Following Cork’s collision with a reef, the team at Clipper Ventures has been working closely with marine salvage experts and insurance assessors to understand whether the racing yacht is recoverable. After reviewing extensive material which includes video and digital images of the damage, reading reports sent from a number of qualified sources, getting hourly updates from the other Clipper yachts at the scene and discussing the options with a broad range of experts, there is clearly only one option open to the race organisers.
The surveyors and salvage experts advise that the boat is now so weakened by the pounding she has taken on the reef, the collective view is that she would not survive being dragged off the shelf, made buoyant and then complete the 450 mile tow to Singapore. Even if this were possible, the extent of the damage means that she would be beyond economic repair.
As such, Sir Robin said, “It is with very great sadness that we have to accept that Cork Clipper will remain on the reef as we lose her to the sea. This is the first loss Clipper has experienced in seven races and since the first race in 1996, more than two million miles of racing has been safely and successfully completed. Clipper accepts the surveyors’ practical opinion and I’d like to thank all of those who have assisted in our rescue efforts over the last couple of days.”
Sir Robin went on to pay tribute to the skippers and crew of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race saying, “On a personal note I have been very warmed and proud of the reaction and support of the crews, and of the skippers on site. They have performed splendidly and shown great seamanship.”
His comments echo those from many sources around the world who have been quick to praise the level of training and the professionalism shown in the aftermath of the incident. All the crew are safe and in the last few days, all personal possessions have been taken off Cork and will be reunited with their crew when the yachts arrive in Singapore.
Clipper Ventures has made racing berths available for the Cork crew when the nine boat fleet departs to Qingdao and then on to California. The company is also looking at options on providing a replacement boat so that the Cork colours can once again take to the sea in the later legs of the 09-10 race. Further announcements on this will be made in due course.