawaii the fleet has been instructed to proceed without the rigours of racing conditions.

The Race Committee ruled that the relative positions of the boats at 06:00 yesterday would consitute the final result. It has now been confirmed, subject to any declarations, that JAMAICA had indeed overtaken Nova Scotia to claim 8th place. Clearly racing comes secondary to safety but we congratulate our crew as they have won their own mini battle to move up the rankings.

A number of readers have spoken of their concerns following this incident. Here we publish the thoughts of crew member Dan Garnett who will be joining JAMAICA in Port Antonio :

Safety for all of the fleet is paramount. Rescue and support from vessels by "Standing by" and escorting the stricken casualty to safety is what is required.

Concerns over racing and positions are irrelevant.

At this difficult time my heart goes out to all crews and skippers.

Dan from Devon (RNLI Lifeboat, Clovelly.)

Fellow crew member Duncan Bagshaw has also sent a message to jamaicaclipper.com :

Whilst bearing in mind the friendly spirit of the competition, the fact that safety is paramount and that the most important thing is that no-one was injured, I feel compelled to post the following polite observation:

Protest protest!

Durban appear to have been awarded their place according to their position when racing was stopped. An outrage considering they had retired at that point and could not have finished the race. It was their dismasting which caused the race to be stopped. JAMAICA's rightful place in this race is 7th, ahead of NS, Durban and WA.

Our sincere thanks to both Dan and Duncan for their contributions. If you would like your views published on the site either clieck onto the comments link at the bottom of this posting or write to : jamaicaclipper@stratadapt.com .

Due to time lags in receiving information from the boats we have just received this posting from on board JAMAICA which spoke of their experiences the day before Durban's dismasting.

We’re all a bit confused on JAMAICA. We struggle enough with the difference between ‘boat time’ and UTC. ‘What time is it in your world, Simon?’ we ask. The skipper tries to live by UTC so he can keep up with the schedules and correspond to the race team at home. It does mean he might get served an evening meal when his body clock is expecting breakfast, or it will be bright sunshine when he should be fast asleep. But as we never hesitate to wake him up anyway, it doesn’t bother us!

As we’ve been travelling further east, we’ve been putting the clock forward an hour at intervals. Traditionally, we should be losing an hour for every 15 degrees of longitude, but we tend to just move the clock on when it suits us. As long as we arrive in the next port in the same time zone as everyone else then it doesn’t really matter. I quite like the idea of us floating around in our own little time warp. But we do sometimes realise that we’re nearly there and we’ve still got 3 hrs to move on!

Then there’s the question as to when to lose the hour. No one wants to give up an hour’s sleep, though people would quite happily cut an hour off their watch. Our compromise is to change the hour in ‘dog watch’ – our 2 hr watches we have in the afternoon.

The confusing factor on this leg is, of course, the international date line. As we approached it we still needed to lose an hour to be exactly 12 hrs ahead of UTC. We could either lose it on the dateline, and then change the clocks by 23 hrs, or change it after the dateline. Sleep always being a priority on board the Good Ship JAMAICA, we elected to change in dog watch.

So, at about 0415 on 11th March, we crossed the dateline. The clocks immediately went back and it became yesterday, today, but an hour behind yesterday’s UTC time. Later the same day, which was still yesterday, we lost another hour, and became exactly 12 hrs behind the real world.

So, we’re not really sure what day it is anymore, or whether we’re ahead or behind the UK. But then we’re not really sure what season it is either, and can be out by months when guessing the date. There’s still a debate about what’s the due date for arrival into Hawaii, and all we’re really sure is that there isn’t much time before we leave again!

One love, JAMAICA

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Racing stopped as Durban dismasted

JAMAICA's joy having overhauled Nova Scotia to assume 8th place has been tempered by the news that a second Clipper has been dismasted in this leg. A full announcement from the Race Organisers has been posted below.

As a result the Race Committee has decided to suspend racing and the relative positions at 06:00 GMT this morning will consitute the results for this race, race 7. We are still waiting to hear if JAMAICA had already passed Nova Scotia at that point but clearly racing is secondary and the safety of the crews on board is paramount. Thankfully no-one was injured.

The announcement of the Race Organisers is as follows :

Durban 2010 and Beyond, one of the ten yachts competing in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race has been dismasted during the race from Qingdao, China, to Hawaii.

At 0610 GMT on the 19th day of the 4,400-nautical mile Pacific Ocean leg, the team representing Durban, South Africa, contacted the Race Office to report that they had been dismasted at deck level, whilst sailing in approximately 20 knots of wind.

There are no injuries on board and the crew of 16, including the professional skipper, is in the process of clearing the decks, cutting away the trailing rigging to prevent damage to the 68-foot yacht’s hull from the 81-foot (24.5 metre) mast, which weighs approximately one tonne.

The yacht, currently 780 miles from the finish line in Honolulu, Hawaii, remains seaworthy and a full assessment of the damage is underway.

Durban 2010 and Beyond’s dismasting is not thought to have been caused in the same manner as westernaustralia2011.com’s rig failure on Wednesday 5 March. A new mast has already been ordered and is awaiting a delivery date.

With 85 percent of this stage of the race complete, as a precautionary measure in the interest of the safety of the crews taking part in the Clipper Race, which is always the paramount consideration for race organiser Clipper Ventures Plc, the Race Committee, headed by renowned yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has told the rest of the fleet to stop racing and to proceed to Honolulu. The results for Race 7 will be taken from their schedule positions at 0600 GMT today, 13 March.

Durban 2010 and Beyond currently does not need assistance and will motor towards Honolulu as soon as the remainder of the rigging has been made safe. Uniquely Singapore and Qingdao, two of the other yachts competing in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race, have been diverted to rendezvous with the South African boat in the next 36 hours to transfer fuel and offer any support the team needs.

The crews’ next of kin have been informed and further information is being gathered by the Race Team and will be issued as soon as practicable.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Nova Scotia's lead just 6 miles in the Battle of the Midway

As the boats thread their way through the Midway Islands JAMAICA has reduced Nova Scotia's lead to just 6 miles following further spectacular gains overnight.

Last Friday 7th March we were 140 miles behind Nova Scotia but have managed to reduce that deficit in just 5 days. We will be watching the 12:00 schedules very carefully to see if we have made further gains and claimed 8th place.

The Midway Islands are signficant in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race and also have an important place in history.

Following the demasting of Clipper Western Australia Midway Island is their rendezvous point to refuel and take on extra provisions. With 600 miles still ahead of them WA is expected to make landfall on Midway Island on 14 March. As yachts are not permitted to enter or leave Midway in the dark, Barry Christenson, the manager of Midway Island, and his very capable team will be coordinating the arrival directly with Martin Silk, Skipper of WA, and the Race Team.

So what can they expect to find there on this unscheduled stop?

The atoll, which has a small population (40 in 2004, but no indigenous inhabitants), is an unincorporated territory of the United States, designated an insular area under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is a National Wildlife Refuge administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(FWS). The visitor program closed in January 2002 and there are no facilities at the present time for receiving visitors. The economy is derived solely from governmental sources. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.

Midway, as its name suggests, lies nearly halfway between North America and Asia.

Midway is best known as the location of the Battle of the Midway, fought in World War II on June 4, 1942. Nearby, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against the Midway Islands, marking a turning point in the war in the Pacific.

The Clipper fleet is making excellent progress en route to the finish line of this race in Hawaii. The ETA of the leading boats has now been brought forward to 17th March, although as the wind has now moved to the North and therefore coming round to the nose of the boats, their progress may be slowed.

Nevertheless, in our very own Battle of the Midway, overhauling Nova Scotia would be a tremendous boost for the crew of JAMAICA.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Rasta Rocket - like a heat seeking scud missile

You can feel the heat coming from Nova Scotia (that's the Clipper not the chilly Canadian Province) ...... their crew sweating as JAMAICA bears down upon them and reduces their lead every 6 hours.

At 12:00 today JAMAICA had cut a further 5 miles off NS's lead in just 6 hours' sailing and we are now only 38 miles from her stern.

Keep this up and tomorrow evening we could be claiming 8th place.

JAMAICA back up to full speed and closing in on 8th

It's full steam ahead for the crew of the Rasta Rocket in their personal race for 8th place with Nova Scotia ...... and boy they're getting closer as the graphic above shows.
At 06:00 the schdules showed JAMAICA had achieved 108 miles in the past 12 hours to NS's 94. That means that we have cut their lead to just 43 miles. Bearing in mind that on Friday of last week we were 140 miles behind the 8th placed boat, and this time yesterday still 85 miles, this is an incredible achievement.
It is a lesson in consistent sailing and what the race viewer above does not show is the course which JAMAICA has been sailing over the past few days which is effectively a straight line - no deviation, no wild tacking as we've seen from Durban seeking stronger winds up North - simply focused sailing from A to B. Of course wathcing the race viewer we don't get the full story but Captain Simplicity seems to rule the waves.
Up ahead in the distance (I can hear a verse from 'Hotel California' coming on) the top 5 boats are within some 50 miles of each other as they pass the Midway islands which will be the point of refuelling for the demasted Western Australia. With some 650 miles still to go for WA to this point, it's going to be a long hard sail under jury rig for them.
Over 270 miles ahead Hull and Humber are still leading this race. There is no way on this Earth that we will be able to challenge them but hauling in Nova Scotia would be a significant milestone.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Mick Moran the mighty man !

At 12:00 today JAMAICA made further inroads into Nova Scotia's lead in this race within a race .... for 8th place.

Way ahead of our earlier predictions that we would need to reduce their lead by 6 miles every 12 hours in order to take 8th place, JAMAICA reduced the deficit to 72 miles from 85 only 6 hours earlier. This is great sailing from the crew and if they maintain this consistency they will move up the rankings.

And reporting from JAMAICA this morning the crew praised the efforts of the mighty Irishman, Mick Moran, here pictured on the helm :

How many people does it take to drop the yankee 1? How much spam do you need to sail to Hawaii?

Let’s start with the sail change. Yesterday, we were sailing along quite happily with the yankee1 until the wind disappeared, bringing us nearly to a standstill. The good old windseeker was brought into action and we had the yankee back up again in a few hours. No problem. Dropping the yankee 1 when there isn’t enough wind to fill it is relatively painless. We need one person on the halyard and four or five on the foredeck. It is an enormous sail, very heavy, and with acres of fabric desperate to throw itself into the water, but if the wind is light enough and the crew heavy enough, it is manageable.

But what if, for example, the wind had picked up wee bit. Enough, say, to need a reef in, or even perhaps a second reef. Might not be so easy. And if you decided that waiting for the other watch to wake up would take too long and you’d best just get on with it, then you may well be slightly down on numbers. And if, while discussing the plan to reduce the sail area, the wind and sea state both start to pick up, you might well realise that this was going to be a bit more difficult than the previous day.

And it was. Conditions were bad enough that we decided to hove to, to keep things under control. At least that way the sail would drop onto the deck, rather than in the water. But once the halyard was released, the sail just didn’t move. The 44 knots of breeze that had just kicked in weren’t helping our cause at all. It really looked like it wasn’t going to budge, until the Boy Moran got on the case. With a combination of muscle, sail ties and sheer determination, the Irish Legend showed us his amazing pulling power. The rest of the cavalry arrived, bleary eyed but willing, just in time to help get the beast (the sail, not Mick) under control.
Maybe we should have done that a bit earlier…
And the spam? How stupid would it be to get someone who’s just left the boat to do the victualling for the leg? We’re a wee bit nervous on JAMAICA at the moment that we seem to be running out of nice food to eat. The hot chocolate’s gone, as has the mayonnaise, spaghetti, tomato puree, potatoes, carrots and baked beans. The supplies of biscuits and chocolate appear worthy of a ‘drop-a-dress-size’ diet, and we don’t even have any onions left. We’re about to go rifling through all the lockers and see exactly what we’ve got left over. We’ll not run out of food – don’t worry – but the next couple of weeks probably won’t be a culinary extravaganza. Another reason to look forward to Hawaii!

Closing in on 8th placed Nova Scotia

Whilst the battle for podium positions is taking place over 200 miles ahead of JAMAICA, she has her own personal fight to focus on having reduced the deficit to 8th placed Nova Scotia to 85 miles. After the equipment problems which she endured earlier in the race (and some of which are failing to go away) this will give her crew something positive to focus upon.

The race viewer above shows the reason why - Nova Scotia has taken a severe tack to the South and, doing so, has lost vital miles. For the past few days JAMAICA's course does not appear to have deviated one jot from the Great Circle Route, the shortest distance to Hawaii as indicated by the white lines above.

In the last 12 hours JAMAICA managed to achieve a distance of 8 miles more than Nova Scotia. It doesn't seem like a lot but when you consider they have some 1,500 to the finish line, which at these speeds would suggest a further 7 days' sailing, JAMAICA only need to achieve 6 miles more than NS in every 12 hours' schedule. That's is what her crew will be focusing upon and currently, she is bang on target.

Meanwhile, on board JAMAICA, spirits are good as crew member John Braithwaite reports :

"Wind has been better last 24 hours, Harry just had top speed of entire trip 24.8 knots.

Saw a whale off the starboard beam, about 15m away. It came up for air and then popped below again.

Its not quite suntan weather yet, so am still white ;-) its pleasant sailing though, not too cold."

Our thanks to John and best wishes to him and the rest of the crew.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

JAMAICA first to be hit by lighter winds

The lighter winds which were predicted to hit the fleet have arrived from the West - exactly where JAMAICA is - and has thus slowed her progress before the other boats.

JAMAICA is currently 235 off the lead and with the first boats due to arrive in Hawaii on 20th March it would take a great deal for even the most fervent JAMAICA supporters to predict an improvement on her current 9th place - but, as we know, anything can happen in a round the world yacht race and there are still over 1,500 miles to the finish.

We have slowed to 108 miles in the last 12 hours but already the leading boats' speed over water is beginning to fall. The one good thing should be that the stronger winds should also come from the West thus helping us first. And if they can then just stick in a little pocket around us until we catch up with the others maybe that podium finish could be in the bag after all.

Optimism or delusion ? I'm off the get a strong cup of coffee and a cold shower.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Dan the fishman looks forward to joining JAMAICA in .... Jamaica

Regular readers of these pages will be aware that Dan Garnett, a Devon fishmonger and volunteer RNLI crew member will be joining the crew of JAMAICA in May to help sail her back on the final leg to Liverpool in 1st place.

Dan is using his challenge to raise funds for the RNLI which is also the crew of JAMAICA's chosen charity.

In this article he gives us an insight into his excitement, preparations and fundraising ahead of his trip :

Notes From Dan the Fishman from Devon

As a crew man waiting to join JAMAICA Clipper for leg 7 out in Port Antonio I have been following with increasing interest the progress of the fleet from the safety of my computer and blackberry here in my fishing village of Clovelly.

I am excited at the prospect of the trip finally getting closer, after firstly training with Chay Blyth’s ill fated global challenge team and for the last 14 months with Clipper. This feels like a long haul and has become an increasing focus of my life. I started out with the idea of wanting to simply sail an ocean when I was 50 years old.

Where I live with my family I look out down the cliffs over to Lundy island and to the Atlantic ocean beyond. I have sailed small seas in mostly fine and occasionally storm force 11, fishing, yachting and RNLI Lifeboating over the years. But I have yearned for one big challenge; to go out of my comfort zone before I get too old.

I gave strong hints to the family that for dad’s 50 birthday it would be nice to perhaps club together and send me off over the horizon, then I discovered how expensive it was. I think they are now largely resigned to it and say its my on-going mid life crisis.

It has been great to learn new skills, make new friends all for one common aim to get our boat racing over the horizon. I am more used to putting down twin throttles getting up on the plane and topping 35 knots so sailing at 12 knots rolling our guts out for weeks will be so different. I am sure I will chuck up sometime too. The dynamics of working and living aboard fascinate me. To this aim I want to give it my best shot, have been physical and mentally getting fitter however still not lost enough weight.

Supporting my personal campaign and fund raising for our volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew I have been very lucky with local commercial and individual sponsors. It became quite apparent that what we are all undertaking grasps a lot of the publics imagination.

So looking forward to sailing with you all, we will be giving the fleet a chance to watch our transom disappear over the horizon, bring the winning boat home.

More to follow , I am off to jog on the beach at dawn in the rain with the “Green Gym.”

Dan from Devon .
Anyone wanting to contribute to Dan's fundraising can visit his web site http://www.dansoceanchallenge.com/

Surf's up and fast speeds ..... but not for JAMAICA

There's something awry aboard JAMAICA. The 06:00 schedule this morning confirmed that JAMAICA had covered only 70 miles in the last 12 hours, the slowest speed of the whole fleet including Western Australia who have no mast and are under motor. We've travelled nearly half the distance over the same period as leading boat Hull and are now 266 miles off the lead.

Nor can our lack of speed be attributed to a dramatic change of tactics. As the race viewer above shows only Durban has deviated from the Great Circle Route (as indicated by the white lines) which is the shortest distance to Hawaii.

It is true that our mid weight spinnaker ripped and half of it is somewhere mid ocean. Our heavy weight spinnaker is still being repaired by on board seamstress Bernard Tissier. But in these big seas the boats won't be able to use headsails anyway.

An insight into one of the problems on board was given by crew member Chris Parkinson who reported overnight :

"The genny works after a fashion. Problem is fuel supply, so we are taking it direct from jerry cans with garden hosepipe. There is no primary filter or water separator and so this could be the next issue.

Its all very messy and smelly and the same problem as last leg which, as predicted, didn't get fixed properly. On the up side, sailing is good & fast with no real windward work so far (all downwind thank goodness)"
Big frustration for the crew on board but also for all their loyal supporters in the UK, Jamaica and the rest of the World. Let's hope they can get back up to speed soon.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Ev'ry little ting gonna be alright

We're in a familiar position - it's 6 o'clock on Friday morning 7th March. We're 185 miles off the race leader and 140 miles behind the next best placed boat. We're not last but that's only because Western Australia is out of the race due to their mast breaking. So what do we do ?

Is it because we're employing the wrong tactics ? Are the crew on board not up to scratch ? Is the good ship JAMAICA not as good as rest of the Clippers in this race ?

These will be the questions going through the minds of our colleagues as they plough a lonely furrow across the Pacific ocean, yet the answers are simple - no, no and no.

Sitting in the comfort of our homes or offices reading this article we can only imagine life on board. It can be a lonely existance; with nowhere to go to "get away from it all" it's also easy to be lonely in a crowd.

"It's not the winning, it's the taking part". That's true, of course, but try telling that to individuals who are taking a break in their lives, their livelihoods and their home life to be on board. It's a journey of discovery of one's self and how we cope with our lives when we're really, really up against it and perhaps really, really down.

As the editor of this web site I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of crew members who have returned from their experience aboard JAMAICA.

Their reaction is pretty much unanimous : yes, it can be lonely, yes we have been pushed physically and mentally beyond our imagination, yes we have fallen out at times with some of our fellow crew members but would I do it again ? Yes, yes and yes! Are these some of the nicest people I have met in my life ? Oh yes! Has it helped me to view life more positively ? Oh yes! And what about your loved ones at home who have gone through hell whilst you have been out in the ocean - do you now appreciate them more ? Oh yes!

The crew of JAMAICA will be questionning why they are at the back of this race almost every minute of every day - after all, they have little else to do in the middle of the Pacific.

They have proved in the last leg that they can out sail all of the other boats when their equipment allows; they've got nothing to prove as sailors.

But actually the main thing is not where JAMAICA is in this particular race - it truly is the taking part and they are amongst a small but very special group of people who have had the courage to do it.

May they sail safely and enjoy their experience.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Race overshadowed by Western Australia's loss of mast

Devastating news came from westernaustralia2011.com as they reported rig failure and subsequent dismasting on the eleventh day of the race from Qingdao to Hawaii.

At 0600 GMT the team representing Western Australia reported that their 81-foot (24.5 metres) mast had snapped approximately halfway down whilst sailing in approximately 10-15 knots of wind under spinnaker. There were no injuries onboard and the crew cut away the trailing rigging using hydraulic cutters to prevent damage to the 68-foot yacht’s hull. The yacht remains seaworthy and a full assessment of the damage is underway.

This effectively puts Western Australia out of this race and they will have to limp to Hawaii under motor. However, the race is the last thing of importance and the fact that no-one was injured is, thankfully, a miracle.

Here at jamaicaclipper.com we are unashamedly biased towards our glorious team and, one has to admit, we tend to report events from a Jamaican perspective. However, the exceptional nature of this event, which after all could apparently have happened to any of the Clippers, has led us to publish WA's skipper Martin Silk's version of events :
Today was a day of loud noises, bringing out the special tools; a day of excitement, exhilaration, and fresh experiences.

Conditions were exceptional - sunny and calm; the kite was full but not bursting; the boat heeling but only just; and then crash, bang, wallop, it all came tumbling down. When the noise occurred I was at the Nav station, and I stared at the chart plotter thinking “what the hell have we hit out here?”

Once on deck it was a time for calm deliberate thinking, quick decisions on what to keep, and what to throw away. It was time for a spring clean; so out went the Number One, 6 spreaders, any halyard with the slightest wear marks, a few sheets and braces; and oh, did I mention half a mast?

Cutting the rig free whilst ensuring nobody got caught amongst it was satisfying in a strange kind of way, considering it was trying to smash a hole in the side of the boat; but also very sad, as my first reaction was to save everything and arrive in Hawaii simply looking for a bag of rivets!

It wasn’t actually fun as our race was over and our ‘Sultana Plan’ never saw its final glory, but every disaster has its ‘silver lining’, however you look at it. Dealing with challenging situations, having the rare opportunity to sail an ocean under improvised rig or simply seeing the strength of teamwork are making this a positive and enlightening experience for me.

Martin (shaken, but not stirred) Silk

It just shows the vulnerability of these crews in the middle of the largest ocean on the Earth. Whether supporting JAMAICA or simply following the race as an interested observer, one can only thank God that several tonnes of metal did not come crashing down on either a crew member or causing damage to the hull.

With regard to the race, JAMAICA is back to full speed again after the many disasters which have hit her in a mere 10 days of racing since she left Qingdao, including a disatrous spinnaker wrap, the anchor wrapping round the keel, loss of generator and water maker and, just recently, another major sail problem as Bernard Tissier reports from on board JAMAICA :

We did have generator & water maker problems, but these seem to be behind us now. This morning our mid-weight spinny broke and part of it got lost in Pacific. This lost us some miles while we recovered it from under the boat.

Making good progress now. I'm still repairing the heavy weight, but the mid weight is not repairable. Will have to wait until Hawaii. Bernard

The good progress Bernard referred to appears to have been confirmed by the posting at 12:00 today which shows JAMAICA having achieved 125 knots in 12 hours, second only to current race leader Hull. We are still 160 miles off the lead but the speed with which positions can change has been shown by overall race leader Durban having slipped from 2nd to 8th in this race in just 48 hours. This is due to their tactic of heading North to seek stronger winds and they are currently alone with this strategy as the race viewer shows below.

With over 2,000 miles to the finish of this race there is still a long, long way to go.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

JAMAICA out on her own

At 06:00 this morning JAMAICA's schedule showed she is 197 miles off the lead and currently achieving one of the slowest speeds of the whole fleet. With little communication coming from the boat (probably due to her conserving power for water making and navigation) we can only assume that the problems of a faulty generator and water maker are still slowing her progress.

This is demoralisingly cruel luck for a team who had pulled themselves up to lead most of the last race, only to fall back to 5th when the same generator problems meant they could only generate power on one tack. They must be tearing their dreadlocks out.
This crew has shown that they can sail consistently faster than the rest of the fleet - but you can only do that when your equipment allows and it is apparent that the Clipper mechanics did not manage to rectify JAMAICA's major problems during her stopover in Qingdao. If that is the case team JAMAICA is not going to be able to carry out any major repairs in mid Ocean and this is going to be a long and lonely crossing for the crew of the Rasta Rocket.
At this stage our only saving grace is that we are only 16 miles behind 9th placed Western Australia, sadly not because of any great gains by ourselves, but because of WA's folly in seeking stronger winds further North - as the race viewer shows it looks like she has now decided to turn back to the South.
The front runners have the luxury of sailing the big wide Pacific Ocean with many of them in sight of each other, a position which always helps crew members to gauge each other's progress and maintain motivation.
It is a desperate shame for our crew members that they are out there on their own and it looks like they will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
May your patience and hard work eventually pay off .....
..... and may the God of crap generators smile more sweetly on us for the rest of the race.

Monday, 3 March 2008

JAMAICA loses ground overnight

It would appear that the troublesome generator and water maker are causing further problems on leg 5 as they did on leg 4 and are hindering our progress.
As reported in these pages yesterday there are renewed problems with this vital equipment and if leg 4 is anything to go by the engine may only be drawing cooling water on the starboard tack, making tacking less tactical for best race position and more a necessity for keeping power for the navigation systems and lights. This may explain why we have had no e mail communication from the boat as they will be conserving their power for the more vital things.
Life is no bed of roses on board JAMAICA.
At 06:00 this morning, having made excellent gains in the previous 24 hours, we have slipped back to 140 miles off leader Hull and 70 miles behind 9th placed Western Australia which is the only team that has decided to go North in search of stronger winds. At this stage, as can be seen from the race viewer above, this appears not to be paying off.
Here's hoping JAMAICA can remedy the equipment problems on board and get back to some serious racing. It must be very frustrating for her crew.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

JAMAICA further reduces the deficit

The leading eight boats have sailed into the southern edge of a small, locally-generated secondary high pressure cell which has given them light headwinds overnight, slowed them down considerably and caused all eight to lose miles to the south.

This has given JAMAICA the chance to make up some ground and at 18:00 today they find themselves just 116 miles off the lead and only 75 miles behind 9th placed Singapore.

This small secondary high pressure is very localised and hasn’t affected either JAMAICA or Nova Scotia who have continued to make good progress; indeed Nova Scotia, taking the furthest most southerly routing has jumped a massive 4 places to 5th in just 12 hours' sailing. It just shows how much can be achieved in a short amount of time, weather permitting.

This small hiccup in the fleet’s progress will not persist for very long and will soon be replaced by the next in the constant stream of depressions that sweep west across the Pacific Ocean. But, while the crews may bemoan their lack of speed just now, the lighter winds will allow much needed repairs and maintenance to be undertaken.

Only now can we understand what JAMAICA has been going through as we have just received this posting from on board which confirms that not only have we had problems with the spinnaker and anchor wrap (as previously reported) we've had ongoing problems with both the water maker and the generator since leaving Qingdao :

“Another 24 hours has passed of ‘make do and mend’ on JAMAICA,” says Simon Bradley. “We’re making electricity and water now. Don’t hold your breath but things are looking much more positive at the moment. A repair of a very small section of the mainsail luff is taking place on deck, this will be completed soon and we’ll be able to hoist a full mainsail again and make better speeds towards Hawaii.”

No wonder JAMAICA has been so severely slowed by these serious problems which have beset them. In the circumstances, they have done extremely well to stay in contention and the crew must be bouyed by halving the deficit, as they have done, in the past 24 hours.

JAMAICA reduces the deficit

At 06:00 this morning JAMAICA had reduced the deficit of the boats ahead by 50 nautical miles. She now sits 150 miles off the lead boat Hull and 100 miles behind 9th placed Nova Scotia.

Both JAMAICA nad Nova Scotia have had a great day, having achieved more than 100 miles in the last 12 hours compared to the 50s and 60s of the rest of the fleet. Nova Scotia's tactic to go South has clearly paid off and as can be seen above the other boats have decided to follow her course.
JAMAICA has been watching the progress of the rest of the fleet, which is available to all boats every 6 hours, and has adjusted her course accordingly, although as the race viewer above shows, she has been maintaining a fairly straight course recently.
At this rate, another 3 days of good sailing and we will get right back into contention after the anchor and spinnaker wraps at the start of the race had hindered our progress.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

JAMAICA now 200 miles off the lead

It's been a difficult start to the race from Qingdao to Hawaii for the crew of JAMAICA.

Currently lying in 10th position we are 100 miles behind 9th placed Nova Scotia and nearly 200 miles behind current race leader Hull and Humber.

Conditions in the Pacific have picked up dramatically as the fleet sails away from the Southern coast of Japan on the long journey across the open Ocean. Winds are gusting to 40 knots and Durban has gained the most from these conditions regularly posting over 140 nautical miles in a 12 hour run. In comparison JAMAICA is achieving just over 100.
However, with many of the boats having broached in these conditions (the boat having tipped over fully 90 degrees with the mast and main sail sinking into the water) and with a long race ahead, it will be the boats which preserve their sails and equipment which succeed.

Western Australia has reported having to repair a spinnaker pole, Glasgow has broached twice and the whole crew of Nova Scotia is suffering from flu and fatigue.

This is going to be one marathon crossing and perhaps, just perhaps, JAMAICA have decided to sail prudently and conserve the Rasta Rocket in these lively conditions.

Will the tortoise overtake the hares ? Watch this space.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap year blues on board JAMAICA

As the image above shows team JAMAICA have rounded the Southern tip of Japan and are now bearing down on the rest of the fleet in the Pacific ocean en route to Hawaii.

It's fair to say that we've got them seriously worried. None of the other 9 Clippers are aware of our secret tactics and are wondering what we've got up our sleeve. Little do they know that to be 150 miles off the lead and playing a watching brief at the back of the fleet is actually what we had planned before setting off from Qingdao, oh yes!

The spinnaker wrap which put us effectively out of competitive racing for 24 hours was a smokescreen and they'll be laughing on the other side of their faces when we come in first in Hawaii. For those doubters amongst you - we will be reminding you on 20th March that you read it here first - JAMAICA WILL WIN. There's still over 3,500 miles and a lot of racing to go.

Ahead the fleet is splitting to follow two different approaches as the graphic shows :

There are two options to choose from for the onboard tacticians on the ten internationally-backed yachts competing in Clipper 07-08:

Go further north, cover more miles but stay with better wind strength and angles; this is a tactic currently being pursued by overall race leader Durban, Western Australia, Qingdao and Nova Scotia or

take a more direct route with fewer miles but with the potential for lighter winds and also headwinds, which is the option current race leader Hull & Humber, New York, Glasgow, Liverpool and Singapore are taking.

Only time will tell which tactic will prove to be the winning one. The speeds posted overnight seem to suggest that the more direct route has gained the greater number of miles and the tacticians on board JAMAICA will be watching both options very carefully.

But back to the leap year : we understand from our web cam on board JAMAICA that we have some very worried bachelors on board today. What could there be more romantic than in the middle of an ocean having a gorgeous Lady grasp the leap year opportunity and propose to her hapless beau ? Knees trembling (due to the constant rolling of the boat not in expectation!) she pops the question and back comes the response - "just one sugar thanks, no milk".

Whoever said romance is dead?

Thursday, 28 February 2008

JAMAICA reducing the deficit

After the disastrous spinnaker wrap on Tuesday JAMAICA finds herself in 10th position and 100 miles behind the rest of the fleet.
As the illustration above shows we are still to round Sata Misaki off the Southern tip of Japan whilst the other boats are already in the Pacific ocean, the largest ocean on Earth.
There is still a huge way to go in this race with the first boats scheduled to arrive in Hawaii on 20th March.
JAMAICA has managed to make up some lost ground over the past 12 hours as they have been enjoying stronger winds in the Yellow Sea than the rest of the fleet in the Pacific where the winds have dropped to some 5 knots. We will have to reduce the deficit as much as possible before the next big winds hit later today.
Let us hope that the bad luck which his beset JAMAICA is behind us as the crew looks forward to a safe and enjoyable crossing of the mighty Pacific.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The reason for JAMAICA losing ground

We have just received exclusive access to the crew on board JAMAICA. Round-the-Worlder and chief sail repairer Bernard Tissier has confirmed our worst concerns :

Another spinny wrap from hell!!.

Sailed on mainsail alone for 24hrs so lost out to rest of fleet. Am currently working on repair.

Weather starting to get less cold, but still not warm.

Our thanks go to Bernard for sending us this message and also for the fact that Bernard is the main person on board who repairs the sails when such disasters take place. His efforts are invaluable to our success.

No present from Santa for JAMAICA

Following the snow which fell upon the fleet at the start of this race we were hoping for an early present from Father Christmas to help JAMAICA on their way. Sadly, it appears Santa has not delivered a boost as the 06:00 posting this morning showed.

Currently in 10th and some 125 miles off the lead we have not been able to keep pace with the rest of the fleet. As we know JAMAICA had problems on day 2 of the race with an anchor wrap around the keel which severely delayed us but at this stage, and without any communications from the crew on board, we do not know why she is lagging behind.

Indeed if one looks at the race viewer at the top of the page it is clear that JAMAICA is following the same course as the other boats which means that her slow progress can not be down to tactics ..... regrettably something is awry.

The predicted northerly wind has increased and the fleet is tearing down the Yellow Sea covering nearly 250 nautical miles per day.

The current winds should propel the fleet of ten internationally-backed 68-foot racing yachts out of the Yellow Sea past the southern tip of Japan and into the Pacific Ocean over the next 48 hours or so.

Joff Bailey, Race Director, says, “The majority of skippers are reporting that they are either using a poled out headsail or are risking their heavy weight spinnakers as they break through the 20 knot boat speed barrier with one skipper reporting more than 22 knots.”

As soon as we can make contact with JAMAICA readers of these pages will be the first to know.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

You read it here first

Yesterday, jamaicaclipper.com predicted Christmas in the Pacific due to slow progress in the becalmed waters off Qingdao. Well it would appear Christmas came early to the start of this race.

We exclusively reported that JAMAICA skipper Simon Bradley, as lead skipper exiting Qingdao, had requested that the fleet could motor as they were in danger of being pushed back to the Marina because of the adverse current. This request was turned down but in the end the whole fleet had no option other than to drop anchor. When they resumed, thick snow lay across the decks.

In addition to hoisting sails made heavy by the snow and in yet another dramatic stroke of bad luck JAMAICA also had to free themselves from a tangled anchor warp.

Skipper Simon Bradley explained,

“We have spent an entertaining hour sailing our anchor warp off from around our keel where it had decided to wrap itself during the night! The three inches of snow on deck has made it all very pretty and our Rasta snowman was watching with amusement. One love!”

Indeed, we have just received this message from one excited crew member, Katie Hearsum, who also thinks Christmas has come early :

No time for email in Qingdao...only 1 day off can u believe! Light winds at the start which died after only a few hours. The tide turned so we dropped anchor at the end of our watch and got woken four hours later by a very excited JB because it had been snowing and it still is. Enough to build a snowman, dress it in rasta wig! Its fair to say its cold!

This has clearly meant that JAMAICA has lost time and at the 06:00 posting this morning they found themselves in 9th place, as the race viewer below shows, and some 38 miles off the lead, but a tiny distance in a race with more than 4,200 miles to go.

With our newly found clairvoyant skills we at jamaicaclipper.com are going to focus on a JAMAICA victory in Hawaii and if that works, we'll start thinking lottery numbers ............. if you know what's good for you you'll keep watching this space!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Team JAMAICA photocall

JAMAICA 9th after 24 hours

At 06:00 today JAMAICA had raced into a commanding 9th place, fully 1 mile ahead of 10th placed Nova Scotia (and counting) and just 6 miles off the lead boats.

There really is nothing in it at the moment. The boats exited the Olympic Marina at Qingdao yesterday at a snail's pace in becalmed waters and sub zero temperatures. The relatively slow progress has been confirmed by this morning's postings when only one boat achieved a distance over 12 hours of 20 miles - the rest were in their teens.

With each of the clippers travelling at just over 1 mile in each and every hour, it must be very frustrating out there and with still more than 4,380 miles to go to the finish line in Hawaii, Christmas 2008 somewhere in mid Pacific could be a possibility. Can Santa deliver his presents mid Ocean ? (of course) where will Simon stick his Christmas tree ? (former crew members need not offer any comments) will Harry be able to pull a cracker ? (that'll be a first)

With that borne in mind, may we be the first to wish all our readers a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2009 ?

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Hawaii here we come

And they're off!

At 1530 local time (0730 GMT) this morning Race 7 of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race to Hawaii began. The race restart marked the end of a successful stopover in Qingdao’s Olympic Sailing Centre and a dress rehearsal for the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The ten-strong international fleet crossed the start line in approximately ten knots of breeze from the south west flying their Yankee One headsails at the start of the 4,400-mile race across the Pacific from China to Hawaii.

Having stormed over the starting line in an impressive .......... 10th position, simply to lull the rest of the fleet into a false sense of security, the crew of the Rasta Rocket, JAMAICA, are keeping the other boats firmly in their sights.

Starting 10th is a clear tactical decision, oh yes! Having led Race 6 for 12 days, eventually finishing 5th, the crew are clearly employing a watching brief in this race.

At 12:00 today, as can be seen below, there was just 1 mile separating 1st and 10th place. If we stay that close to the leading boat after 4,400 miles we'll be very happy !

However, here at jamaicaclipper.com, we have just received an insight directly from JAMAICA as to the true conditions in the China sea.

Crew member John Brathwaite, had just finished a four hour watch at 11:00 UK time when he sent this message :

The fleet is becalmed off the harbour and skipper Simon Bradley (who had been presented on arrival in Qingdao with this rather dashing red cape) has telephoned Joff (Race Director) to ask if the whole fleet can use their motors. The first request had been turned down.

The crew have had their first meal and that went well. Apparently the supermarkets were good for shopping. Ralph had acted as 'mother superior' as Bernard had flown home for a well earned break.

John and the rest of the crew have replaced a lot of their personal equipment that went overboard in the conditions including hats, gloves that leaked and water bottles that got lost and equipment that failed in the conditions - ipod and torches/lights. Leaking boots were not able to be replaced.

It is clear from both John and Dinshaw's messages (see Dinshaw's article below) that they are testing all the equipment to the extreme.

Good luck JAMAICA and safe and happy sailing.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Memoires of a crew member and recommendations for joining crew

The Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht race will restart on Sunday at 1530 local time (0730 GMT) for the 4,400-nautical mile stage across the Pacific to Hawaii.

Ahead of the race start we bring you one crew member's memories of leg 4 and another's recommendations of kit for joining crew :

First, round-the-worlder and watch leader on leg 4 John Braithwaite recounts the ups and downs on the race from Singapore to Qingdao :

Ni hao!

It's great to write to you from Qingdao, it means we're all off the yacht, in one piece having finished in our best position yet, 5th. With a few days of luxury in a hotel the rose tinted glasses have started to set in and I'm beginning to forget quiet how tough the race up from Singapore was; a good thing as we are starting off for Hawaii in a few days.

This was the hardest race we have had so far. It was like living on the side of a mountain for 3 weeks in the winter, with the occasional gale blow over you, having to get up out of your sleeping bag every 4 hours, put on wet clothes and climb further up the mountain. For those of you who know my fear of heights fortunately the analogy stops there as the waves were never more than 6 meters or so. With the wind always coming from the direction we were travelling; be it North East, North or North West we were always sailing 45 degrees off our optimum course and with the yacht heeled over at 30 degrees it made for hard work living below as well as above deck.

We had an unfortunate 24 hour period where everything seemed to break, ropes snapped, sails ripped, the battery charger got flooded and the engine fuel supply (which we were then using to charge the batteries) failed. Fortunately our crew were very resourceful and a work around was found that meant we could keep our batteries charged. However, the engine only drew cooling water on starboard tack, so tacking became less tactical for best race position and more a necessity for keeping power for our navigation systems and lights (both of which also failed at points during the race!)

All this was more than worth it for the welcome we had in Qingdao. Its been amazing. The prize giving (normally a few speeches in a yacht club and a lot of beers) was a sit down 4 hour banquet that was live on Chinese TV for 4 hours. There were dancers, opera singers, kung foo exhibitions and Mongolian bamboo dancing which were very impressive, although we still managed a beer drinking competition!

Today we've been on a city tour organised for us, the highlight of which was a Taoist temple (see picture) and Tsingtao beer factory (Nigel drank my beer for me!) It's been great to have a few extra days away from the yacht, but now I am looking forward to getting to know our new crew on the training sail.

I hope you are all well and enjoying a British winter. I'm looking forward to sailing towards the sun again and the time when we'll be sailing in shorts and T shirts again, as opposed to the 8 layers that will be required when we start the leg.

Bye for now JB

Our thanks to John for his candid account of life on board.

Next Dinshaw Avari talks of his experiences and gives a valuable recommendation for future members of how to make life on board a little more bearable :

Dear friends

Reflecting on my experiences on Leg 4, I thought I’d give a run-down on the kit for the upcoming legs. The views expressed hereunder are my own- and may very well differ from what others on the same leg experienced (& these comments are targeted to cold weather legs) –

1) Ensure you have a good woolen cap which pulls down over, and covers, your ears (in my case, not only did I have the Henri Lloyd (HL) cap but I also wore a woolen ski cap below the former).

2) A scarf to cover the neck – somehow the wind and water finds its way in otherwise.

3) A “smock”??? I may have the name wrong, but basically this item covers the face and nose, leaving the eyes open to see through. It gives protection to the exposed areas of your face (especially the nose)- and if you’ve got a nose like mine … boy does it need protection!

4) I wore SEVEN layers of clothes under my red Henri Lloyd oilies (this represented ALL the clothes I had with me)- 2 woolen vests, 2 pairs of woolen socks, 2 HL long johns, 3 T-shirts, the black HL jacket and HL mid-layer (this was the best investment ever- salopettes and jacket). This actually kept me very comfortable (not the feet- more on that below). So many are not required if you have good warm underclothing/base layers/thermals. The main point here is that your legs and body must be warm- which was NOT the case for some of our team members. Good, warm socks are a MUST too.

If I did not have the mid-layers, I don’t know what I would have done. Get a good quality mid-layer (both the jacket and the salopettes) and that will act like a good insulation plus keep the dampness out of the rest of your clothes under the mid-layer.

5) Get good gloves – ones that keep your hands warm. Especially for helming, get good HELMING GLOVES. We were fortunate that Simon had one pair, which we transferred from helm to helm, shift to shift. We ensured it remained dry on the inside and managed to pull the last 5-6 days with these. If each of you get your own set of helming gloves, then when someone’s becomes wet from inside you’ll can at least share with others. Chris had an unique idea- getting gloves from dive shops which specialize in cold water diving.

6) The main problem I faced were the BOOTS. I’ll reserve my comments on HL for a private letter to that company, but please PLEASE ensure you get good, warm, waterproof boots; with good quality gaters which will ensure water stays out. Most of us were wearing plastic bags (in some cases two plastic bags) over our socks to stop the water getting into our socks & feet. That, though, did NOT stop the cold from getting in. In most of our cases, we might as well have been wearing nothing because our boots were wet from inside. Try Musto- I believe they are very good. If you feet are cold, you will be miserable and can lead to other complications.

7) Being a cold weather leg, there was CONDENSATION everywhere- on the ceiling, the walls, the sail covers, the floor. Nothing stayed dry. My suggestion is to keep some large plastic/garbage bags to cover your bags with (don’t rely on the boat’s garbage bags as these will run out if you’ll start using it) -which will ensure the moisture/condensation stays out. All my clothes were damp. Another thing is to keep your clean clothes in Ziploc bags (or self sealing bags) in your bags. This will also ensure moisture does not wet your clean clothes.

Relating to this, when you retire from your shift and want to get out of your clothes, put those clothes into plastic bags too- otherwise, in 4 hours these will be wet and dripping. Trust me, it’s not a good experience wearing damp clothes in cold weather!

When you go off-watch, get out of the clothes you are in and get into comfortable and warm, loose fitting clothes. Keep some spare sets of these “below-deck” clothes which you can get into. Don’t forget to store those “above-deck” clothes in plastic bags (other wise they are going to become wet!).

8) One of the best investments you can do is to purchase Ocean Sleepwear sleeping bags. These were damp from the outside (nothing you can do) but warm and comfortable in the inside. Ensure the sleeping bags are not kept open when not in use. I used to fold it up when not in it and let it lie on the bunk.

9) Lastly, the overalls/oilies. Get the BEST quality oilies you can get. The ones I had … well, the less said the better- they were absolutely useless! Maybe there’s a spray that needs to be sprayed on or whatever, but ensure you get those off-shore oilies which will allow you to do a sail change without worrying about water getting in. This is the worst experience because you will be miserable and cold as I was.

Friends, as mentioned, there is condensation & moisture everywhere. That means NOTHING dries. It is worth taking MORE clothes rather than less. Especially in the upcoming leg 5 (to Hawaii), the first 2-3 weeks are going to be cold & wet and possibly uncomfortable. The more comfortable you are the better your outlook and experience is going to be. There’s no place to dry your clothes either- once wet/damp, they remain so, unless you get some sunshine to dry them out in.

Those doing the warm legs, you don’t have to carry too many clothes because you can wash them once a week after your mother watch and dry them out on deck..

Hope the above helps and good luck to all of you for the upcoming legs. More than anything, ENJOY yourselves. This is an experience which will remain with all of us forever. The experience and fun is what will count in the end. Warmest regards.

Go Team Jamaica!

Dinshaw B. Avari

We extend our thanks to both John and Dinshaw and wish the crew starting leg 5 tomorrow safe sailing, great fun and Godspeed.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Richard Burton reflects on his experience on board JAMAICA

With the crew in Qingdao trying to catch up on some well earned rest, yet busy trying to fix all of the bits which broke, we bring you an article just submitted by Richard Burton about life on board in legs 2 & 3.

So whilst friends and family are planning your trip to support the team in Jamaica (availing of some of the great deals we highlight below) spare a thought for the experience of one crew member who is now back in blighty. And for those crew members still to join the boat, heed some excellent advice :

Just got back into the UK after finishing legs 2-3; that’s over a Month's holiday one cries after my two months at sea. I thought I would miss the boat and crew, but with my last sail being a corporate jolly it just felt great; no pressure just a nice trip out with lots of new enthusiastic crew and some old. Not much work for us to be done (well that’s how it felt). Just prep the boat for sea make 6 or 7 Journalists and guests happy, O and "just put the main sail back on and check those reefing penents they need to be good for the race. Sorry we did not have time" said Simon. Nice easy sail, put the boat to bed and I took the opportunity to just sneak off, hope I will see them all some time.

It's back at work and the brain feels over strained already, the body still feels like I've been run over by a steam roller. Have just started thinking (missing) about my mates on the boat and all those jobs I could have or should have done instead of sleeping so much or just sitting waiting for the next evolution or wave to hit.

The boat has needs:

High work rate, checking for worn ropes and as few mistakes as you can = fast boat.

Physical lost:

10Kgs in blood sweet and tears and 2ins around the waist, 20 grand, 5 pairs of glasses, 3 RH Gloves 2 LH glove, all my socks, Luggage bag in Heathrow (full of dirty washing and gifts from Fiji, Aus and New Zealand)

Physical broke:

Luggage bag, Camera, Phone, Glasses, No2 penent

Physical damaged:

Back, Left leg, Hip, groin, right foot. head and both ears

Physical gained:

a lot of very good friends and had a great time

Thing that made me scared:

Helming at night with a +30knt wind up the chuff
Changing down the Yankee when it's already to late

Thing I Loved:

Making Breakfast for any one (as long as it was porridge)
Music on the Dog watch
A good mother watch (lots of great mothers out there)
Helming with poled out head sail
Fixing stuff around the boat
Doing as many different jobs around the boat as I could
Getting off the real world just for a short while

My Top Tips:

If you are not fit for the start of the Leg you won't get fit only very tired.
Don’t over grind the main winch it will brake something.
Ocean wear sleep bag and a good pillow.
Ipod as a sleep and privacy aid.
Board shorts 2 pairs in place of underwear.
Neck rap quick dry X 2
Mid layer from Henry Lloyd best bit of kit I have ever had
Open shoes they dry on your feet

My thanks to everybody on the JAMAICA team, without you all this could have been possible.


Thursday, 14 February 2008

Come and support team JAMAICA in ..... Jamaica !

Following our successful finish in leg 6 (see article below) jamaicaclipper.com, in association with the Jamaican Tourist Board, is today publishing some fantastic offers for Friends and Family of Team JAMAICA to come and support your team on this beautiful Caribbean island.

Seen here preparing for the big event and pictured in the offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board in London are Elizabeth Fox, Regional Director, Torrance Lewis, District Sales Manager of the JTB and jamaicaclipper.com editor and crew member Nick Jacobs.

  • WHEN ?

The fleet is due to sail into Port Antonio Marina on Monday 19th May, 2008. Leg 7 which starts with the race from Port Antonio to New York will herald the departure of the boats on Saturday 24th May. Many of the new crew members joining the boat for leg 7 are arriving on Friday 16th May. Many friends and family are arriving before.

  • WHERE ?

About 100 kilometres from Kingston, lies Port Antonio, Jamaica’s third largest port and one of the island’s most important tourist attractions. Until the 1880s it was a sleepy coastal town. Then Lorenzo Dow Baker started the banana trade on the island and successfully promoted Port Antonio as a destination for wealthy American travellers and it became a boom town.

Now Port Antonio is untouched by mass tourism and is charmingly old-fashioned. It is developing as a centre for eco-friendly projects. It is the kind of place sought out by travellers who have no need for boutiques and postcard stands and it’s still possible to have lunch in a place where you are the only non-Jamaican.

Note from the editor : Port Antonio is a beautiful sleepy little resort and as a result does not have such a huge amount of accommodation as would be found in larger resorts such as Ocho Rios. So, if you want to stay local, do book early!


Our race sponsor the Jamaican Tourist Board has recommended local travel agents with a wide experience both of Port Antonio and Jamaica as a whole :

Charmaine Harrison
Managing Director
Great Vacations (CA) Ltd
Suite #10 New Kingston Shopping Center
30 Dominica Drive, Kgn(10)
Jamaica W.I.
Tel: 1-876-929-6290-5
Fax: 1-876-920-8139

Here are just some of the great local accommodations with which Charmaine has negotiated special rates : Jamaica Crest, Fern Hill, Jamaica Palace and Ocean Crest. Contact her for further details.

Many villas in the Port Antonio area are represented by Yvonne Blakey :


For further information about Jamaica as a whole you are welcome to contact the Jamaica Tourist Board in London on 0207 225 9090 or mail@visitjamaica.uk.com or visit their web site http://www.visitjamaica.com/


The following are placed in alphabetical order :

  • Goblin Hill

Goblin Hill offers one bedroomed and two bedroomed villas at special rates for JAMAICA clipper family and friends as follows :

i) 1-bedroom Superior villa (Wide Ocean View & king-size bed) US$166.50 plus 8.25% tax per night for up to 2 persons in the villa.
ii) 1-bedroom Standard villa (Ocean View & 2 twin beds which can be combined) US$139.50 plus 8.25% tax per night for up to 2 persons in the villa.
iii) 1-bedroom Garden View villa (Garden View & 2 twin beds which can be combined) US$112.50 plus 8.25% tax per night for up to 2 persons in the villa.

iv) 2-bedroom Superior villa (Wide Ocean View with 1 king-size & 2 twin beds) US$193.50 plus 8.25% tax per night for up to 4 persons in the villa.
v) 2-bedroom Standard villa (Ocean View & 4 twin beds which can be combined) US$184.50 plus 8.25% tax per night for up to 4 persons in the villa.
vi) 2-bedroom Garden View villa (Garden View & 4 twin beds which can be combined) US$171.00 plus 8.25% tax per night for up to 4 persons in the villa.

At the time of writing they have availability for over 30 persons.

Contact Jacqui Neil through info@goblinhill.com or visit http://www.goblinhill.com/

  • Jamaica Palace Hotel

The Management & Staff welcome Clipper fans to their 80 bedroomed property with the following preferential rates :

- Deluxe US$ 136.00 Regular rate is US$ 170.00
- Superior US$ 152.00 Regular rate is US$ 190.00
- Suite A US$ 168.00 Regular rate is US$ 210.00
- Suite B US$ 184.00 Regular rate is US$ 230.00
- Suite C US$ 200.00 Reguilar rate is US$ 250.00

Please note, theses rates are per room / night inclusive of all taxes and service charges.

Visit http://www.jamaica-palacehotel.com/ or contact them on pal.hotel@cwjamaica.com

  • Mocking Bird Hill Hotel

Already pretty much sold out for the event Mocking Bird Hill has just one room left at the time of writing at US$ 165 per roon including taxes. However, they are offering a number of special events for the friends and family as follows :

- A welcome breakfast on the day of arrival of JAMAICA clipper (due to be 19th May, subject to change) offering local specialities and a famous local band

- Complimentary shuttle from the Marina or other hotels for dinner

- Art gallery visits and afternoon tea

- Introductory culinary session to Jamaican cuisine by prior appointment

- Massages

- Tours

Visit http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/ or contact Barbara Walker on info@hotelmockingbirdhill.com

Please note the above list is not exhaustive and represents only the accommodations who have come back to http://www.jamaicaclipper.com/ with special rates. Please also refer to the travel agents and Visit Jamaica web site as detailed above.

  • Rio Vista Resort Villas

Rio Vista have a number of villas available as follows :

2 bedroom villas $185 a night for 4 person.
One bedroom villa $170 per night 2 persons.
Suites $115 per night. Deluxe 2 persons $90 per night

Please contact Sharon on riovistavillaja@jamweb.net


The Jamaica Tourist Board has negotiated discounts with some first class resorts away from Port Antonio including :

  • Superclubs

SuperClubs can offer 20% off UK rates for May 2008 at all Jamaica resorts. This will be only for team JAMAICA clipper family members. Prices to follow are per person per night at the standard or garden view category. Pricing for higher categories can be requested.

Grand Lido Negril $127
Grand Lido Braco $127
Breezes Runaway Bay $90
Breezes Mo'Bay $75
Hedo III $114
Hedo II $146
Starfish $58

Details of all resorts can be found on http://www.superclubs.org/

  • Couples resorts and sunset resorts

Couples would be delighted to offer the following special rates for the friends / family who wish to travel to Jamaica in May 2008 for the Clipper Yacht Race, details as follows:

- Couples Resorts - For stays 01 May '08 - 15 June '08
- Couples Ocho Rios, Ocho Rios - Superior Garden Room - £93 per adult per night
- Couples Sans Souci, Ocho Rios - Verandah Suite - £102 per adult per night

Rates are All Inclusive and include: 24 hour dining from casual to gourmet, unlimited premium brand drinks, watersports with instruction including scuba diving and waterskiing, tennis with instruction, unlimited golf transfers & green fees to the local 18-hole golf course (mandatory caddy payable locally), a selection of excursions including Dunn's River Falls, transfers to/from Montego Bay Airport, hotel taxes and tips.

Special Offer: £20 per adult per night off the above rates for Couples Resorts and Sunset Resorts. Not applicable to child rates. Please quote 'JAMAICA Clipper' at time of booking.

Bookings to be sent directly to Group Promotions ltd by email: reservations@group-promotions.com

  • Shaw Park Beach Hotel & Spa

Shaw Park is pleased to offer these special rates for the above-mentioned program.





RESERVATIONS : reservations@shawparkbeachhotel.com or shawparkbeach_res@yahoo.com


  • Sandals

Sandals are happy to offer a 5% reduction if you call Kamal direct on 0207 590 0202 or email on kabajee@sandals.co.uk and quote Clipper Around the World and she will be able to give a quote.

The crew of JAMAICA clipper look forward to seeing you in Port Antonio

JAMAICA finish in 5th place

Having led race 6 - Singapore to Qingdao - for 12 days the crew of the Rasta Rocket have finished in a highly commendable 5th place given the problems which beset them last weekend.

Regular followers of this site will have read the accounts of crew member Dinshaw Avari who confirmed that they had experienced 2 serious mast problems and 2 sail problems in a short 72 hour period as they were battered by heavy winds and seas. To have come back from that to still manage 5th place was a credit to them.
JAMAICA crossed the finishing line 68.7 nautical miles behind 1st placed New York.

Frustratingly she was only ½ mile behind 4th placed Hull and Humber, which after 2,600 miles and 19 days racing just shows how tight this race has been from start to finish.

It has also been a gruelling experience in relentless headwinds right from the start and as a result the fleet has made slower than expected progress to the finish in Qingdao. At a meeting yesterday the Race Committee, using provisions provided within the Clipper sailing instructions and the International Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), made a decision to shorten the course.

Clipper Race Committee Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “The main consideration in this decision is to allow sufficient time for the skippers and crews to carry out routine in-port maintenance in preparation for the next race to Hawaii. The Race Committee believes that this is the best course of action to ensure the overall safety and well-being of the fleet.”

With the fleet now under motor, JAMAICA is expected to arrive in Qingdao at 0900hrs local time Saturday 16 February for some well earned rest and recuperation ....... interspersed with some seriously hard work repairing those broken sails and ropes.

This must have been an incredible and life changing experience from the crew on board. We have just one word for you guys :


Wednesday, 13 February 2008

JAMAICA regains 4th place

At 06:00 this morning JAMAICA overtook Hull and Humber to climb back up to 4th place.
This is a very interesting time of the race as the fleet turns left to sail North West into the port of Qingdao which, for the first time, can be seen at the top left of our graphic.
There is sure to be much jostling of positions as the boats assume different tactics passing Shanghai to the West and sailing the last 300 miles through the Eastern China Sea and into the Yellow sea before arriving at their destination later this week.
JAMAICA now sits 10 miles ahead of Hull but is 46 miles behind Durban and Glasgow fighting for 2nd place. They, in turn, are 18 miles behind race leader New York.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

5th place overnight consolidated

The 06:00 schedules this morning confirmed JAMAICA had retained her 5th place. With sailing speeds on a par with the rest of the fleet it would appear that the weekend's problems which included two ripped sails and two journeys up the mast in 40 knot winds have been put behind them.
JAMAICA is only 38 miles off the lead where Hull and New York are separated by just 1 mile. Glasgow and Durban are 3rd and 4th and firmly in JAMAICA's sights. We are currently 20 miles ahead of Western Australia.
As the graphic above shows the teams will at some point today tack to the West, roughly following the white line, for the last push towards Qingdao port. With over 400 miles to go there are still plenty of opportunities for the leader board to change, particularly if any of the boats ahead suffer similar misfortunes to the ones which led to our descent this weekend.
This has been a very hard race with both crew and boat battered by the strong conditions. May they return safely and look forward to some well earned R&R when they arrive in Qingdao on Thursday or Friday.

Monday, 11 February 2008

JAMAICA slips to 5th

Having led this race for 12 days JAMAICA has slipped to 5th following a number of problems documented by crew member Dinshaw Avari in these pages over the weekend. Those unlucky incidents have been compounded by the very strong winds they have experienced sailing up the coast of Taiwan. Both the boat and the crew have taken a heck of a battering.
Hull & Humber and New York appear to have come through the weekend’s heavy weather sailing most successfully, at the cost of Jamaica and Uniquely Singapore who have dropped down the leader board.

JAMAICA skipper Simon Bradley says,
“Having lost the lead that we held for about 12 days we are now fighting to get it back. No doubt like the rest of the fleet we are licking our wounds after a couple of tough days, the weather took its toll on both crew and yacht, but we never give up on JAMAICA – One Love!”
JAMAICA now find themselves 45 miles off the lead sailing into the Eastern China Sea. Over the next 24 hours they will be taking a left turn past Shanghai to sail into Qingdao. But with over 500 miles to go, there is still plenty of time for them to climb back up the leader board.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Dinshaw Avari recounts the events which have slowed JAMAICA's progress

With 815 miles to go to the finish line in Qingdao JAMAICA was still retaining a narrow lead at 06:00 today as they sail off the Eastern cost of Taiwan.

This is in spite of a number of catastrophic events which the crew have had to deal with. Crew member Dinshaw Avari has just sent this exclusive message to jamaicaclipper.com to explain what has happened and has resulted in their slow progress :

February 9th

In the last 72 hours we've been hit with a series of unfortunate events :

1. The sheath of the main halyard came out and we switched it to the topping lift by going up the mast

2. Then the Yankee 2 sheet snapped - we replaced it by going up to the clew

3. Early this morning our Yankee 3 clew completely ripped in a Force 8 storm (40 knots)

4. Finally the top most batten came out and Simon went up to retrieve it, we brought back the sail and put it back

All this really slowed us down but no excuses,


Bearing in mind the adverse weather and the difficult conditions on board we are really grateful to Dinshaw for taking the time to explain today's events. It's all in the day of an ocean going race team.

The chasing pack is now really closing in on JAMAICA. We wish them better luck than they have experienced in the last 3 days and hope that they can continue to sail safely, proud in their achievement thus far.

Indeed at 12:00 today they were back up to racing speed having sailed 60 miles in the previous 12 hours compared to second place Hull and Humber's 59. However, our lead is down to 9 miles but a lead it still is.

It is interesting to see that Glasgow, which has been nipping at the heels of JAMAICA for such a long time in 2nd place is now in 3rd and 25 miles off the lead. This is clearly a very fast changing part of the race and the fact that Glasgow has lost so much ground is a credit yet again to the strength of character of team JAMAICA who are still out in front. Stick at it guys and girls - only 785 miles to glory!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Difficult conditions reduce JAMAICA's lead but at 18:00, a lead it still is!

The teams onboard the Clipper Round the World Racing yachts are still pounding their way north against the constant and unrelenting northerly wind as they make their way towards Qingdao. Most of the boats are choosing to hug the Taiwan costline but at 18:00 today JAMAICA has made a tactical tack to the East - this has reduced their speed over water to 56 miles in the last 12 hours. However, we are still hanging on and are 12 miles ahead of nearest rivals Glasgow.

Many of the teams have likened the experience of being onboard a racing yacht in the present conditions to “being in a washing machine on a spin cycle.”

It means that JAMAICA are not only struggling to retain our lead but also to keep the water out of the navigation station.

Skipper Simon Bradley said: “The last time I sailed through the Luzon Strait it was warm, sunny with a moderate breeze. This time wet, wild and windy are the right words to use, there appeared to be more water inside the yacht than outside, but that was just an illusion wasn’t it......wasn’t it??”

As they sail further North they are experiencing colder weather, particularly at night. Combined with the constant bombardment from the sea these are energy sapping conditions. Having left Singapore on 27th January, they have now been at sea for 12 gruelling days. With a further 7 days ahead before they are due to arrive in Qingdao we can only hope that their stamina can see them through this critical time in the race.

Our tacticians on board who have decided on this tactical tack to the East (as can be seen above) are having to innovate in search of a successful master plan. The position of leader, particularly after such a long time, ai so difficult as we have to be the first to try a new approach. The rest of the fleet have the advantage of playing a watching brief and, as the race viewer shows, New York, Singapore and Durban are sailing so close to each other that the Race Committee will have to investigate if this is the first trimaran to have taken part in the Clipper Round the World yacht race!

It is true that JAMAICA's lead has been reduced but they are heros in our eyes for having taken the lead so dramatically; in itself such a difficult position to be in. May Neptune protect them and fate be on their side.

JAMAICA maintains her lead

This morning's 06:00 posting confirmed JAMAICA has maintained her 20 mile lead over Glasgow with both teams matching each other's speed over water.
With another week's sailing ahead of the fleet they are currently experiencing very high seas as they pass Taiwan to their port (left) side. The weather files show the wind strengthening to 30 to 35 knots and coming more northerly over the next 24 hours, and then not abating until the early hours of Monday. This will mean a very uncomfortable weekend of tacking into the wind and a bumpy ride ahead.
For team JAMAICA if they can continue to keep their nose ahead and maintain the position they have enjoyed for more than a week it will be a very happy arrival in Qingdao; a podium (dare we imagine a 1st place?) finish would be just what the hardest working team in the Clipper 07/08 race deserves.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Glasgow continues to reduce JAMAICA's lead

The chasing pack is closing in on JAMAICA.

For more than a week now we have been ploughing a lonely furrow ahead of the fleet. We are still in the lead - and by some considerable margin - but our competitors are nipping at our heels.

At 06:00 this morning our lead over Glasgow was down to 31 miles. However, as the graphic above shows we are sailing through some very congested waters at the moment as we pass North of the Philippines and South of Taiwan. Up ahead there are is an army of more than 1o major islands protecting the entrance to the Eastern China Sea and which are making the choice of tactics difficult; which gap should they go through before they turn to the North for the last dash to Qingdao?
The high seas are making conditions on board challenging and the colder weather is setting in with the first appearance of the oilies overnight. This has been a very hard leg with the boats sailing into the wind right from leaving the Keppel Marina at Singapore. The first boats were estimated by the Race organisers to arrive in Qingdao around 14th February. Here at jamaicaclipper.com we feel the likely date of arrival is more like 16th February. If that is the case it shows what a tought race this has been ....
... and proves all the more what a fantastic transformation skipper Simon Bradley and his team have made to be leading this race from the very early days.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Still out in front - we bring you three reports from our crew on board

At 12:00 today JAMAICA's lead had been pegged back to 41 miles. Having sailed 60 miles in the last 12 hours, she has lost out a little to the chasing fleet but is still in a commanding position.

Indeed an exclusive report for jamaicaclipper.com which we have just received from one of our crew members on board, Dinshaw Avari, confirms that the problem with the generator they have been experiencing over the past few days has been responsible for the lost miles :

"Finally Simon & Ralph, working all night until 10am today, have managed to make a temporary fix on our Generator problems.

Because of this we've been charging our batteries off the main engine which only works on port tack, so we had to tack the other day and lost miles to others.

On the sea as we head northwards it's colder now. We've started wearing our "oilies". Very soon when we hit Vietnam we'll be in our thermals. Winds have picked up and so have the seas - high chops and bumpy!


As the illustration above shows JAMAICA has tacked to the East in order to follow race orders to leave Taiwan to port (to the left of the boat for the uninitiated!) Indeed, JAMAICA appears to be in a good position. If you look at the black line behind JAMAICA showing the direction in which she is sailing, there is every chance that she will be able to clear the Northern coast of the Philippines before having to tack Northwards passing Taiwan (the circular island in the top of the graphic) to their left hand side before turning left and heading North West to Qingdao.

JAMAICA can feel the fleet nipping at their heels but, having worked so hard to build up a good lead in first place, they are doing everything they can to hold onto it despite the various obstacles they encountered through the night: As Skipper Simon Bradley reported :
“Much of last night was spent avoiding two large fishing fleets and several large ships which, in turn, were also avoiding the fishing fleets and perhaps us as well. This meant little sleep and a high level of concentration from everybody on board. We’ve lost miles to the fleet which is not good, so now we’re trying to up our performance.”

In her typically stoical fashion crew member Claire Maloney explains why life at the head of the pack is serious business for the crew :

Well, it’s such a novelty that we’ll remind you again: JAMAICA is still in the lead.
Frankly, we’re going to enjoy this for as long as possible. Our lead is getting shorter, but we still have some miles in the bag, and are doing everything we can to hold onto them.

The crew are taking things seriously, and are supplementing their usual diet with fighting food, very kindly provided by the Jamaican Tourist Board. Daily Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee and rounds of Jamaican Rum Cake seem to helping. Unfortunately the rum that they also gave us is taped up in a cardboard box and stowed under the Skipper’s bunk - not to be broken into until we reach dry land. Sir Robin might well be right when he declared this a great incentive for the crew to get a move on to Qingdao. As Lisa said, we’re taking the rhumb line to the rum bar.

It was pointed out to me today that all we’re doing is sailing fast into the cold weather… We had a brief interlude of really beautiful weather today. Having been sweltering in the heat and humidity for weeks, we really enjoyed the cooler breeze and gentle sunshine that we had today. It was described as a perfect English summer’s day on the water. The layers are all coming out of the dry bags for the first time, as long sleeves are needed in the evening, but it’s still not really cold. It is still hard to imagine sailing in the chill of the Chinese winter, but people do like to remind us -frequently - that this is the coldest winter there in quite some time. Great.

Apart from the soon coming cold, it is the fishing boats which make sailing this leg so tricky. Last night we came across two fishing fleets for the first time. All we saw were about 15 white lights dotted off our port side, plus the lights on two large ships. The ships were avoiding the fishing
boats, we were avoiding the fishing boats and the fishing nets, and the ships might have been avoiding us but we weren’t taking any chances and decided to avoid the ships as well. It made for a busy night. Funnily enough, we haven’t seen any fishing boats at all in the day time.

The schedule is due in any minute now, and we’ll be checking to see miles lost or gained, and working out where the other boats are. Hopefully all still behind us, for now at least.

One love

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Glasgow make further gains on JAMAICA

The 06:00 posting this morning showed Glasgow had made further gains on JAMAICA overnight.

Glasgow achieved 72 miles over a 12 hour period compared to JAMAICA's 67, bringing JAMAICA's overall lead down to 41 miles. But as the illustration above shows there is still substantial clear water between JAMAICA and the chasing pack.

Nevertheless there is still a long way to go in this race as the performance of Durban overnight has shown who have managed to sail a wopping 92 miles in 12 hours, the greatest distance recorded in this race.
With the first boats due to arrive in Qingdao on 14th February we're still hoping to be able to send Valentine's Day congratulations to team JAMAICA.

Monday, 4 February 2008

JAMAICA maintains lead over Glasgow

18:00 and JAMAICA has posted 64 miles in the last 12 hours compared to Glasgow's 63. It means that JAMAICA has maintained a 47 miles lead over its nearest rival. The slight reduction in lead is simply down to a necessary change in tack by JAMAICA to the North East.

As the graphic above shows the chasing pack will have to tack soon so there is hope that when they do, JAMAICA can gain more ground.

There are still over 1,400 miles of racing to go but a long as JAMAICA continues to post speeds greater than or equal to the rest of the fleet (and travel in the right direction, of course (!)) we can hope for a podium finish.

This really is a game of cat and mouse at the moment - in the words of one of our leading supermarket groups ..... "Every little helps".
If anyone from that certain retailer is reading this article please send your charitable donations for our RNLI fund to www.jamaicaclipper.com !

JAMAICA leads the Northerly charge

At 12:00 today JAMAICA maintained her lead over 2nd placed Glasgow.
The first 6 boats are all evenly matched having covered the same distance from midnight last night and only 70 miles separates 1st from 6th.

JAMAICA is still 49 miles ahead of her nearest rival Glasgow whilst as the graphic above shows Hull, Singapore and New York are all sailing within sight of each other.
Meanwhile we have just received an exclusive insight from crew member Katie Hearsum as to life on board. Those readers with a squeamish disposition please look away now - but this really is what life is like on board an Ocean racing clipper :

10 things you never thought you would need to know

  1. How to use the toilet while bracing self with 2 hands and 2 feet against the wall

  2. How to sleep in a washing machine on spin cycle

  3. How to turn every meal into curry

  4. How to prevent an outbreak of Spotty Bott - When outbreak occurs (inevitable); how to cure Spotty Bott.

  5. On the command 'ready to tack' how to assume the brace position in your bunk

  6. How to land safely in your bunk after becoming airborne

  7. How to volley off flying objects in the galley

  8. How to drink JAMAICA's unique not quite salt free water

  9. How to bathe with 6 baby wipes and a bottle of talcum powder

  10. How to vomit through the guard rail

Our thanks to Katie for this factual and hilarious insight into life on board the Rasta Rocket .... and in spite of all of the above, they are still managing to retain the lead !


Glasgow pulls back some of JAMAICA's lead but her crew remain positive

Overnight Glasgow has put in a stunning performance, sailing 80 miles over a 12 hours period compared to JAMAICA's 69. It means that JAMAICA's lead has been reduced to 46 miles but an impressive lead it still is. As the race viewer (above) shows the fleet has tacked North overnight as the weather conditions have changed.

These are busy times for the crew on board but we are grateful to 2 of our crew members who have updated us on their progress. First Chris Parkinson, writing exclusively for jamaicaclipper.com explains :

Hi All!
When the boat is over on its ear like this it is hard enough staying in the nav station let alone using this rubbish keyboard! I have however lashed myself in so that I can send u this email - its ok you can thank me later!!
It is very humid here so sweating away but it has been getting cooler, so oilies came out but back to shorts and t- shirts today - strange weather. We have just about survived a week of beating at crazy angles. Only another couple of weeks to go! You know life has got strange when you practically have to tie yourself in the heads to do the business! We are getting seriously slapped around here and its not even rough. Sleeping is hard; give me downwind sailing any day of the week. Glad to hear its a mild 2degC in Qingdao, hopefully our diesel wont freeze!


And resident bard Claire Maloney speaks of her joy at being in the lead :

So it wasn’t just a one off schedule: JAMAICA Clipper is still in the lead! We’d love to tell you how we’re doing it, but we’re not too sure ourselves. For once though, we’ve had no major sailing disasters. Ok, so we’re beating into the wind, but this must be the longest time we’ve ever managed without having to repair at least one of the spinnakers. Our resident sail-repairer-extraordinaire, Bernard, is beside himself. Doesn’t know what to do with all this free time, and has never spent this much time on deck. We considered putting him on a ‘Return to Work’ refresher course, to help him get back into the sailing, but he seems to be just about coping.

It’s the galley hands that are suffering the most at the moment. It’s still pretty hot and stuffy below decks, though gradually getting better, and the heel makes for a challenging mother watch. We’re having our fair share of curries at the moment. If in doubt then turn it into a curry. Covers a multitude of sins. We had mutton curry last night, which luckily tasted a lot better than it sounds. We still have some fresh fruit left too. It’s always a turning point in the race when the fresh fruit runs out. It’s particularly devastating if it goes off before we’ve had a chance to eat it –or remembered which inaccessible locker we stowed it in. The potatoes and onions should last a fair bit longer, and we stowed them in their usual places so we shouldn’t forget them.

Obviously, life on board can’t go totally smoothly. We’re currently struggling with a leak into our comms area, and a temperamental generator. At least it’s keeping the boys busy trying to fix it. They’re much happier when they’ve got something to mend. And we wouldn’t feel right if it was all going according to plan…

One love,

Sunday, 3 February 2008

JAMAICA still in first place

At 06:00 this morning JAMAICA's position showed she is 57 miles ahead of 2nd placed Glasgow.

For the first time in several days her lead has been reduced slightly; Glasgow achieved 70 miles in the previous 12 hours to JAMAICA's 66 as the fleet sails past the disputed Spratly islands off the coast of the Philippines as our illustration above shows.

With many of the chasing pack sailing in sight of each other including Glasgow, Singapore, Hull and New York - in 2nd to 5th place respectively - their crews have the benefit of reviewing the tactics of the other teams and this is driving them on.

JAMAICA is still plotting a lonely course way ahead of the fleet as she has been doing for nearly a week now. It is a highly challenging position to be in but team JAMAICA are doing a magnificent job maintaining their lead.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

06:00 & 12:00 today : JAMAICA's lead increases to 61 miles

Giving the rest of the fleet a lesson is consistency at 06:00 this morning JAMAICA had yet again posted the greatest distance sailed in the previous 12 hours - a wopping 76 compared to their closest rival's 71 and an average of 69 across the fleet.
At 12:00 today JAMAICA posted a further 71 miles in the previous 12 hours and maintained her 61 miles lead, which is now equivalent to roughly 11 hours of sailing over her nearest rival Glasgow.
Second placed Glasgow to 6th placed Durban are all within 10 miles of each other but JAMAICA's lead over 10th placed Western Australia is now over 130 miles, fully 24 hours of sailing.
Indeed Clipper's own web site quoted this morning :
As JAMAICA extend their lead further in what appears to be in a race of their own at the moment, behind them the fierce competition for second place rages on.
It is sometimes more difficult to be leading a race as the rest of the fleet is watching your every move looking for clues about weather conditions ahead or even waiting for a momentary lapse. All JAMAICA can do is to continue to post distances at the head of the fleet, something she is consistently doing at the moment.
With over 1,700 miles still to go and nearly 2 weeks of sailing now is not the time to get complacement. The first of the yachts are due to arrive in Qingdao on 14 February where they will be berthed in the marina that has been constructed to host the sailing events of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games later this year.
While the drama unfolds behind them, are they leading a charmed life on board the leading yacht, JAMAICA? Not according to skipper, Simon Bradley:
“Bleeding generator! That’s what we’ve been doing for the last couple of days while we trace where air is getting into the fuel system,” he says. “It’s also what we say each time it needs doing! We might be in front but we still have the normal day to day problems to deal with as well as the problem of staying in front - but we like it!”

So far in this stage of Clipper 07-08 from Singapore to Qingdao, China, the winds have been relatively stable between 10kts – 20kts true from the northeast. This is due to continue for the near future and we will not see any drastic changes in wind direction or strength until the fleet get closer to Taiwan. Hopefully, this will continue to benefit JAMAICA's lead.

Friday, 1 February 2008

18:00 - and still JAMAICA extend their lead

JAMAICA’s rich vein of form has continued overnight and through the day.

Earlier today we reported at 06:00 that JAMAICA had extended their lead to 52 nautical miles. At 18:00 the lead has now grown to 56 miles. At 06:00 JAMAICA had covered 73 miles in the previous 12 hours. At 18:00 yet again they had covered 73 miles in the last 12 hours, yet again the greatest distance of the whole fleet. This is ocean going racing at its most consistent.
They are now 56 miles ahead of 2nd placed Glasgow.
Take a look at the positions chart above to see the mayhem going on behind JAMAICA to try to haul in our lead. JAMAICA has continued a fairly smooth arc allowing them to hold a North Easterly position roughly parallel to the white line of shortest distance between start and finish of the race whilst many of the others boats have had to tack aggresively to the North to try to get more favourable conditions.

“The pressure of being in the front is very different from the pressure of being at the back,” reports JAMAICA skipper, Simon Bradley. “First of all you have to navigate! But it is a pressure that we are very happy to adapt to, given the chance. One Love!”

06:00 Friday 1st February - and still the lead extends

Dare we say it? Things are looking good for JAMAICA.
At 06:00 today the race postings showed that the Rasta Rocket has extended its lead over the rest of the fleet and is now fully 52 miles ahead of the second placed boat Singapore.

She has achieved that by yet again posting the greatest distance of the whole fleet travelled in the last 12 hours - something she is consistently doing - having covered 73 miles; the other clippers are in the 50s with only two other boats just breaking into the 60s. This is impressively consistent sailing.

Since we posted yesterday JAMAICA has tacked to the North East bringing her nearer to the white line (above) which is the shortest distance between Singapore and Qingdao. Interestingly, the rest of the fleet has been so impressed by JAMAICA's tactics that they have diverted their course to follow her as the near horizontal lines in the graphic above show. It also means that JAMAICA has lost no time at all sailing back to the north - a credit to skipper Simon Bradley and his team.

Simon explained this morning that his team is up for the challenge of retaining their lead: “Life is even better than usual on JAMAICA, we’ve been first or second for the last couple of days and we like it! All we have to do is stay there for the next couple of weeks. It’s a good job we like a challenge!”
Joff Bailey, Race Director said: “Simon is obviously using his previous experience as a crew member in the Clipper 2000 race and his tactics of staying further east are paying big dividends. Not only has it given them a better wind direction, it has also moved them away from the adverse current found to the west of them.”

Jamaica has now gone as far east as she can for the time being as the team is approaching the Spratly Island exclusion area imposed by the Race Committee. This archipelago consists of more than 100 small islands and reefs whose ownership is currently in dispute due to their rich fishing grounds and the likelihood of gas and oil deposits in the area. For many years the Phillipines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia have contested ownership of the islands and many of them have military forces based there. In addition to this they provide a navigational hazard as the area has not been surveyed well and it is thought that the position of the islands and reefs may not be accurate.

Joff explains: “This exclusion zone will force JAMAICA to make more northerly progress over the next few days, however, looking at the latest GRIB weather file this may actually see them extend their lead further.”

For the entire fleet the headwinds are continuing to prevent good progress in the direction they wish to travel. Many of the boats have reported a night of tacking and headsail changes as they struggle to reduce the distance to finish.
The wind is forecast to move round to the east over the next few days and enable all the boats to make better progress to the north.

Hopefully, this will continue to favour JAMAICA.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

18:00 today and the lead extends even more

At 12:00 today we reported JAMAICA had extended her lead.

We are delighted to report that at 18:00 she has put even greater water between herself and the second placed boats.
As the graphic above confirms JAMAICA is now 38 miles ahead of joint second placed Hull & Humber and Singapore, having recorded a further 64 miles in the past 12 hours compared to the other boats' mid forties.
It is true that at some point JAMAICA will need to head North and this will give the other boats the chance to catch up but at the moment the greater speeds she is achieving clearly ratify this course.
This is truly consistent sailing and we wish team JAMAICA good luck and safe sailing to continue their success.

Still 1st - JAMAICA opening up a bigger lead

At 12:00 today the leader board showed a strengthening of JAMAICA's 1st position. JAMAICA is 28 miles ahead of 2nd placed Hull and Humber having covered 66 miles in the last 12 hours compared to Hull's 41.

As can be seen from the graphic above, JAMAICA has taken the most easterly position of the fleet and their tactics appear to be paying off. Even Western Australia, currently in 10th place and fully 71 miles behind JAMAICA has decided to change tactics and sail more to the east.
Only Singapore in 3rd place has managed to cover 60 miles in the last 12 hours - the rest of the fleet have sailed between 39 and 50 miles so this shows what a fabulous achievement JAMAICA has made, outsailing all their rivals.
The white line above is the most direct route between Singapore and Qingdao, and you can see that JAMAICA is sailing a North Easterly parallel course.

However, as Claire Maloney, writing from on board JAMAICA, states, this is a new experience for the crew :
This really is a new experience for us: JAMAICA Clipper first in a schedule.

No, it wasn’t a misprint, but we’re not quite sure how it happened. We’d just been sailing happily along, minding our own business when an e-mail arrived informing us that we were officially the closest boat to the waypoint. Now we’ve got a reputation to uphold here. Rushing is just not our style…

Needless to say, the crew were rather excited with this apparent change in fortune. The schedule has been printed out, and there have been calls to laminate it, for posterity. Not wishing to hog the lead, we’ve let Danny take a turn, and we’ve held second place behind Hull and Humber for a couple of schedules now.

There is about to be a fair bit of movement in the positions over the next 24 hrs or so, as the fleet pick their different routes around the Indonesian Islands. We all need to be heading in a NE direction, but that is exactly where the wind is coming from. So we are all tacking our way towards Taiwan, alternating between an easterly and northerly course. The wind never stays completely constant, so sometimes one tack is more favourable than another, and we are constantly switching.

As we start to head north we’ll probably lose some of the advantage we’ve gained so far, but hopefully not all of it. We’d lost sight of the other Clippers for about 24hrs, but are expecting to sight at least one, if not more, over the next few hrs, as our courses converge. Racing with the other boats in sight is exciting and keeps everyone on their toes.

This might be unfamiliar territory for us, but we think we’ll might just try and stay at the top end of the leader board for at least a little while longer.

One love,

As can be seen from the graphic below, the fleet is sailing with the Southern coast of Vietnam to the North, passing Brunei to the South on a course taking them into the South China Sea beyond the Philippines, Macau and Hong Kong to the North, sailing close to the South of Taiwan (the island to the top right hand side of the graphic) and into the Eastern China Sea before heading North West to Qingdao. With over 2,000 miles to go and only 71 miles separating 1st from 10th there is still a long way to go but better to be looking back to the rest of the fleet than enviously to the boats ahead.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

06:00 today - JAMAICA snatch back 1st place

With the first posting of this morning JAMAICA announced their return to the top of the leader board. Having covered 68 miles in the last 12 hours, the greatest distance of the whole fleet, they overturned the lead of Hull and Humber who only managed 52 miles.

The lead is slender - a mere 5 miles - and the boats in 10th place are only 21 miles adrift but this is good, consistent sailing from the team on board the Rasta Rocket.
Every 6 hours when the fleet post their positions the crew of JAMAICA are huddled around the Nav Station eagerly awaiting confirmation of their position. You can be sure that their regaining first place will have been a huge encouragement for the whole team on board.
True, there are still over 2,100 miles to go but team JAMAICA is finally having some good luck ..... and they're in the groove. Yeh man!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

18:00 today - JAMAICA retains 2nd place

Having reported yesterday the fantastic news that team JAMAICA had taken the lead in this closely contested race, we are delighted to report that at 18:00 today we are still in the leading pack and currently in 2nd place.

This race is so tight that there are only 67 miles separating 1st and 10th, but JAMAICA is sitting proud only 10 miles behind the leading boat Hull & Humber.

As shown in the graphic above it is a very exciting time in the race as the boats are negotiating passage around a small cluster of islands, the largest of which is Kepulauan Riau. 6 boats have decided to pass to the west of the island, whilst 4, including JAMAICA have passed to the east.

Indeed, crew member Harry Smith has just sent this exclusive report to jamaicaclipper.com describing their joy at having taken 1st the second place but confirming there's a long way to go :

At 3am local time today the skipper stuck his head through the hatch to announce that JAMAICA had polled in the lead for the first time. It was a great feeling but presented us with an immediate problem as the plan in setting off had been to stick with the pack, having sailed right past them all we needed to find a plan B.
We currently sit in 2nd being the furthest boat east whilst other boats have taken a more northerly route. The desired course is NE but that's the direction the wind is coming from and there are a couple of islands to negotiate so it remains to be seen who is best placed.
It's early days and the fleet is so closely bunched that positions are bound to chop and change over the coming days as we all tack NE. All we can do is enjoy being at the right end of the leaderboard, keep focussing on our course and speed, and hope for that little bit of luck that can make all the difference.
With the inevitable headwinds associated with the north east Monsoon this time of year the boats are having to tack back and forth across each others track to try and gain a few yards of advantage. This makes the leader board a bit unstable at the moment as one boat could be on the making tack one day and take pole position, but the next day as they tack back another boat can move into the lead.
Nevertheless, let's hope the crew enjoy their moments of glory and that there are plenty more to come in the race ahead.

Monday, 28 January 2008

JAMAICA currently 1st - YES FIRST ! WE'RE IN THE LEAD ! Yeh Man !

At 18:00 the Clipper fleet posted their positions and, for the first time in the Clipper 07/08 race JAMAICA is in first place!

Having covered 58 miles in the last 12 hours, JAMAICA raced into the lead this evening.

Although this is a magnificent achievement and a credit to all on board, the whole fleet is bunched closely together with many boats in sight of each other. JAMAICA is currently 3 miles ahead of New York, closely followed by Glasgow, Durban and Liverpool.

Nevertheless, it will be a source of huge encouragement for Skipper Simon Bradley and his team who have endured some miserable luck in previous races.

Simon and his tacticians are taking the most Southerly approach of the whole fleet and their strategy appears to be paying off.

As they are sailing up-wind this means that JAMAICA is crashing through the waves and water is constantly splashing over the foredeck; as a result they are having to keep the hatches closed. With conditions on board hot and steamy due to the equatorial weather conditions, closed hatches mean that the living quarters below deck are like a sauna. The crew is getting used to living in permanently damp clothes, sleeping in wet sleeping bags and trying to catch sleep when they can.

However, being first - YES FIRST ! - will mean that their spirits are not dampened.

After such bad luck in previous races we congratulate the crew and the tacticians on board and wish them a safe and happy journey ahead.

Keep going team JAMAICA - only 2,367 miles to go !

Dan 'the baker' Monk

Dan modelled his ‘bread man’ on the ‘hoff’ (in joke), Dan’s bread making was rather good when he wasn’t being distracted making bread voodoo dolls for ‘Jamaican Voodoo night’ which was indefinitely postponed due to some rather rough and as ever un-forecasted weather we had. 5m waves breaking from the beam, often the top 3rd of the bigger waves liked to find its way onto the deck!

The most ordered Galley - Leg 2/3

You could always rely on Neil to keep a clean galley!

Jamaica in 1st!!!!

Fantastic news..Jamaica Clipper takes 1st position. As I type this the 18:00 schedule reveals that Jamaica is now in 1st position, up from 3rd. What a fantastic start to Race 6 and we are so proud of all onboard.

Simon reports from the boat: “We are currently in sight of Glasgow: Scotland with style and Nova Scotia so racing is great fun as we monitor our performance against theirs.”

Glasgow and NS are great freinds of the Jamaica team but I'm sure they'll be no love-lost as the crews all race hard against each other over the coming days and attempt to beat the other boats taking different routes around the islands. It will be fascinating to see how this unfolds over the next few days.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

A great start to Race 6 for JAMAICA

JAMAICA raced into 5th place at the start of Race 6 - Singapore to Qingdao - which started at 06:10 (UK time) this morning. At 18:00 today she was keeping speed with the rest of the fleet whilst assuming a more Southerly position as the graphic above shows.
The Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht restarted at 0610 UT (1410 local time) on Sunday after a spectacular send-off from the new Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore. The ten yachts motored to the start line off Nongsa Point, Batam, Indonesia, where Race 5 from Fremantle finished prior to the fleet’s choreographed arrival in Singapore on 19 January to coincide with the opening of the new marina. In the sweltering heat and just 5-8 knots of breeze from the east, the ten crews struggled to maintain some boat speed at the start of this 2,600-mile race north to Qingdao, China.

Less than a minute after the start, the heavens opened and the crews were afforded some temporary relief in the form of a tropical downpour. The start of Race 6 to Qingdao will prove challenging for the teams as they race in the restricted waters of the Singapore Straits. With one of the world’s busiest shipping channels penning them into a tight area, they are being forced to tack in light airs to make it to the first mark, Middle Rock, which lies approximately 30 miles east of Singapore.

The crew of JAMAICA was sent on their way having received some fabulous gifts from the Jamaica tourist board. The presents were sent by Torrance Lewis of the London office. Writing from Singapore just before the start of the race today, skipper Simon Bradley sent his thanks as follows :

Dear Torrance,

Here's a big 'Thank You' from myself and all the crew of JAMAICA Clipper for the very generous gifts that you sent us. We received them today after they caught up with us from Fremantle, and what a marvellous surprise they were too! The rum, coffee, cakes and music are fantastic gifts and very well suited to life on board a racing yacht. Of course, the rum will stay in the bottles until we get ashore again in Qingdao, but there we plan to hold a 'Rum' party, inviting Sir Robin and the other Skippers and their crews to share in the hospitality of Jamaica! Please thank everybody involved in this wonderful gift and once again I can't tell you how pleased we are to have received them.

Very best regards to you all.

One Love! Simon.

Skipper, JAMAICA Clipper.

Keppel Marina, Singapore.

A traditional Jamaican party is planned for all of the crew members of the 10 Clipper boats when they arrive in Qingdao in mid February. Amongst the beautiful gifts that will be enjoyed by the different crew members were 16 bottles of Appleton Jamaican Rum, 16 tins of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and 16 Jamaican Rum Fruit Cakes.....

..... a little piece of Jamaica for all of the crews to look forward to after their 2,600-mile race north to Qingdao, the host of the sailing events in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where the fleet will be berthed at the Olympic Sailing Marina. The first boats are expected to finish on 15 February.

Keep visiting jamaicaclipper.com this week as we publish more pictures of the experiences of our crew during race 5.

Jamaica 6th and in a strong position

Jamaica clipper are currently in 6th position in a strong position, mid pack, as the fleet head East out of Singapore waters. I'm sure the crew will be happy to be back to sea after what sounds like an amazing stopover. Text's from several of the crew suggested that they enjoyed the signts and sounds of singapore. We look forward to their emails and messages from the boat as Race 6 begins to unfold.

Joff's race report indicates that Jamaica were 5th across the line, another good start guys, and their current position in the fleet is very strong with boats to the South and behind to the west....go Jamma go!

Crazy Mirages

During the trip the crew experienced some crazy mirages – you would be easily fooled into thinking this was the skipper holding a rope and looking like he knows what he is doing. As we all know that’s impossible it must have been a mirage.

Lucy '30°' Mayo

A very tired lucy Lucy cooking the first meal of leg 2 – the poor girl always seemed to end up in the galley when it was rough or heeling over more than 20 degrees!

Close quarters leg 2

Close quarters sailing with New York at the start of leg 2, we sailed over them, they came back, sailed over us and then we sailed over them again and out into the Bay behind Singapore – I love the close quarters stuff.

Best sandwiches on leg 3

The best sandwiches on leg 3 – made at the race start by Katie, one of the only decent meals she had on the whole leg!

Katie's Poem

I've been pretty busy since I got back but I've finally had a chance to sdit down and start going through some photo's from the race. I'll be unloading some of these and the stories behind them over the next few weeks. However, I wanted to start with a poem. Simon challenged Katie at Christmas to make a speech for her birthday, she declined but offered to read this:

Sea – Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all that I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield

For those of us who truly understand the ‘call’ of the sea I think this poem beautifully sums up how I feel when I go sailing or see a boat on the ocean waves. A love for the sea is not something that can be explained, some people just get it, it is a yearning deep inside that fills you with energy and excitement and the desire for adventure and escapism. I have been lucky enough to sail with and meet a large number of people over the last two years who understand this……

Thursday, 17 January 2008

JAMAICA finishes in 9th

At 05:55 today JAMAICA succeeded in winning their "race within a race" by finishing in 9th place. Qingdao, still currently racing, is expected to finish later this morning.

The team arrived to a traditional Indonesian welcome and the praise of the other Clipper round the World crews who have already arrived in Indonesia as the boats gather before sailing en masse to open the new Keppel Marina in Singapore.
Earlier today we received the last of the exclusive crew's postings to jamaicaclipper.com as JAMAICA crossed the equator. Dinshaw Avari wrote :
Today we went through the equator's "crossing the line" ceremony. Neptune's representative, skipper Simon Bradley, started the proceedings. The Judge, Ralph, read the charges against each of us and the Executioner, John, dished out the slop on us, Naturally, after the proceedings, most of us hugged Ralph and John with the slop on us.
Up to today we had good winds and averaged 10 knots; from the morning winds have died giving us 7-8 knots speed.
We're looking forward to getting to Batam.
Earlier, as he was preparing his concoction, the Executioner himself, John Brathwaite, confirmed to us what he had put into the slops :
I've just made up the punishment : water, coffee, porridge oats, pop corn, smash, tomato soup, corn flakes, spam, powdered juice and a sprinkle of herbs, he, he, he.
We thank Dinshaw and John for taking the time to share their experiences with us and wish the whole crew a relaxing time on Batam and Singapore.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Still fighting for 9th with 100 miles to go

At 00:01 today, Wednesday 16th January and with 100 miles to the finish JAMAICA has extended her lead over Qingdao to 27 miles. Achieving a distance of 86 miles in the last 12 hours she should arrive in Nongsa Point Marina, Indonesia, this afternoon.

Let's hope that after the disasters that they experienced at the start of this race with a number of spinnaker problems which were out of their control they will manage to cling on to a well deserved 9th place.

When you consider that in the last race Qingdao finished 3rd, their confidence will have been sky high going into this leg, but still JAMAICA has managed to out-sail them for the best part of 2 weeks. If JAMAICA has a dose of good fortune in the next race, sailing from Singapore to the Chinese Olympic village of Qingdao, this crew will be well placed to rise up the leader board.

With eight yachts now moored in Nongsa Point Marina, the crews have begun the task of deep cleaning their yacht, beginning routine maintenance and enjoying some well-earned rest. The marina on Batam, one of the Riau Islands of Indonesia, is where the whole Clipper fleet will muster ahead of the coordinated arrival in Singapore on Saturday 19 January.

The fleet’s arrival in Singapore will be part of the glittering opening ceremony for the new Marina at Keppel Bay. During the stopover in Singapore they will be berthed at the new multi-million dollar facility, the centre-piece of Keppel Bay’s premier waterfront precinct – the only residential development in Singapore to have its own world-class marina on its own private five-hectare island. It is owned by Keppel Corporation which sponsors Uniquely Singapore with Singapore Tourism Board as Race Partner.

Keppel Corporation’s Group Corporate Communications General Manager, Ms Look Fung Wang said, “When the Clippers make their Singapore stopover they will be hosted at the spanking new Marina at Keppel Bay.

“The Clipper yachts will add colour and vibrance to this new premier waterfront lifestyle hub, fast taking shape in Singapore’s southern coast of which Keppel Bay is an integral part. We believe this will help showcase Singapore as the Asian destination in which to live, work and play and promote Singapore as a leading boating destination in Asia.”

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

A game of cat and mouse as JAMAICA retains 9th place

The last few days have seen mixed emotions from the crew of JAMAICA. First, they had the most memorable day of the leg as RTW crew member Claire Maloney describes below :

It’s a unanimous decision: today has definitely been the best day of the leg so far, by a long way.

We arrived at the Sunda Straits in daylight this morning, and have had all day to enjoy the spectacular scenery around us, and enjoy the increase in wind that means we are finally sailing ‘properly’ again. Up until this morning we hadn’t seen a single vessel or sighted land since leaving Fremantle. Funnily enough, it was the trees that first got people excited. Sailing past rainforest-covered islands with little or no signs of habitation was amazing. We could make out the white sandy beaches, and spotted a shipwreck on a reef, but it was Krakatoa (or Rakata, as it’s now called) that everyone really wanted to see. And we weren’t disappointed. ‘

Son of Krakatoa’ is an active volcano and performed beautifully for us today. Every 20 mins or so there would be another billowing cloud of dark grey smoke produced from the top of the cone, which would then spread out across the neighbouring islands, making room for the next set of smoke signals. It was really spectacular.

We’ve also had to share the ocean with other traffic for the first time in many weeks. Not only have there been a number of ferries crossing our paths, but there are fishing boats everywhere. Traditional pointed ended junks that pop up out of nowhere and seem to dart about at random. A total nightmare, particularly at night.

The sun has now set, and on deck all eyes are drawn to the lightening storm to the west, where forked lightening is highlighting the clouds and the last of the beautiful red sky. Of course what they should be looking at are the flashing red lights dotted about that apparently mark fishing nets, various random white lights that may form some part of a fishing vessel, the myriad of lights that accompany the ferries and whatever illumination the large number of oil rigs decide to have…

It promises to be a busy night!

One love

Then Katie Hearsum described the anguish of seeing Qingdao catch up their lead :

Yesterday was full of geography lessons sailing past an active volcano - best day of the race so far. Today has been one of the worst though with Qindao sailing faster than us.

I was on Mohter watch too and life is back to the 45 degree angle; the brownies suffered in the oven. Nice to have some wind though.


And now Dinshaw Avari in this typically optimistic posting just received has confirmed today, 15th December :

Clear night, lovely stars, orange moon dipping below the horizon - just some of the sights and sounds (or silence) in the South China seas since we hit the Sunder Straights.

We've had good winds, lovely weather, and generally cloudy skies - making up for our hot, windless days. We saw Rikatu Volcano spew its ashes and gases (no lava) and got ff some great shots.

We have bee duellig Qingdao since last 24 hours. All looking forward to Batam island and onwards to Singapore.


Our sincere thanks to Claire, Katie and Dinshaw for taking the time out of their busy days to send us their experiences

At 00:01 on 15th January, JAMAICA was stil maintaining a slender 9 miles lead over Qingdao with some 240 miles to go.

Good luck to you all.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

John Braithwaite describes life on board

Although currently in 9th place, crew member John Braithwaite describes good spirits on board :

We've had an awesome day. We passed through the first gate at the entrance to the Sundra Straight and saw land for the 1st time since Oz.

Java to starboard and Sumatra to port and Krakatoa ahead in the middle of the straight.

The wind moved forward so we were able to pick up speed which cooled the temperature down - such a relief.

As we passed Krakatoa and were working out where the old volcano was, Son of Krakatoa, the new volcano, erupted, and let out a tower of smoke into the sky. An amazing sight.

Claire and Mick served up a delicious lunch which we all enjoyed on deck as we continued past the volcano.

We're now nearing the end of the straight and are ready to pass through the next gate. We haven't had a schedule as Joff and Lizzy are in transit so fingers crossed Qingdao haven't made any ground.

One love,


Saturday, 12 January 2008

JAMAICA passes through the Java Sea

Having been at sea for two weeks, JAMAICA is currently sailing through the Java Sea as the graphic above shows

After the misfortune of several problems at the start of the race, the crew of JAMAICA is focusing on the battle for 9th and 10th place as the rest of the fleet, enjoying much more favourable conditions compete 300 - 400 miles ahead.

It must be so frustrating for the team on board. All of the Clipper boats are very evenly matched. The leading pack, who were not bedeviled by the same problems that JAMAICA and Qingdao experienced, are closely bunched and the leading positions are changing on a daily basis.

Equally, at the back, JAMAICA and Qingdao experiencing similar wind speeds and sea conditions, are posting very similar times.

At this stage it's all down to pride and to that extra point that can be gained by finishing in 9th.

Furthermore, as the next placed boat is some 300 miles ahead, it means that the crew of JAMAICA will have to be at sea for longer - in current conditions for as much as 2-3 days longer than the leading boats. Hence they will enjoy less recuperation time at the next stage.

Keep your heads up guys, proudly bring JAMAICA home in 9th, and let's hope we have better luck in the next race.

Friday, 11 January 2008

JAMAICA clinging on to 9th as light winds prevail

JAMAICA and Qingdao are battling for 9th and 10th place with JAMAICA holding on to a 15 mile lead as they approach the Sunda straight which dissects the islands of Indonesia.
Boat speeds for the 5 clippers at the back of the fleet are down to 40 - 60 miles in the 12 hours to 06:00 this morning whereas the front runners are enjoying 80 - 100 miles distances.
It just rubs further salt into the wounds and proves how much time JAMAICA lost with the acts of God which were the 4 spinnaker problems.
However, as recent reports from crew members published here over the past few days have confirmed all 14 crew members on board are remaining resolute and committed. It just proves that it is only when you have taken part in a race of such proportions that you realise what an achievement it is just to be taking part.
Sure they want more than anything else to be winning the race but racing is just one part of the magnificent life experience this and, win or lose a leg or the whole race, they know more than anyone that they are all winners.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Yet another spinnaker problem for JAMAICA

When is lady luck going to change for JAMAICA ? As devilishly hard as the crew on board is working one unavoidable problem after another besets them, as crew member Dinshaw Avari, writing exclusively for jamaicaclipper.com explains :

Slow but sure progress - very light winds and extremely hot. All enjoying it though and all 14 of us clicking very well. Another spinnaker incident - lazy sheet snap shackle went so Simon went on pole and fixed it.

We're eating some great meals with each mother watch trying to outdo the other.

Dolphins swam along side yacht yesterday. Harry and I did our first solo successful bow duties when putting up the kite yesterday.


Fellow crew member Katie Hearsum nobally accepts responsability :
So guess what muppet was on the helm and blew the top off the medium weight ? Poor old Bernard had only been on deck for 4hrs after spending 2 days sewing the heavy weight back together; the heavyweight we wrapped round the inner stay & took 20hrs to get down.

Very gallant of you Katie but these are things that happen during yacht races. Nevertheless it does show the strains they must be under and the character the crew must have to endure these difficulties. We're behind you all the way guys!

As the leading boats exchange positions with every new posting due to the steady winds they are enjoying, JAMAICA in 9th place, and Qingdao in 10th can realistically only finish in those positions. With just under 900 miles for them remaining to the finish they have to put behind them their incredible bad luck and focus on the race for 9th and 10th.

They are all the more disadvantaged as at the back of the fleet they are both experiencing lighter winds than the leading boats which have passed through the Sundra Straights as the graphic above shows.

The area the fleet is racing through at the moment has many natural and manmade hazards. These range from shallow areas, reefs and volcanoes to a multitude of oil and gas drilling platforms. They are also keeping watch on Krakatoa which is providing a firework display to light up the night sky. As long as that's all it does, the fleet will be happy!

To ensure the safety of the fleet the Clipper Race Committee has included within the sailing instructions several safety gates that each boat must pass through to guide them around the various dangers and hazards. Clipper 07-08 Race Director, Joff Bailey, says, “There are seven gates between the Sunda Straits and the finish. For the leading pack the next gate is well over to the east so in the next day we should see them move in that direction rather than directly to Singapore as may have been expected.”

Joff says, “The winds are dropping further across the fleet but we do not need to make a decision on shortening the course until the weekend at the earliest. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that the winds are kind to all the boats and the whole fleet can sail to the finish line in the Singapore Straits.”

The fleet is due to muster in Batam, Indonesia, on approximately 17 January, with a coordinated arrival at the new Marina at Keppel Bay in Singapore on Saturday 19 January.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Life on board is no cruise

With JAMAICA sitting in 9th position the skipper and crew are doing everything in their power to try to retrieve the hours lost at the start of the race to 3 disastrous spinnaker problems which together totalled some 24 hours of non racing.

Putting that into perspective, the fleet has been covering nearly 100 miles every 12 hours. In a 24 hour period that makes on average 200 miles. How far behind is JAMAICA currently ? Just over 200 miles. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the maths. No spinnaker problems and they would be right up there and enjoying the stronger winds at the front of the race.

Writing from on board JAMAICA Claire Maloney gives the crew's perspective :

When you look at the little dot on your computer screen that is JAMAICA, you could be forgiven for thinking we’d been having a jolly nice time just pootling along in the sunshine, watching the dolphins play around us. Mmm. Let me give you a little more detail…

Over the last 12 hours we have lowered the kite, put it up again, lowered the kite, put it up again, lowered the kite- wait for it- put up the yankee 2 and the staysail, lowered the yankee and put up the windseeker, dropped the staysail, lowered the windseeker and raised the yankee 1, then given up on the white sails and gone back to the kite again. Still think we’ve been doing nothing? Of course the dolphins showed up in the middle of all of this, and were totally ignored as we were all far too busy.

And it’s hot. ‘Damn hot’, I think you’ll find. The thermometer on Harry’s watch reckons it was 44C today. It certainly felt like it. It’s been one of those rare days when it was actually cooler in the galley than it was up on deck. At least the galley has some shelter from the sun and a fan.
There is no shade to speak of on deck. There was a tiny patch from the radar at one stage, and a wee bit of shadow from the mainsail towards the end of the day. Queue the comedy hats. Tim takes first prize with his ‘sailor boy’ outfit…

The off-watch people have been trying anything to get some sleep. There are people lying under the fan in the saloon, sprawled on the sails under the open hatch or just braving their bunks. And anyone who has managed some sleep has woken up in a pool of their own sweat. Nice.

On the plus side, it has been very sociable on deck, as people are reluctant to venture into the sauna down below. There have been people queuing for buckets of water thrown over them, and Lisa has been helming with her feet in a bucket for most of the day. We were all wilting in the midday sun, but David summed it up beautifully with his comment: “Even Britney Spears couldn’t tempt me now. And I don’t even know who she is, but she must be good: everyone talks about her.”

It’s cooler now at last, and there is a faint possibility of getting some sleep, before coming back on watch at midnight. So I’ll just say ‘Happy Birthday’ to my brother, Neil, and sign off for the evening.

One love, Claire
Good luck Claire and the rest of the crew and rest assured that we are supporting your magnificent efforts.

JAMAICA storms past Qingdao

Overnight JAMAICA has raced past team Qingdao to claim 9th place as the leading boats pass Christmas island.

JAMAICA is currently 10 miles ahead of Qingdao but with 8th placed Singapore 100 miles in the distance and the leading boats over 200 miles away there is still a lot of work the crew needs to do to be able to move further up the leader board after their unfortunate spinnaker wrap on day which stopped them racing for 20 hours.

As the graphic to the left shows the leading boats Nova Scotia, Durban, Liverpool and New York are all passing to the east of Christmas island but Glasgow and Hull appear to be taking a course to the west. On their current course, JAMAICA appears to be able to pass to the west of the island and the tacticians on board will be watching the performance of the leading boats to see whether there is a benefit passing one side of the other. This should allow JAMAICA to make up some distance :

Christmas Island, which lies directly between them and the Sunda Straits, is where the fleet will round the first waypoint of Race 5. It is only eleven miles in diameter however its peak stands at 348 metres. This will form a major obstacle and no doubt all of the skippers and tacticians will be wondering how to deal with it.

With the boats so close together and the weather pattern stabilising for the time being, all ten of the 68-foot ocean racing yachts will be experiencing identical conditions. The wind has now settled in the southeast and decreased to 10 knots. These conditions look set to continue for the next 24 hours before the breeze drops to five knots or less and swings around to the West. With such fickle winds a 348 metre-high island will cause a significant wind shadow.

The obvious answer for the tacticians is to pass on the westerly side of the island. However, with the fleet so tightly packed and the light airs this will not be as easy for the more easterly yachts as they will have to sail closer to the wind than those to the west. This situation will be further exacerbated as the wind swings to the west and it could be costly in the current conditions; if they do choose to sail to the east of Christmas Island they could very easily become totally becalmed, a situation they faced in the Canaries during Leg 1 and one none of the skippers or the crew wants to repeat.
Thereafter, the boats continue North to pass through "the gate" of Indonesia - as the white line on the graphic show - before heading north-east past the Indonesia capital Jakarta, then north-west past the island of Pulao Belitung and a straight course to Singapore in time for the grand opening of Keppel Bay on 19th January.

Monday, 7 January 2008

JAMAICA changes course as light winds and extreme heat hits the fleet

With some 1,400 miles still to go, JAMAICA posted her latest position at 06:00 this morning to reveal a change in course. Having looked to take a more westerly approach following the 3 spinnaker problems over the first few days of this race she is now sailing to the North in an attempt to catch up with the rest of the fleet as our graphic above shows. She is still lying in 10th place and is some 197 miles off the lead, chsing down Qingdao 30 miles ahead.

Add to that the difficult conditions of extreme heat and lightening winds and it makes for really challenging sailing. Remarkably, however, spirits remain high as skipper Simon Bradley reported earlier :

“Very hot and sunny on deck, very hot and sweaty below decks! We’ve got sun hats, sun glasses, sun cream and two buckets of water for the helmsman - one for each foot to stand in. What will it be like when it really gets hot?”

Race Director Joff Bailey said: “With the heat still forecast to increase and the winds to drop it will be very hard for the skippers and crews to stay focused. The team that manages to continue concentrating despite the heat will walk away with the prizes in this very challenging race.”

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Spirits high but no end of bad luck for JAMAICA

With JAMAICA currently lying in 10th position, we bring you two reports from crew members on board explaining the poor luck they have had since leaving Western Australia.

You will remember that just after the start of the race JAMAICA effectively had to stop racing for 20 hours as the Spinnaker wrapped around the forestay. They have just experienced another Spinnaker problem as Dinshaw Avari, writing from on board JAMAICA, explained :

December 5th.

We're having a good time. Sailing at night is fun and exciting but a little intimidating when helming in heavy seas.

Last night we passed high seas of up to 3 metres and are now back to normal 1.5 - 2 metre waves.

The mid weight spinnaker just blew into 2 pieces. We recovered it in less than 1 hour with John Braithwaite going up the mast and now sailing again with a poled out Yankee 2.

So far 2 ripped kites and 2 blown in half ..... no luck but spirits high and all crew healthy and happy.

Dinshaw and Harry.

Earlier today before the spinnaker blew Claire Maloney posted this report :

It’s day four of leg 4 of the race, and the skipper and crew of JAMAICA are getting used to being back at sea. The Fremantle stopover was a real hit with everyone, but we were spoilt with the hot showers, comfortable beds, restaurants and bars. No sooner had we removed the smell of boat from our clothes, skin and hair then it was back on the water once more. Just as well most of us enjoy being at sea!

This leg sees the biggest crew change for us yet. We lost six people (yes, there were tears involved), and gained six more. We tried to stow Lucy away to bring her with us – she’s only little – but at least she’ll be back for Leg 7. Dinshaw has rejoined us, on top form, after his accident on Leg 1, and was properly initiated once more into the crew by receiving a flying fish in his face whilst helming last night.

In true JAMAICA style we had a mini-drama within the first 24 hours. We thought we’d been getting better at avoiding spinnaker wraps. Clearly not. The ‘spinnaker wrap from hell’ took a record 20 hours to sort out, during which time we were sailing with just a mainsail. It took teamwork, ingenuity, multiple trips up the mast and a whole lot of chocolate to get the sail down. At least the new crew members have now experienced the full range of spinnaker sailing…

Consequently, we don’t appear to be leading this race at present. But, as we aren’t as far behind as we were anticipating, we’re quite pleased. Today’s sailing has been fantastic. My favourite conditions: sunny, shorts and t-shirt weather, with rolling surf building steadily behind us. There are blue skies with a bit of cloud and the sea is a beautiful ‘inky-blue’ colour, as Sara described it. We are making good speeds in pretty much the right direction, and it’s nearly supper time. What more could we possibly ask for?

One love, Claire

Our sincere thanks to Claire, Dinshaw and Harry for taking time out of their very busy days to keep us informed of life on board the Rasta Rocket.

As the graphic above shows, JAMAICA is continuing its westerly course. Having lost so much time through the 3 spinnaker problems which have occurred and currently sailing in 10th place the tacticians can afford to take some chances to try to push them up the rankings.

Over the next few days the whole fleet will be entering an area of lighter and more unpredictable winds as they get closer and closer to the Monsoon trough which lies in the path of the fleet between Australia and Indonesia. It is an area of low pressure and is effectively an ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone) similar to the Doldrums in the Atlantic Ocean.

By keeping west there is a chance that they can retain these strong winds they are currently enjoying longer and gain an advantage on the rest of the fleet to the east.

Let's hope that God is a Jamaican.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

JAMAICA continuing to take a westerly course

JAMAICA, Uniquely Singapore, Qingdao and, to a certain extent, Hull & Humber have continued to make further progress west. This has meant that they have lost some miles by not making as good progress towards the finish as the leading yachts.
Race Director Joff Bailey explains why. “This move west is not an attempt to get stronger winds but to try to retain the wind they have for longer as they get closer to the area of lighter winds ahead of them. This is a longer-term strategy that could pay off over the next four or five days.”

Simon Bradley, JAMAICA’s skipper said this morning, “Another busy night of trying to make the boat go faster and in the right direction. We’ve lost some miles to the rest of the fleet so we’re not too happy about that, but we’re working hard to try and regain lost ground. Crew morale is high and there is much laughter to be heard in between the mantra of ‘Trim-Ease’. This is a relatively short race but a lot can happen between here and Singapore, the area is notorious for light and fickle winds.”

Over the next few days the whole fleet will be entering an area of lighter and more unpredictable winds as they get closer and closer to the Monsoon trough which lies in the path of the fleet between Australia and Indonesia. It is an area of low pressure and is effectively an ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone) similar to the Doldrums in the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday, 4 January 2008

JAMAICA plots the most westerly course as the boats leave the west coast of Australia

As the fleet heads north the temperature rises with midday temperatures on deck close to 40C and even hotter below decks. The humidity is hardest to cope with and this will soon be climbing towards 90 percent as they head north towards the Tropics.

After having lost some 20 hours of racing due to the wrapped spinnaker JAMAICA has clearly decided to take a more westerly route than the rest of the fleet in order seek stronger winds to try to make up some of the lost ground. The tacticians on board will have been closely watching the other boats and will have seen westernaustralia2011.com making a tactical move by staying further inshore after the start, relying on local knowledge to try to give them an advantage. This has backfired and they have now moved further offshore in hot pursuit of the boats ahead.

The remains of the tropical cyclone Melanie will be causing the navigators some headaches over the next few days as there are areas of very disturbed air and lumpy seas. The three options are to go west, go east or straight on through the middle.

Currently lying in 9th place, JAMAICA appears to have taken the decision to skirt around the lighter air in the middle of the wake of the storm and seek stronger winds to the west.

Keep logging on to jamaicaclipper.com to get first hand news from the crew on board about the progress they are making.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

JAMAICA gains a place after yesterday's spinnaker wrap

You read it here first ! The spinnaker wrap which took JAMAICA 20 hours to resolve and which we reported yesterday on these pages has today been reported on the official Clipper web site.

Readers will remember that crew members Harry Smith and Dinshaw Avari reported the incident to us soon after "all hands on deck" had managed to unravel the offending kite. This morning the clipper site confirmed skipper Simon Bradley's report to them :

JAMAICA lost several miles during the 12 hours to 0600 GMT as they battled with a massive spinnaker wrap that occurred overnight. Skipper Simon Bradley explained the challenge they faced in his morning email to the Race Office. “We’ve just finished clearing up the spinnaker wrap from hell. It’s taken us 20 hours to get the spinnaker down from its wrap around the inner forestay. I’ve never seen a wrap like it in 80,000 miles of sailing. The whole crew have been involved in this interesting and challenging task.”

Writing separately and exclusively for jamaicaclipper.com crew member John Brathwaite explained his account of yesterday's "challenge" :

The race out of the harbour was spectacular with loads of support for JAMAICA clipper from departing crew and FAFs (Family and Friends). We headed up the coast to round the Lewin and found a rip in our spinnaker so had to do a drop and fix. Once past the next mark we hoisted the H/W kite heading for Singapore. A few mile on the kite wrapped on the innerstay...that lead to 19hrs of going up the mast to pull it and cut it down. It's now down and we are sailing under spinnaker again. All of the crew were involved in getting the kite down & many went up the mast numerous times, an awesome job. We've now got to catch the fleet, with the strong wind that is forecast for the next few days.

And catch the fleet they are doing. Their posting at 06:00 GMT this morning showed that they had already caught and passed Singapore, as the graphic shows, and are gaining on the other boats, a remarkable achievement when you consider they lost 20 hours of competitive racing. With Western Australia clipper firmly in their sights and just 11 miles ahead keep watching these pages as we hope to report continuing progress.

Meanwhile regular readers will be aware that the crew of JAMAICA have adopted the RNLI as our chosen charity and are holding an Immersion Suit Challenge in each of the stopover ports to raise money.

In Fremantle the challenge raised AUS$575.20 (approx £256.00 sterling), half of which will go to the RNLI and the other half to Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Direct from on board JAMAICA speak of an unlucky spinnaker wrap

Readers of jamaicaclipper.com will have seen that since race start yesterday JAMAICA has slipped to 10th place.

We have just received an exclusive report directly from the boat which explains the reason for her moving down the leader board.

Crew members Dinshaw Avari and Harry Smith explain the events of the last 24 hours :

After a good race start in the harbour where we managed at one point to overtake 3 boats and move into 5th place, we had an unlucky spinnaker wrap around the inner forestay at 8pm.
It took 20 hours to finally remove AFTER cutting it in ½!
Simon called it the worst wrap he's ever seen in 80,000 miles of sailing.
Good news is it only cost us 56 miles on the leader & we're racing again making 11 knots with medium weight up...could have been much worse!
Harry & Dinshaw
We are pleased to confirm that JAMAICA is already making up some of that lost time having reduced the distance to lead boat Hull & Humber to 48 miles when they last posted their position at 12:00 GMT today.
Our thanks to Harry and Dinshaw for updating us. Having now restored the communications system which had broken during the last leg we hope to be able to bring you daily and exclusive updates throughout the whole of the race to Singapore.

JAMAICA takes a course to the West of the fleet

On day 2 of race 5, JAMAICA is taking a different tactical course to the rest of the fleet. As we can see from the graphic above she has decided to sail the furthest West of all of the Clippers.

As light winds becalm the fleet these are frustrating times for the crew on board which is looking to eek every millimetre of advantage from the sails and the wind conditions.

Their course will take them North up the Western coast of Australia, back across the Equator, to Singapore and on to the new Marina at Keppel Bay where the arrival of the Clipper fleet will coincide with the much-anticipated grand opening of this magnificent facility.

With more than 2,200 miles of racing to go their scheduled arrival time is 19th January.

Here's hoping for a JAMAICA podium to welcome them to Singapore.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

And they're off - race 5 from Fremantle to Singapore

This New Year's day at 05:00 GMT -14:00 local time - Race 5 from Fremantle, Western Australia to Singapore began.

Pictured here before the start of the race JAMAICA skipper Simon Bradley said how much his crew is looking forward to the two week race ahead of them which is one of the most complex courses within the whole round the world race.

With strong winds predicted as they race up the WA coast these will be followed by lighter winds and squalls as they approach the monsoon trough and the Indonesian islands. Added to this there is the ever-present danger of a Tropical Cyclone and the crews have to remain alert. The yachts will then enter the confines of the Java Sea through the Sunda Straits before crossing the finish line off the coast of Indonesia.

The boats are due to arrive in Singapore on 19 January after a short stopover in Batam, Indonesia to ensure the fleet arrives together for the grand opening of the Marina at Keppel Bay where they will be hosted for the duration of the Singapore stopover.

Huge crowds turned out to see the event and were entertained with some close tactical light wind racing in Fremantle’s Inner Harbour.

The local sea breeze known as the Fremantle ‘Doctor’ failed to blow as predicted and the light winds played havoc with the whole fleet as they concertina-ed at the far end of the harbour and positions changed as each mark was rounded.

With some of the closest racing seen so far in the Clipper 07-08 Race, the excitement built as the boats raced back out of the harbour and past Fremantle’s iconic Maritime Museum before hoisting their spinnakers and heading North up the coast of Western Australia as the graphic above shows.

All of the boats are closely bunched within 5 miles of each other but with some 2,400 miles to go before there will be plenty of changes as this race progresses.

Keep watching jamaicaclipper.com for all of the latest information coming directly from the good ship JAMAICA.

Monday, 31 December 2007

On the eve of the start of leg 4 JAMAICA prepares for departure

On this New Year's eve the crew of JAMAICA is making final preparations for the start of leg 4 tomorrow.

Below we offer you two perspectives of life in Fremantle from Father and Son - John Braithwaite, Round the World crew member on board JAMAICA and his Dad Bruce who, together with many other JAMAICA FAFs (Friends and Family) have journeyed half way across the globe to support the Rasta Rocket :

First John as he prepares for tomorrow's departure and a thrilling course to start leg 4 and 2008 :

We have had a great stopover in Fremantle. Its a wonderfully bohemian place; a hippy sailers paradise with more boats, yoga classes, spiritual healers and beaches per person than any other town in the world. Oh, and there's a few bars too!

We've been sampling the Australian Rum to compare it to the others from around the world. It compares favourably and goes well with ginger beer, it's not so good in Mojitos and works with coke. All this in depth reasearch on behalf of the Jamaican Tourist Board is hard work in stopovers but we are carrying on relentlessly.

The whole crew for leg 4 had their first sail together today and all was good on JAMAICA. Tacks and Gybes were made like we've already crossed an ocean together. Its a good job too as the start for this race is going to be, well exciting I thing is the billing, scary is the reality for skipper and crew as all 10 yachts gybe into the harbour then round a mark and tack out before heading up the coast and hoist spinnakers for the sun bathing masses on the beach.

I've got to go now and pack up my kit, ready to move onto the yacht tomorrow - love that bunk!

One love


Bruce Brathwaite, clearly immersing himself fully into the JAMAICA spirit writes :

The whole crew are well and recovering and relaxing as well as working hard on the boat.

JAMAICA has lots of family and supports. Frank's wife, Bernard's wife and son, Richard's partner and Ralphie has lots of family and friends here who were at the finishing line with a banner and flag - Lucy's parents, JB's parents, Dave Williams and his family who live out here - apologies to anyone I have missed off!

Monday and Tuesday were 'deep cleaning' a word that supporters now understand.

Wednesday started with cleaning followed by the JAMAICA lunch at Little Creatures - a local micro brewery / restaurant - which was a long long lunch.

Thursday JAMAICA came out of the water and was quickly hosed down and then painted below the water line. There were lots of other jobs with the anodes replaced and the discovery that why the tiller had clunked every time that it was turned was because there was + 5 mm free movement when there should have been 2 mm max. As a result the boat was out of the water until Saturday morning.

Bernard has been busy with the sewing machine making lots of repairs with help from others. Frank has serviced all the winches. Chris has been in charge of cleaning the galley and victualing. Friday was the trip to the Cash nad Carry on the other side of Perth. Massive trolleys of dry goods which took 2 taxis to transport across town and then be bagged up.

As JAMAICA was still on the hard it meant carrying lots of bags from the marquee across the hard, up the steps and then down into the boat. Lots of chains passing bags to each other.

Friday night was a cheese and wine evening to recover. The people at Freo Sailing Club have been great meeting every boat in at whatever time of day and night with a barbie and hot dogs and cold beer.They are so hospitable and have arranged trips on their boats to Rotto(Rotnest Island).

Saturday evening was prize giving and JAMAICA won the Fremantle Sailing Club Bent wind vane for crossing the Southern Ocean with no wind vane and not knowing the strength or direction of the wind. Captain Simon accepted the mounted wind vane with a great speech - asking what language was spoken when they landed and where they were.

The Immersion suit challege was well supported and provided great fun.

Christmas and Boxing Day was the hottest on record for Perth so it was a late breakfast for about 9 Jamaica crew and family and then down on the beach to cool off in the sea.

The party grew to about 15 for dinner at Claire, Katie and Jon's that evening. A fabulous cold buffet with appropriate liquid.

All the new crew are on board now but some of the old crew are still there including Neil.

Dinshaw is over with his family and throwing himself fully into all the hard tasks. Sarah, Mick and Harry were in Freo in time for the Christmas celebrations and Lisa and Tim were around last night when we threw a few prawns on the barbie.
The crew had been out on a hard training session to prepare for the start. Joff has set a very challenging programme for the benefit of spectators and horrendous for the crew. Sadistic was one of many terms we heard. The boats are starting out at sea and heading into the harbour before turning round a buoy in the narrows and going back down the River, turning north up the beach front, round the 3 master Leuwin and back south round another buoy close to the start before finally being allowed to head north to Singapore (and the tail of the cyclone that is forecast!)
JAMAICA has been out on a media day and recruitment day with a skeleton crew whilst the new crew members have been thrown together with other new leggers for a refreshment course.

Everyone is good and in true JAMAICA spirit having a good time whilst working very hard.

Today it is fresh veggie shopping and final jobs and tidying up. Simon has just gone through the boat removing bean bags. Some of the crew went off to the open air cinema and found couch shaped bean bags that they could lie back on and watch the film whilst being served drinks and takeaway pizza. (If they get becalmed in the tropics again around Indonesia do not be surprised if you hear that they have been calling up for takeaways!)

One Love

Ann, Bruce and the JAMAICA support team.

Sincere thanks to both John and Bruce for sharing their experiences with us.

Good luck to the crew of JAMAICA for tomorrow's start in Fremantle. We wish you a safe, happy and healthy race to Singapore.

For those of us on dry land, don't forget to log onto jamaicaclipper.com on the first day of 2008 for the latest updates.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Skipper Simon Bradley, writing exclusively for jamaicaclipper.com, gices readers an insight to life on board.

Following crew changeover day on 27 December the new crew joining their teams for Leg 4 went out for a training sail today. With ten identical racing yachts making up the Clipper fleet, Liverpool 08, Durban 2010 and Beyond, Qingdao and Nova Scotia, their skippers and a handful of crew were charged with the task of reacquainting the newcomers with the Clipper 68’s.

It was a perfect day for them out on the water with the sun shining and brisk winds as they sailed along the Western Australian coastline. The local afternoon sea breeze known at the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ kicked in right on queue giving the crews 20-30 knots in which to practice their drills.

Both JAMAICA and westernaustrlia2011.com joined them for an afternoon of sailing as they took out corporate guests and prospective crew. The picture on the left shows the crew of JAMAICA welcoming newcomers onto the Rasta Rocket earlier today with blue skies and perfect sailing weather. You can be sure that many of them will have caught the JAMAICA bug and we hope to see them on board in 2009 when the next Clipper Round The World yacht race begins.

Meanwhile, having had time to reflect on the first 3 legs on board JAMAICA, skipper Simon Bradley has sent an exclusive message to jamaicaclipper.com in which he talks of the highs, the lows, and the incredible team spirit on board JAMAICA. In a very frank, and somewhat emotional, article he brings readers of these pages so much closer to life on board :

The crew of JAMAICA Clipper are a truly fantastic bunch of people. And I mean ALL of the crew, those that have been on board, those that currently are on board and those that are waiting for their turn to ride on the Rasta Rocket. There is never a word of complaint, no matter how tired, wet, cold or fed up people are. Yes, it’s true we do get fed up on JAMAICA Clipper because we are only human, but we always remember that ‘We never give up’ no matter what’s happening.

What is really nice for me as the Skipper, is that the crew get on with jobs without even being asked, they are now anticipating what’s required and get on with it. Of course, they do check with me on the important jobs before cracking on and getting it done – thank goodness! When I crawl out of my bunk (I do get into it) I am normally greeted with a smile and a freshly brewed mug of coffee. I think they all realise now that I am much better natured after a cafetiere or two of coffee!

As for our results to date….we are getting better, albeit slowly, but believe me, we all want to win, all the time. I am learning all the time, the yacht is being sailed faster all the time, the crew are learning all the time and surely we are due for some good luck by now. We have had more than our fair share of misfortune, but at the end of the day we have to get better results, we are all working to achieve this and we will ‘Never give up’.

This is the toughest and most challenging job that I have ever had, it is also the most rewarding. I have a very caring crew who understand that as Skipper I will sometimes be very lonely, very frustrated, very tired and downright miserable at times! But they humour me and keep me supplied with coffee and chocolate and I get though these moments. But I’m also very happy, very excited and very proud to be Skipper of JAMAICA Clipper and I wouldn’t swap it for anything else.

We have a second boat song, second of course to Bob, but it’s a great song that Richard Burton played to us on Leg 2. It’s by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole from his album ‘Facing Future’ and it’s called ‘Somewhere over the rainbow/What a wonderful World’. Listen to it if you don’t already know it, we like it a lot!

The stopover is going well, jobs on the yacht are getting done, people are getting rested and of course the partying is in full swing most of the time, or maybe that should be all of the time! Our ‘new’ crew members are all here and getting stuck into the jobs with great enthusiasm. Saying goodbye to crew is always hard to do and we’ll be losing some long serving crew at this stopover, but we’ll see them again – once a JAMAICA Clipper crew member, always a JAMAICA Clipper crew member, no matter where in the world you are, you’ll always be part of the ‘Rasta Rocket’ crew.

Here at jamaicaclipper.com we sincerely thank Simon for taking the time out of a hugely busy schedule to write to us and to share his experiences. It's a reflection of how much he and the crew on board savour the warm support following them from half way around the World.
Here's to a healthy, successful and happy 2008 for JAMAICA clipper and all who sail on her - we'll be supporting you all the way.

Monday, 24 December 2007

The Jamaica Tourist Board sends Christmas wishes

From everyone at the Jamaica Tourist Board


HAPPY NEW YEAR AND SAFE SAILING TO THE JAMAICA CREW- enjoy your much needed break on dry land. We have sent down some JAMAICA goodie baskets to give you strength for your new year re-start. I hope they arrive okay.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Fox
Regional Director UK & N Europe

Crew member Jon Gibbard hilariously recounts The Great Storm which took out the navigational aids

Having arrived in Fremantle one week ago, despite a little free time life is no holiday for the crew, family and friends of JAMAICA who are down under, as Jon Gibbard recounts on this Christmas Eve :

I hope you are well and getting into the Xmas spirit. We were all saying yesterday how we really aren't but we have a big day planned and it's nice to miss out on the commercial side of things.

Kate, Claire and I are sharing a house together and Sarah is joining us today.

Today Harry, Kate, Claire, JB an I are going surfing; I have hired a suitably large and very un-environmentally friendly australian car - a 3.8litre 'commodore' which JB and I might well go 'cruising' in at some point. We are treating Kate to a surfing lesson for her birthday which is on Xmas day.

Work continues on the boat, there is lots still to do; after the amazing job we did on the antifouling, getting everything done in an afternoon, we have been delayed due to our rudder stock bearing being too loose and this having to have some epoxy resin splashed all over it! A big thanks to JB and Lou's parents who helped us all day along with Frank's wife, it was a fantastic team effort.

The boat is now back in the water and the new food has been bought. Harry, Mick and Dave Williams have all been working very hard to assist with the boat jobs while others are just about getting time to have a well earned rest now.

At the prize giving last night we won the 'wonky windex award' due to the fact that we sailed for over 2 1/2 weeks without any wind or deck instruments, my heart rate is still high from the downwind sailing parts of that! Gybing from a heading of 60 degrees on one tack (where I was convinced the wind was in the beam) to a heading of 70 degrees on the other (normal gybing angle 40) so had probably been on the cusp of an accidental gybe for quite some time...!

So to my favourite bit of the race and the story of how the windex got broken. Neil, Claire, Ralph and I are on the moring watch, 4-8. Behind we see some nasty weather coming across our stern, we are on a beam reach so we look to port to see if any of the weather is going to hit us, should be ok I think. Ralph and I have a look for a further 10 mins or so and Ralph utters the words 'that'll go behind us' in his usual enthuiastic and convincing manner: 'don't worry my son it will be fine', flash backs to Del boy - which would make me Rodney.

Anyway, have to wake Simon for a schedule and tell him about the weather so he sticks his head up and has a look 'do you want me to come up on deck. 'Yes please I say, mild concern mixed with a need for the loo I let Simon take my place. When I return on deck a few minutes later the visibility is down to 50m, hmmm I think this is intersting. The most enormous thunderstorm then starts with rain like I've never seen before lashing down on the boat and reducing the 1-2m waves by half with the sheer impact creating a glassy texture on the water. We all look at each other with a 'we must be mad look' as we get soaked to the skin, the amount of water makes us laugh.

Claire is still on the helm, suddenly the wind starts to increase, we still have our random sail plan of 2 reefs, yankee 3 and storm jib as the weather the night before had been a little choppy. So as the wind picks up Claire looks at the wind speed, 20 knots, 30 knots, 40knots (she's yelling at this point), 50 knots. The boat is now completely pressed over with the pressure on the sails.

Claire has fallen off the helm and is sitting on the floor on the leeward side of the boat having a bath in the rain water that has collected there. Simon who was sitting on the portside of the helm with Ralph is holding on with one hand and has another vice like arm gripping the wheel. I was on the leeward side and now am leaning against the binnacle between it and the traveller.

Neil has cleverly jammed himself against the cuddy. Ralph and I are looking at each other and at the main sheet which is under a massive amount of load, in particular we're looking at the chaffed area that we were planning on mending later that day....Simon is wide eyed and hanging onto the wheel and Claire is still bathing in the bottom of the cockpit. The thunder and lightning is still going. Suddenly there is a massive flick of lightning and almost instantaneously a huge crack of thunder overhead, we all duck......This continued for a good 3-4 mins with Ralph and I enquiring as to weather Simon wanted us to put any further reefs in.....it's good to offer!

Lucy and others having been thrown out of their bunks or been thrown into the cave lockers and having now extracted themselves stick their heads up to see what they've been 'missing out on'. My only regret.....the video camera was hanging around the binnacle in its waterproof case, trouble is I hadn't packed it away properly so the bits of polystyrene that hold it in weren't in the right place!

Later that day the windex fell off, I think that the boat was so hard pressed during the gust that the wind got under the vane and caused it to crack, breaking off later that day. The wind speed and direction vane that comes off the front of the mast got twisted vertical during the same event. Wind angle and speed aren't as accurate when it looks like a waterwheel!!!

All in the life of JAMAICA clipper.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Crew member Katie Hearsum writes to us from Fremantle

Readers of these pages will have been concerned for our crew member who took ill on leg 3. Although many close to the team will have guessed who it was we did not want to publish her name out of respect both to her and her family close friends who were understandably concerned for her.

Katie Hearsum has today sent a message of thanks to the JAMAICA clipper family for all of the support you have sent her through the pages of jamaicaclipper.com :

I just want to say thanks for the messages of support that came through to the boat when news broke out that I had been ill. For two weeks I suffered from a water and kidney infection and dehydration.

Thanks to Claire and her supply of antibiotics and IV fluid (and then Singapore's supply) I'm getting better and stronger each day and now rebuilding my strength in the warmth of the Fremantle sunshine. We truly have a brilliant crew who cared for me and helped keep my
spirits high despite feeling so ill. I'm hugely indebted to everyone on board and sincerely grateful for the love and care they've all given me.

Since arriving the team have been working hard on the boat each day to complete the deep clean and maintenance. Today the boat has been lifted from the water for its keel checks and for the anti-fouling of the hull. All being well she should go back in the water tomorrow and then its time for some well deserved days off for the crew.

Yesterday we had a crew lunch with all the family and friends who have joined us in Freo, no doubt photos will follow from a range of sources shortly. Tonight is Volvo Ocean Race DVD night and take out night at our house for the crew... so we can get some top tips and find out
what the southern ocean can be like ....it was rather tame for us (thank goodness!)

We've got a big change over of crew for the next leg. We say goodbye to Lucy, Frank, Neil, Dave, Jon and Rich and welcome I think 7 new crew.

We all wish Katie a speedy recovery and send our best wishes to her and the rest of our crew members for a very Happy Christmas in the sunshine of Fremantle (well, after what they've been through they deserve it!) and a safe, healthy and happy 2008 on board the Rasta Rocket JAMAICA .

Sunday, 16 December 2007

JAMAICA arrives in Fremantle

JAMAICA crossed the finish line in Race 4 of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race in 8th place on Sunday after making torturously slow progress to the line.

“We’re very happy to be here in Fremantle and we’re all looking forward to a cold beer,” said Skipper Simon Bradley, as he made his way to the customs dock.

The Jamaica crew has been hindered by the lack of a mainsail this afternoon after damaging the top of it. Sailing with a trisail, Yankee 1 and staysail, the team ghosted over the line three weeks after they left Durban on the Southern Ocean Leg of Clipper 07-08.

A gathering of die-hard JAMAICA supporters were waiting outside Fremantle’s Maritime Museum to cheer their team across the finish line with flags, balloons and Rasta’ hats.

JAMAICA arrived at Fremantle Sailing Club at 1115 local (1415 GMT) where they were welcomed with the ubiquitous Aussie barbeque and much-awaited cold beers.

Simon and his crew are now looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year in the Western Australian sunshine.
The Western Australian Tourism Minister Sheila McHale welcomed the skippers and crews to Western Australia for the two-week festive season stopover. “I know all Western Australians will join me in extending a warm welcome to the 200 international crew members, their families and friends,” Ms McHale said. “I can only be in awe at the skills and tenacity required to take part in such an amazing ten month adventure.”
The Race 5 restart of Clipper 07-08 will take place at 1400 local time (0500 GMT) on New Year’s Day 2008. An exciting race start course through Fremantle’s Inner Harbour and along Perth’s city beaches will make it a wonderful spectator event and promises to attract thousands of people down to watch as the ten teams continue on their 35,000-mile race around the world.

Liverpool 08, currently lying in 9th place, is expected to arrive between 0500 - 0700 local (2000-2200 GMT).

New York is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

JAMAICA expected to arrive in Fremantle at 10:30 this morning

After 21 days at sea JAMAICA clipper, codenamed "Rasta Rocket", is due to arrive at 10:30 UTC this morning (19:30 local time) in time for a cool beer, long awaited shower and some well earned rest and recuperation.
They will finish in a magnificent 8th place.
When one considers some of the difficulties they have had to endure during their traverse of the mighty Southern Ocean it makes their achievement all the more impressive :
  1. They have only had 12 crew members on board, compared to some Clippers who have had a full compliment of 17
  2. One of the crew has been taken ill which has meant incredible discomfort for her and for her fellow crew members on board seeing her in such discomfort
  3. It has also meant they have been sailing with fewer crew members
  4. Claire Maloney, crew member and Doctor on board will have been using both her sailing and her medic skills to the full; she must be completely exhausted as will the rest of the crew
  5. They needed to carry out an emergency transfer of medical supplies when their own supplies ran out
  6. They have had no on-deck navigational aids since the start of the leg which has meant shouting down below to get vital information
  7. Their communications systems have been severely restricted on this leg

In spite of those unimaginable difficulties they have still managed to consistently record some of the fastest speeds of the whole fleet. It is clear that having endured such adversity their sailing skills will have been greatly enhanced and the magnificent team spirit, of which skipper Simon Bradley has spoken so much, will be second to no other Clipper crew.

We congratulate you on your achievement.

We wish our crew member a speedy recovery.

We hope you will all have time to rest, recover and enjoy the company of those family and friends who have travelled half of the World to meet you in Australia. May your stay be enjoyable, your relaxation complete and may the smiles of achievement never leave you.

Finally we wish you a very Happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

Leg 4 of the Clipper Round the World yacht race starts again on 1st January 2008.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Morale high on board JAMAICA

Following the successful transfer of medical supplies between Uniquely Singapore and JAMAICA yesterday, Simon Bradley and his crew are now focused on returning safely to port, getting land based care for their ill crew member and trying to regain places.

Simon reported earlier today :

“The focus of everyone on board JAMAICA has been to get the boat to Freo asap and regain the place that we lost. We are also looking at Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper and thinking about how close we are to maybe overtaking them as well. Morale is high and so is the desire for a nice cold beer. One Love!”

With some 200 miles to the finish for JAMAICA the fleet is encountering big seas and winds of up to 45 knots, not the kind of conditions we had hoped would allow them to return to port as quickly as possible and return our crew mate to terra firma.

But this crew is made of strong stuff - they have been through a lot together and we look forward to their arriving in Australia within the next 36 - 48 hours.

200 miles to go

Readers of these pages will have read that yesterday JAMAICA had to seek the help of Clipper Singapore to receive urgent medical supplies for one of our crew members. As a result we took the decision to suspend reports of racing as clearly the well being of our fellow crew member is more important.

Here at jamaicaclipper.com we have been inundated with messages of support for our ill friend and for the rest of the crew clearly coping magnificently under enormous pressure. Although communications with the boat are difficult we shall endeavour to send those messages to them.

With just 48 hours of sailing before they arrive in Fremantle on Sunday morning they will be pulling out all of the stops to ensure they arrive as quickly and as safely as possible in order to get her back on terra firma to be checked over and to get some much need rest and recuperation.

JAMAICA is currently sailing side by side Singapore (see graphic below), having caught her up after having to motor back to the point of transfer of medical supplies. With a fellow Clipper racing beside her and a short distance to dry land we wish them a speedy return to port and salute them for coping so magnificently.

Our thoughts are with you all.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Transfer of medical equipment to JAMAICA

We have just received news that JAMAICA has had to motor towards Clipper Singapore in order to receive intravenous fluids for one of our crew members. The statement from Clipper HQ reads as follows :

Two of the yachts participating in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race rendezvoused this morning to transfer medical supplies. A 29-year-old female crew member on board Jamaica has been suffering from seasickness since leaving Durban and in order to combat dehydration and treat a kidney infection she has been given intravenous fluids and antibiotics by the onboard medic, a round the world crew member who is a fully qualified doctor. At 0630 GMT today (13 December) Jamaica’s skipper, Simon Bradley, reported to the Race Office that they had run out of intravenous fluids and had arranged with fellow skipper, Mark Preedy, to rendezvous with Uniquely Singapore who would transfer over their supply.

The transfer took exactly ten minutes to complete, and the whole operation, including starting the engine and motoring towards Uniquely Singapore then returning to the position at which they had started their engine in order to resume racing without penalty, took 38 minutes and was completed in textbook fashion at 1108 GMT. Both yachts are racing again and the Race Committee will now consider whether to award redress to Uniquely Singapore for their assistance in the transfer. The ill crew member on Jamaica has spoken by satellite phone to her family who are fully aware of the situation.

Clearly the most important thing is the well being of our fellow crew member and, in the circumstances, jamaicaclipper.com will suspend reports of racing until an improvement in her condition has been confirmed.

JAMAICA maintains her 7th place as they near the finishing post

At 06:00 this morning JAMAICA confirmed her current 7th place as clear blue water separates her and 8th placed Singapore whom she overtook last week. JAMAICA now lies 19 miles ahead of Singapore and has 6th placed Glasgow in her sights just 17 miles in the distance.

As you will see from the chart above the finish line is now approaching and JAMAICA is just 600 miles from Fremantle. At current speeds, averaging over 100 miles every 12 hours, she should arrive back on terra firma some time in the early hours of Sunday morning 16th December.

The excellent progress JAMAICA made in the mid part of this race has allowed her to consolidate her position and make gains on the rest of the fleet. But with only 3 days to go a confirmation of her 7th place would be a fantastic achievement; if she could pinch 6th place off Glasgow it would be a great boost for her hard working crew.

When other boats towards the front of the fleet have been sailing with a full compliment of 17 crew members on board, JAMAICA has only 12 on board in this race which means everyone must pull their full weight. In addition, when you consider that shortly after the race start her on-deck navigational aids ceased working, the fact that she consistently out performed all other boats in the mid part of the race is nothing short of sensational.

At the front of the race Durban 2010 and Beyond’s lead has been trimmed by a few miles overnight by their closest rivals westernaustralia2011.com. In reply to Ricky Chalmers’s warning yesterday that the South Africans are coming, Martin Silk, skipper of westernaustralia2011.com hit back today. “The decision to drop the medium weight spinnaker last night was a good one,” he writes. “Our bullet-proof heavyweight has stood up to a night of close reaching and the odd broach, and remains flying as we track our Great Circle route with good speed. The last sched showed a 12-mile gain on Durban. Look out South Africa, the Aussies are coming!”

Also in with a fighting chance of a podium position are Qingdao who have promised so much in previous races and look like they could deliver in this one. Skipper Marcus Cholerton-Brown reported to the Race Office this morning, “Racing hard, really want to catch westernaustralia2011.com and Durban 2010 and Beyond. All up for a hard few days of slog.”

Nova Scotia have been threatening the leaders for the majority of this race and have made a significant move north in the last 24 hours which has lost them some ground to the teams around them. Rob McInally the skipper of the Canadian entry reported earlier today, “We continued north unaware of the fleet’s movements to find they had an earlier change in wind direction allowing a good easterly approach. We have lost 50 miles overnight and are now fighting our way east in the knowledge we have the boat speed and the time to put this right. Podium. Podium. Podium. No matter what I eat or how long I brush my teeth for all I can taste is coffee. The crew are helming and trimming very well.”

One thing Rob and his crew will be happy about is the Race Committee’s decision to award Nova Scotia redress of one hour and seven minutes following the assistance they gave Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper when they transferred their oxygen bottle and medical supplies earlier in this race. Once they finish in Fremantle this time will be deducted from their finishing time and they may be able to pick up another place or two if, as in Durban, the boats finish in close succession.

When approaching the finish in a long race it is always tempting to push harder to gain those few extra miles. Many of the skippers and crew have reported that they are working longer and longer watches and getting more and more tired and the odd broach is occurring. Hannah Jenner, skipper of Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper says, “Big black clouds whilst beam reaching under spinnaker at night are always a little unnerving. Needless to say, minutes after one such cloud popped up over the horizon the boom got a good dunking and the black boat spun into a broach (only a baby one though so all good).”

With just over 600 nautical miles to the finish it looks like the lead boat will finish outside the Maritime Museum on the Swan River this Saturday, a day earlier than anticipated, with the rest of the fleet finishing during the following 72 hours or so. The sailing club will be the first opportunity for friends and family to greet the crews as they are welcomed into Western Australia in the traditional way with an Aussie beer and a barbie.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Calmer seas for JAMAICA explains crew member Claire Maloney

At 12:00 today JAMAICA had posted the 3rd best distance in the previous 12 hours of the whole fleet. Only lead boats Durban and Western Australia had achieved a better time. Her consistently good speeds are made all the more impressive when one considers that she has no instruments at all above deck and are having to shout down below to find what speeds she is achieving. This has been the case since the navigational instruments broke at the start of this leg.

When you consider that all of the boats in the middle of the fleet are very closely positioned (as can be seen in the graphic below), it shows how much hew crew is managing to eek every last minute of speed out of the Rasta Rocket.

Having overtaken Singapore two days ago to assume 7th place she is now 17 miles ahead of her and is increasing her lead; at the same time she is gaining on 6th placed Glasgow who is now only 19 miles ahead, having been some 40 miles in front earlier this week.

JAMAICA has now just under 1,000 miles to the finish point in Fremantle, Western Australia where she should arrive in just under a week.

From on board JAMAICA, crew member Claire Maloney explained the ups and downs of the current race :

It’s been a mixed day today. For the first time in ages, the boat has been relatively flat. Life is a breeze. Below deck, we can walk around without lunging from handrail to handrail, we can sit on the port seats in the saloon without being catapulted to starboard, and the ship’s cat can lie peacefully, undisturbed in one spot. Using the heads is no longer a test of balance and lower body strength, and the fear of being flung through the fabric door with oilskins round the ankles has been completely removed.

In the galley, the surfaces are almost flat. Bowls and cups stay more or less where they are put. The chocolate brownies manage to be of uniform thickness, not all slid to one end of the tray, and the washing up process is no longer akin to rock climbing with soapy hands.

It’s been dry all day too. We’ve enjoyed blue skies and made the most of the sunshine. Boots and mattresses have been out on the deck drying, and oilskins have been swapped for shorts.
But above deck it’s not so laid back. The wind has died completely, and everyone is working really hard to try and keep this boat racing. The wind has finally come behind us and we put up the lightweight spinnaker in the early hours. With barely enough wind to keep the ensign flying, it’s hard work trying to keep the kite filled. As we have no instruments at all above deck, there’s lots of calling down below to ask the boat speed. There’s about 30 degrees magnetic variation between what the compass is reading and what our course over ground actually is, and there is constant toing and froing above and below deck in an effort to ensure the helm is steering the preferred course.

The news that we’re now 16 miles ahead of Uniquely Singapore, is proof that our efforts are paying off. We’re forecast another 12 hours of these light winds, and we’ll need to keep pushing hard to try and eek out as many miles as possible. It’ll be another long, frustrating night for us, and a difficult day again tomorrow. And to think that we were moaning about too much heeling…

One love,

After 3000 miles of racing the crew on board JAMAICA are in sight of their closest rival. “Hot, sunny and a nice breeze - good! Uniquely Singapore have just come into view astern of us, which of course means they are gaining on us - not good!” reports JAMAICA’s skipper Simon Bradley this morning. “Need to work harder, make the boat go faster, but still stay relaxed and chilled out. One Love - JAMAICA!”

At the front of the fleet Ricky Chalmers and his team on board Durban 2010 and Beyond have managed to find their own private little wind generator overnight and have increased their lead to 112 nautical miles. With just over 800 nautical miles to go before the finish in the Swan River in Fremantle, Western Australia, it will be hard, but not impossible, for the chasing fleet to catch the South African team now.

Ricky is hoping to repeat the victory of th