The new Cork Clipper yacht is waiting for its crew to arrive in Panama to rejoin the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The ten boat Clipper Race was cut to nine in January when the original Cork Clipper hit a reef in the Java Sea leaving it unsalvageable forcing the Cork Crew to split up and join other teams.
Original Cork Crew member Dave Patton, who delivered the new yacht from Antigua to Panama, was taking stock of the emotional roller coaster the race has offered so far and what rejoining the race means to him
“I’ve been thinking of our supporters and how our absence has affected them. When we won the race to Cape Town we had a lot of wonderful messages of encouragement and congratulations. One in particular sticks in my mind. It was an e-mail that talked about the difficult times that Ireland is going through and how wonderful it was to see an Irish boat going out and winning on a level playing field. I’ve often thought of that message in the last few months and couldn’t help feeling that we had let our supporters down.”
Despite the highs and lows of the race so far Dave Patton is notably excited at the thought of Cork challenging for the next leg.“Cork is back and she’ll be straining to climb back up the leader board …The fleet should take notice that we’re back and determined to make up for lost time.”
Also inspired by the imminent re-entry of Cork is new Cork Skipper Hannah Jenner who has taken temporary charge of the Qingdao Clipper. The volcanic disruption of air space had left Qingdao’s Skipper Chris Stanmore-Major stranded in the UK but in the true Clipper spirit of helping one another Hannah flew back from back from Antigua where she was refitting and commissioning the new Cork boat, to Skipper Qingdao on the leg from San Francisco to Panama.
Chris Stanmore-Major’s endorsement of Hannah Jenner’s captaincy has been resolutely enforced by her amazing performance in the leg so far: After taking the lead many times the race is wide open again as Qingdao and Spirit of Australia battle for lead position. Speaking from the helm of Qingdao Hannah was enjoying in the challenge of her first leg in charge, “We are revelling in the close competition, enjoying the challenge of the light airs, and fired up to give it our all!” Hannah’s intense race experience and achievements in this leg will surely boost the morale of the Cork Crew when they are finally reunited on board their new boat in Panama ready to rejoin the race as team Cork.
After the stopover in Panama, the next stopover dates will see the Clippers dock in Jamaica on 18th -22nd May, New York on the 6th June and Nova Scotia on the 15th June before Cork’s homecoming festival in Kinsale 2nd to the 7th of July. The homecoming revelry will continue as they come into the Port of Cork in a Parade of Sail on July 7th -9th celebrated with live music and entertainment at the specially constructed Race Village in Albert Quay.