The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
The task of running the logistics for a round-the-world yacht race with 12 boats and 670 crew is no straightforward one.
Entire race villages need to be moved from continent to continent, parts need to be flown to remote locations at a moment’s notice and if vital equipment doesn’t reach its destination in time it could mean the difference between victory and defeat for those taking part.
So when the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race needed a partner to take on the colossal 11-month project it turned to the proven expert in worldwide race and event logistics, PSP.
PSP’s wealth of experience in providing logistics for international races and events meant it knew preparation was the key.
It worked closely with race organisers to create a solid plan for the most reliable and cost effective way to transport the race equipment and villages from country to country. The plan involved four 40ft containers, containing all of the vital cargo, leapfrogging each other across the world. It meant that two would be in each key race stopover port at any one time.
Managing director Frank Dixie said: “It was all about meticulous planning and timing, working with the major international shipping lines to be 100% certain that each container would reach its destination on time, taking into account local laws and import regulations.”
To overcome the challenge of varying rules in customs PSP called upon its most powerful tool – its worldwide alliance of agents.
“The power of having our people on the ground in each location was vital,” Frank said. “For example, our alliance members in Singapore knew that the container would need to be covered in foliage at the race village to meet local laws so they arranged this for us.
“Similarly our agents in Australia knew that the most efficient way to get the containers across the country would be to transport them via rail and they helped us with the difficult task of getting it all loaded on time just before Christmas.”
Of course the power of planning comes into its own in an emergency situation and PSP experienced just this during the 2009-10 race when two race yachts lost their masts during dramatic storms in the Pacific Ocean.
Brand new masts, built in Devon, had to be transported to San Francisco to keep the yachts in the running for on-water glory. PSP’s ‘emergency logistics plan’ kicked into action and its road, sea and air freight divisions worked together to ensure the new masts were waiting for the yachts at the race village in San Francisco just five days later.
- Project logistics
- Sea freight
- Rail freight
- Air freight
- International logistics alliance
PSP’s instrumental role in the last three Clipper Round the World Yacht races has meant that while competitors battled fierce waves, the logistics of the race was smooth sailing.
Left photo shows the containers in Cape Town and the right photo shows PSP Logistics in USA
The client said
“Guaranteed and on-time logistical support is one of the most crucial elements of an event like the Clipper Race. Our containers are mobile workshops carrying maintenance equipment and essential spares around the world. The window of opportunity to carry out repairs in each port is only a matter of days so it's crucial the containers arrive and clear customs ahead of the fleet to ensure the team can hit the ground running as soon as the first yacht docks.
“PSP and its alliance of global partners not only ensured the tight schedule was maintained but also that the containers were shipped via the most cost effective means. What's more the PSP team deals with all enquiries in a friendly and professional manner and is always at hand to advise regardless of the size of the job.”
Katie Beney, Sponsorship Manager, Clipper
The project in numbers
- Containers travelled 103,136 miles between them
- Six different countries visited
- Each container weighed 15,000 kilos
- Among its cargo, each container contained 30kg worth of nuts and bolts, 7km of electrical tape and 5.3km of sewing thread