SPORT — Team Finland crosses Equator into northern hemisphere


Batam Island, Indonesia, January 18: For the crews who arrived in port at the end of Race 5 yesterday today has been one of housekeeping. After a slow-ish start to the morning deep cleans were in full swing on board Cape Breton Island and California by midday while the eight Cork crew members headed into Batam Centre for some essential retail therapy.

Most had left their boat with just the clothes they were wearing.

California's crew lent them some of theirs and Nongsa Point Resort provided bags of shorts and T-shirts as the crew arrived to see them through their first night but today, refreshed after showers, food and a night's sleep, they headed into town to pick up some essentials to see them through until their own kit arrives with Team Finland tomorrow.

The other crews not cleaning or shopping took advantage of the beautiful surroundings for a day off and some R&R after the physically demanding race from Geraldton. They will begin working through their deep clean and list of maintenance jobs tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile out on the racecourse three of the yachts, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, Qingdao and Team Finland, are making their way towards Nongsa Point Marina, where the fleet is gathering ahead to make their way together across the Singapore Straits to Marina at Keppel Bay on Singapore's southern waterfront on Saturday morning.

Team Finland, who have eight Cork crew members on board as well as their own, are expected in Batam on Tuesday afternoon local time. Today they crossed the Equator, moving back into the northern hemisphere in which the remainder of Clipper 09-10 will play out. And they celebrated the milestone in the time-honoured tradition, despite the uncomfortable conditions onboard generated by the weather and the remnants of the monsoon season.

Team Finland's skipper, Rob McInally, says, "The heat in this area is tough, we are making it slightly less comfortable by cooking for 25 and constantly making water, which means having the generator on. In general, we are adding more heat to what is usually unbearable.

"We are beating into a changing wind, both in direction and strength, and a very confused sea. We dream of the westerly wind that the weather file once prescribed to avoid the tacking and therefore doubling our mileage. As yet in our heart of hearts we know it is not going to come. The mileage is hard to get down as you would have seen by the efforts of the race finishers.

"There is only one thing to do in these situations. Have a party. We do not have much to offer but the Neptune ceremony has just taken place and the punishments administered. We charged a glass of boat water and hip hip hoorayed as we crossed.

"It will not be long but it cannot come soon enough for us to reunite the Cork crew and join the Clipper family in Batam. We have much to celebrate," McInally said. 

Positions at 1500 UTC, Monday, January 18, 2010

1. Cape Breton Island

Finished 0214, January 17
2. Spirit of Australia

Finished 0229, January 17
3. Jamaica Lightning Bolt

Finished 0559, January 17
4. California

Finished 1021, January 17
5. Uniquely Singapore

Finished 1528, January 17
6. Hull & Humber

Finished 1749, January 17
7. Team Finland

DTF 81nm
DTL +81nm
8. Qingdao

DTF 194nm
DTL +194nm
9. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital

DTF 228nm
DTL +228nm
10. Cork

Not racing 
(DTF = Distance to Finish, DTL = Distance to Leader) 

Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found at