Dealing with adversity
What happens when you own ten identical 68-foot racing yachts, host a round the world race for the boats, sell crewing positions on the boats... and then two of the boats get dismasted on their way from China to Hawaii... half way around the world from the European suppliers. It would be nice to think that the “show must go on” but pulling it off is another matter. Here is an excerpt from a report by International marine events company Clipper Ventures Plc, that owns and administers the event:
* Clipper Ventures Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “When we lost two masts in the Clipper fleet in just over a week during the race from Qingdao to Hawaii (on March 5 and 13), the priority was to replace all the similar fittings to those that failed within the fleet and to manufacture and ship out two new masts to Hawaii.”
* Sparcraft in Cape Town, the company that manufactured the masts for the ten matched Clipper 68s, had suffered a factory fire on March 7 and was unable to make the new mast section as a result. On April 10 the company confirmed that its other factories in France and the United States did not have the spare capacity to make the mast. Later that day, Clipper Ventures sourced the required mast section in France, which was transported to Atlantic Spars in Brixham. This was for the first dismasting.
* Following the second dismasting, a similar section was sourced from the Netherlands and sent to Atlantic Spars for finishing. Meanwhile, Spencer Rigging sourced enough compact strand to complete two complete new sets of standing rigging.
* Spencer Rigging commissioned a company to manufacture custom-made bottle screws and wire terminals as the regular supplier, Navtec, only holds minimal stock and did not have the capacity to make replacements for many weeks.
* The two masts were road transported from Devon to Luxembourg from where they were flown by front-loading Boeing 747 to Los Angeles arriving in the early hours of March 29. This consignment containing the new rigs and related parts then waited in Los Angeles airport to be loaded onto the first available flight to Honolulu on April 2.
* The rigs arrived early on April 2, where the Clipper Maintenance team along with three riggers from Spencer Rigging and a mast builder from Atlantic Spars were on hand. Following the replacement of related rigging on the other eight boats, the two boats needing complete rigs were sailing by April 10, just five days after the rest of the fleet had started.
Complete report: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/08/0428
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