The 12 Clipper Race boats are gathered in St Katharine's Dock prior to the start of their Round the World Race on Sunday 30th August. I feel a little sorry for the local boats who have presumably been shunted into the outer basins but nevertheless it is a grand display of ocean racing yachts. By the time the fleet arrives in London they are all kitted out with all the gear after their training sessions on the South Coast. Nevertheless there's always a few bits and bobs they need and Arthur Beale's is pleased to oblige. I went down this morning to drop off a tube of McLube One Drop which was one of the products they couldn't find on the South Coast. Alan who is racing on PSP Logistics kindly showed me over the boat. My boat is only 26 ft long. I just pull on a rope and things generally happen but these beasts need a lot of power to control them and they are bristling with Harken kit and Dyneema cored lines. Little adaptions are always interesting, they have installed some tough netting around the granny bars surrounding the steering positions to provide at least some protection from the "greenies". They were struggling to feed on some Technora sheeves to protect their spinnaker halyards from chafe at the masthead block. Most interestingly they have replaced their rigging screw on the forestay with a massive Dyneema lashing. Apparently the rigging screws were on the verge of failing due to the heavy pounding the vessel takes when sailing upwind. I'm not sure if this is the first year they have tried the Dyneema but it will be interesting to compare. Down below is utterly practical, no room for nice parrafin lamps in here. Up forward behind a watertight bulkhead door is a large sail room. There are bunks there but they aren't used. I'm not surprised by that as I can only imagine it would be horrendous in the bow in a bit of a sea.
The galley looks really well thought out. Situated dead centre and where the motion of the boat is probably the least, there is a snug secure place where hearty meals can be served up before being thrown up. They have a generator on board and plenty of power to run the impressive nav station plus all the media camera and comms equipment. They even have a fridge - now that's posh! I had a peek at the Le Chameau boots and the Helly Hansen ones. They are both fitted with draining gaiters and seem to be the preferred option for Southern Ocean sailing. Arthur Beale's are still deliberating on the best footwear to stock. After two years we will make up our minds soon.
The boat was a hive of activity as the excitement mounts before Sunday when they will set off down the Thames to the start line off Southend Pier and then onwards to Rio de Janeiro.
Everyone at Arthur Beale's would like to wish all the Skippers and Crew the best of luck with the race. I wonder if the McLube One Drop will give PSP Logistics the winning edge?