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Clipper: Water, water everywhere

ITV News London's Chris Paxton is taking part in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. But his boat Switzerland has had a major technical problem. Here's his latest blogpost:

We're in one of the hottest parts of the world, just north of the Equator. We're having to drink litres of water each day to avoid dehydration and keep our boat Switzerland racing. And then we noticed the bilges - the storage areas beneath the floorboards - were beginning to fill with water.

Switzerland takes on water from fellow sailors after its watermaker went on the blink Credit: Chris Paxton

The bilges do usually get a bit damp but this was much more. And it was clear seawater, not the usual mucky stuff that gathers in there.

Our engineers eventually traced the source of it to our watermaker, the device that turns seawater into drinkable H2O. It had developed a leak which sent water spurting out whenever we turned it on. Not only was it filling the bilges, it also meant we were getting less and less to drink.

View from on high as the Switzerland enters the Doldrums Credit: Chris Paxton

Despite a massive repair shift by our engineers, the problem was too severe to fix at sea. So the decision was made to take some water from another Clipper Race team, Team Garmin.

We rendezvoused with them on Wednesday, threw a rope across, attached a dinghy and spent an hour pulling jerrycans of water from their boat to ours. We stored that water in anything we could find, including huge drybags made of thick plastic

If handled correctly, we should have enough water to get us to our destination Rio De Janeiro. The water exchange cost us time in the race - under the rules of sailing, a team can't get time back if they have a technical problem (though Team Garmin will get time back for helping us).

At the moment, we are sailing slowly southwards in the Doldrums where a good wind is hard to find. But once we pass the Doldrums, we should accelerate towards Rio. Where a large drink will be the first thing to get.

You can read my previous blogs here

New video: clipper race starts in Southend

The Clipper Round the World race has begun, with all twelve teams starting successfully and on their way to Brest in France.

Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said there was an element of envy as he watched the yachts go through the start line.

He said: "You're thinking, oh you lucky people, you're going sailing... This is the start of their big adventure"

Race Director Justin Taylor said: "It was a great sight, it's so wonderful to see the whole fleet together racing for the first time"

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