Clipper Race Team Survives Waterspout as the Fleet Fights Squally Conditions

GREAT Britain has faced one of its biggest tests so far in the Clipper 2013-14 Race — a tornado.

Overnight GREAT Britain was reportedly hit by an unexpected Tornado (waterspout). Thanks to the quick thinking of the skipper, no damage was caused to the crew or boat during the brief and unexpected encounter. Skipper of GREAT Britain Simon Talbot, describes the moment the tornado passed over the Clipper 70 ocean racer bringing wind speeds in excess of 100 knots:

“I was down below and on deck they were starting to put a reef in the mainsail in anticipation of another squall which was fast approaching when I heard a word on board that I had never heard before in 30 years of sailing.

“That word was tornado, and then within a split second we went from about 5 knots of wind to about 100! We were knocked down to 90 degrees, absolutely flat on the water, I was thrown into the engine room and pelted by screw drivers, sockets and pieces of pump the contents of the galley sinks and cupboards were scattered randomly around the saloon and on deck it soon became clear that it was a bit of a mess!”

With the rest of the fleet reporting similar conditions the last seven days, squalls and heavy rain have delivered relief from the stifling temperatures of the Solomon Sea as the fleet head towards the Northern Hemisphere. Skipper Vicky Ellis and team took full advantage of a four hour long squall which left the team squeaky clean.

“I have a love/hate relationship with squalls, and that is being generous as it’s mostly hate.  They usually arrive with a burst of wind to knock the boat flat then steal every breath back as the rain arrives to soak you through in seconds. They can hang overhead for hours, whilst you wallow trying to get the boat moving in any direction possible.

“However, today, during a particularly testing four hour long squall, the crew of Switzerland embraced our progress sapping nemesis, cracked open the Clarins mousse and had a much needed shower!”

With Mission Performance making steady progress, Jamaica Get All Right continues to head further north than the rest of fleet. Only time will tell if this tactical gamble will pay off or see the team fall down the leaderboard  in the marathon race to Singapore.

To keep an eye on the fleets progress and to view the Official Race Viewer click here

To read all the skipper reports click here

Report and photo courtesy of www.clipperroundtheworld.com

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