Four large clipper ships set sail from Sheerness, England, on Sunday (31 August) on a race to Australia and back.
Four large clipper ships set sail from Sheerness, England, on Sunday (31 August) on a race to Australia and back. The four vessels will be trying to break the 69 days each way record for the voyage set 106 years ago by the 84 foot ketch "Patriarch".
Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, himself an avid yachtsman, was the official starter.
First across the starting line was the Dutch entry. "The Great Escape". Ships from Britain, France, and Italy are also in the race.
By the time the yachts were four miles from the starting line, the British entry, "Great Britain II" with its crew of 14 was in the lead by about half a mile; the French entrant, "Kriter II" was second with its crew of 14; and the Italian entry, "C.S. and R.B. II Busnelli" was third with a crew of 8; and the Dutch ketch had dropped back to fourth place. It has a crew of 13.
Largest of the four vessels is the 80-foot (24 metres) "Kriter II". At 56-feet (17 metres), "The Great Escape" is smallest.
When the race started some 500 pleasure boats filled the Thames Estaury to watch. The large number caused a 20 minute delay in the starting time.
The race climaxes an 8-day Port of London Clipper Regatta on the Thames which marks a number of British yachting club anniversaries as well as the clipper race.
SYNOPSIS: Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, skilled yachtsman himself, was the perfect man to start the twenty-seven-thousand mile clipper race from Sheerness, England, to Sydney, Australia on Sunday. Four vessels from four nations are taking part. More than five hundred boats turned out to watch.
Although the Dutch entry... the 56-foot Great Escape was first off the finishing line... by the time they had covered four miles it was red hulled Great Britain Two in front by half a mile...followed by blue French Kriter Two... the white Italian C.S. and R.B. Two Busnelli and the Dutch entrant last.
They'll be trying to break the one-hundred and-six-year old record for the run...sixty nine days each way. At that pace, they'll reach Sydney sometime in November.