Published: Monday, 21 September 2015

Clipper Round the World race leader LMAX Exchange is the first team to cross the equator, with the crew celebrating with a special ceremony as they crossed the line marking the Northern/Southern hemisphere divide.

Clipper Round The World Race Leader Crosses The Equator

(LMAX Exchange)

The ceremony of crossing the line is an initiation that commemorates a sailor’s first crossing of the equator. The crew pays tribute to the ancient ruler of the sea, King Neptune, to ensure a safe and quick passage. Sailors who have already sailed across the equator are known as shellbacks, while those have haven’t sailed across the equator are known as pollywogs.

“The ceremony was organised with my Shellbacks to initiate the Pollywogs,” says Skipper Olivier Cardin. “The honourable Shellbacks began to find out the faults or crimes of each Pollywog. Then we had to find a suitable punishment (a spoon of marmite, water and flour, songs, hair pulling, with or without teeth). Our Pollywogs have accepted their punishment and became ‘Trusty Shellbacks’ in the company of King Neptune on the fine ship LMAX Exchange.”

More ceremonies with King Neptune have been taking place as the leading pack crosses the Equator.

Garmin, Derry~Londonderry~Doire, GREAT Britain and Qingdao have all crossed into the Southern Hemisphere.

The frontrunners are now in stronger southerly trade winds and are making good progress to the finish line in Rio.

Clipper Round The World Race Leader Crosses The Equator 2

Race leader LMAX Exchange is currently in the Ocean Sprint section of the course.

The winner of the Ocean Sprint is the yacht that finishes the section between the lines of latitude 5 degrees south and 10 degrees south quickest. The yacht with the shortest elapsed time for the Ocean Sprint will be awarded two points and will receive the Andy Ashman Memorial Plate, which will be presented in Rio.

Leg 1 of the 40,000 nautical-mile race, from London to Rio de Janerio, Brazil is expected to conclude the last week of September. The race will then continue on to Cape Town, South Africa.