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Clipper Race: Yacht runs aground off Cape Town; crew safely evacuated to shore

CAPE TOWN – A crew in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has been evacuated after running aground just hours after beginning the third leg of the eight-leg global race on Tuesday. The yacht GREENINGS ran aground on the western side of Cape Peninsula, which sits roughly halfway between Cape Town and Cape Point.

Race organizers say skipper David Hartshorn (GBR) and 17 crew are safe and that no injuries were reported. The crew was evacuated onto rescue boats provided by the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) and taken to shore at Hout Bay. Organizers later said the crew was taken to Cape Town and that the situation will be assessed in the morning.

No details of the accident or condition of the boat were provided. It wasn't immediately known if the grounding was as serious as when Team Vestas Wind slammed into a reef in the Indian Ocean in December 2014 during the Volvo Ocean Race, causing significant damage.

After being informed of the grounding, the closest vessel, UNICEF, was asked to stand by to assist. With the situation under control, UNICEF was instructed to continue racing.

Rather than being fully crewed by professional sailors, the yachts in the Clipper Race are sailed mostly by, as the race web site says, “ordinary, everyday people’’ who have completed “a rigorous training course.’’

This photo was posted on the Clipper Race web site in the hours after Greenings ran aground.