In May 2011, we were thrilled to receive the news that Harken would supply the new Clipper 70 foot ocean-racing yachts with deck hardware and winches. London will host the start and finish of the 2013-14 edition. The fleet will leave the capital on 1 September, 2013 and after racing 40,000 miles and visiting 14 ports on six continents, will return in July of 2014. This makes the Clipper the world's longest ocean race.
In early February, Mark Gardner, Custom Projects and Service Manager at Harken UK, was invited to join the crew for sea trials of the first boat launched.
After a quick bacon butty (bacon sandwich) and a coffee, at 10:00 a.m. the new boat left the dock at Clipper Ventures Race Headquarters in Gosport. The crew for the day consisted of a number of Clipper Ventures' employees as well as representatives from three of the official suppliers to the new Clipper 70: Harken (deck hardware and winches), Hyde Sails (sails, and Atlantic Spars (spars and rigging).
The purpose of our day was to put the sails up on boat #1 of the 12 boats in the Clipper 70 fleet. As deck hardware suppliers, it was imperative that the Harken equipment was working well and aligned correctly on the boat.
With the wind blowing 15–20 knots from the east, it was a little windier in the Solent than preferable for the first sail. Boat #1 headed to the west of the Solent looking for shelter from the cold easterly wind. Once in the lee of the land, the mainsail was quickly hoisted by connecting both Harken twin pedestals for a four-person input throughout the hoist. The large main went up quickly and easily on the Radial® 80STA 3-speed winch.
Once sailing under mainsail and #3 Yankee, the boat felt great. Race Director Justin Taylor commented, "I am very impressed with the performance of all the Harken equipment and deck hardware, from winch handles right through to the twin coffee grinders. The 3-speed primary winches, controlled by linked twin-pedestal coffee grinders, allow four crew to grind, making sheeting in a very large mainsail comparatively easy. This will allow the yachts to reach racing trim and full speed within seconds. The mainsail handling was also easy because of this linking feature. This included sheeting in the mainsail and hoisting it too. All the other hardware, such as AirBlocks®, footblocks, and Flip Flop blocks performed well and aesthetically complemented the innovative design of the new Clipper 70."
Throughout the day, everyone on board was impressed with the Harken equipment—how it worked and the way it looked onboard. After a full day sailing, we returned to Clipper base at 4:30. We were very cold, but delighted with how the yacht had performed the first time out.
As official supplier to the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race, Harken has supplied all the deck hardware on board the twelve new Clipper 70 boats:
Radial® winches, sizes 50-80STA
Twin carbon fiber pedestal system
Black Magic® AirBlocks®
Big Boat genoa sliders cars and tracks
About the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to discover the exhilaration of ocean racing. Six hundred and fifty sailors, representing more than 40 nations, will compete on twelve new 70 foot yachts designed by renowned naval architect Tony Castro. Crew members can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs. The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 (there is no upper age limit) plus a thirst for adventure. The race is divided into individual stages and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total points at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.