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Ocean's 12: a third generation fleet of racing yachts - the clipper 70s - are taking shape for 2013.

South coast sailing company Clipper Ventures is gearing up for the next edition of the biannual Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The race-Clipper 13-14-will showcase a new fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts, currently under construction.

The brainchild of legendary sailor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Clipper allows novice sailors the opportunity to sail around the world. One of nine sailors to compete in the Times Golden Globe Race, Sir Robin set off from Falmouth on 14 June 1968. He had no sponsorship for his attempt and with his yacht Suhaili packed to the gunwales with supplies, he set off on a voyage that was to last just over 10 months.

He arrived back in Falmouth on 22 April 1969, after 312 days at sea. As the winner of the race, he secured his place in the history books as the first man ever to sail solo and non-stop around the world.

Sir Robin wanted everyone to have the opportunity to experience the challenge and sheer exhilaration of ocean racing. As he says, "Fewer people have raced a yacht around the globe than have climbed Mount Everest."

In 1995 he set up Clipper Ventures, providing ocean racing yachts and equipment, qualified skippers and intensive training. Through the company's teaching division, Clipper Training, it has transformed more than 4000 novices into racing yachtsmen and women, able to reach the pinnacle of ocean sailing - a full circumnavigation. To date, the company has organised eight editions of the round the world yacht race for non-professional sailors, Clipper 13-14 will be the ninth.



Organisers supply a fleet of 10 identical 68-foot stripped down racing yachts - each sponsored by a city, a region or a country-and man them with 10 fully trained skippers, employed to lead the crews safely around the course. In 2013, this will increase to 12 yachts, the brand new fleet of 70s. The current race, Cipper 11-12, has seen the teams sail over 25,000 miles and visit seven countries across the continent, since setting off from the Solent in July last year.

The race track is 40,000 miles long and it will take 11 months to complete the circumnavigation. The race is divided into a series of eight legs and crews can decide to race one of them, select a combination of legs or sign up to become a round the world crew member and complete the full circumnavigation. There are 15 individual races in total and, just like in Formula 1, points are awarded at the end of each race, building towards a championship total.

The next edition of the race - Clipper 13-14-welcomes the third generation of ocean racing yachts. Currently being built in Qingdao, China, the 12-strong fleet of bigger and faster new boats will serve in the next four editions of the race.

"By incorporating the very latest features in the hull design, massive asymmetric spinnakers flown from the six-foot bowsprit and state of the art electronics from GARMIN, the boats will deliver improved performance and new speed records are likely to be recorded," said Joff Bailey, Clipper race director. "The crew signed up for Clipper 13-14 and beyond, can look forward to speeds of 30 knots and upwards."

The Clipper 70 was designed by Tony Castro Naval Architects and is being constructed by Nautic Star Marine in the Shandong Province.

The project is being overseen by Rob Mclnally, skipper of Nova Scotia in Clipper 07-08 and Team Finland in 09-10.

"The yacht looks like it is going to be very exciting to sail," he said. "The underwater design of the hull offers the next level of sailing for future Clipper crews and the twin wheels and twin rudders provide the helming characteristics required for higher surfing speeds."

The first boat of the new fleet was recently released from its mould and work on the second hull began immediately. Once this is completed the hull's structural supports, the engine and generator will be put into place and the propulsion set up. The navigation station and galley will then be built over the top of the plumbing and cable runs and the deck gear, including hatches, winches, vents and tracks, will be fitted to the deck.

"We work on the two units separately because it is easier to access the inside of the hull before the deck is fitted," explained Rob.

Once the deck is attached to the hull, the steering system is aligned to ensure that it functions effectively. The twin rudders will then be fitted along with the stanchions, rails and deck mooring equipment.

A team of approximately 50 people are working on the Clipper 70s and there are now four yachts in various stages of the build process.

"It's great to see the new fleet take shape and to be the first person at the starboard wheel imagining the number of future sailors that will stand here during start line manoeuvres, and surfing waves in ocean crossings. As the build progresses, I can't wait for the sea trials," said Rob.

All 12 of the new boats are expected to be shipped to the UK by early 2013.


* The 12 Clipper 70s stacked end-to-end from bowsprit to stern will be the same height as the Eiffel Tower.

* The aluminum used to make the masts and booms for the Clipper 70s will be half a kilometre long.

* A total of 1.5km of Dyform, a wire that offers less stretch and greater strength, will be used in the rigging, to support the masts.

* The yachts are made from resin and fibre if each piece of fibre glass was, to end, it would stretch around fid four times.

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Title Annotation:Clipper design
Publication:Engineering Designer
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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