Clipper has reluctantly accepted the resignation of Eero Lehtinen, skipper of Team Finland in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. The Finnish skipper will depart the boat in
Western Australia at the end of Leg 3 and will be replaced by Southampton based skipper Rob McInally.
In an e-mail to Clipper Race Chairman, Sir
Robin Knox-Johnston, Eero made it clear that a series of personal family issues have made it impossible for him to continue as Team Finland 's skipper. The talented Finn made his decision known in a timely fashion to ensure that a reserve skipper will be in Australia to take over the helm ahead of the race restart on 3 January 2010.
“It is always sad to lose a member of the Clipper team and with Team Finland leading the race overall, it's clear that Eero has a real talent,” says Sir Robin. “But family should always come first and we totally understand and support his reasons for making such a tough decision.”
Despite his personal difficulties, Eero has shown he is a consummate professional, once again leading his team to the front of the fleet as the boats battle across the Southern Ocean towards the finish at
Geraldton-Greenough , Western Australia .
Upon arrival Eero will hand over the reins to 37-year-old British skipper, Rob McInally. Rob is no stranger to Clipper or the Ed Dubois designed Clipper 68, having completed a circumnavigation as skipper of Nova Scotia in the Clipper 07-08 Race. Prior to that he worked for both the Challenge Business and the Volvo 60, Pindar.
Commenting on his appointment, Rob says, “I'm sorry to hear that Eero is heading for home and I wish him well. I look forward to meeting with the crew and spending time with them over the Christmas stopover. Eero will be handing over a strong legacy with three podium pennants so far and I look forward to building on that in the races that follow.”
Southampton born and bred, Rob has the ocean in his blood. His father was in the Merchant Navy and his maternal grandfather was in the Royal Navy. Rob even spent three years as a submariner with the Royal Navy before the call of life on top of the waves proved too strong.
“Having completed one circumnavigation of the world I'm keen to share my experience with my new crew,” says Rob. “Although I'm acutely aware that this race will be very different and you can never predict what Mother Nature will chose to throw at you. I hope that we can do Eero proud and keep Team Finland at the top of the leaderboard.”
The fleet is expected to arrive in Geraldton , Western Australia for the next stopover between 14 and 18 December.
POSITIONS AT 0900 UTC, FRIDAY 27 NOVEMBER
1 Team Finland DTF 3844
2 Cape Breton Island DTF 3849 DTL +5
3 Spirit of Australia DTF 3854 DTL +9
4 Uniquely Singapore DTF 3885 DTL +40
5 Jamaica Lightning Bolt DTF 3900 DTL +56
6 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital DTF 3954 DTL +100
7 Qingdao DTF 3968 DTL +124
8 California DTF 3981 DTL +137
9 Cork DTF 4699 DTL +855
10 Hull & Humber DTF 4773 DTL +929