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Clipper 07-08

Non-professional fleet arrives in Liverpool

US entry, New York, secures sixth first place of the Clipper Trophy

dimanche 6 juillet 2008Redaction SSS [Source RP]

A spectacular welcome greeted the crews of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race as they arrived back in Liverpool at the end of their 35,000-mile circumnavigation. For the non-professional crew onboard the ten 68-foot ocean racing yachts, the return to Albert Dock marks the end of a challenge of a lifetime as they battled the elements in search of victory and the title of Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race champions.

Crossing the finish line overnight at the end of the 14th and final stage of the Clipper 07-08 Race, the US entry, New York, claimed the maximum ten points for securing their sixth first place of their campaign and the Clipper Trophy. Hull & Humber, New York’s closest rival on the overall leaderboard ahead of Race 14, saw their hopes of claiming the title fade as New York stretched out a small but significant lead in the fast reaching race from Cork, Ireland to Liverpool, UK.

Arriving in Albert Dock, skipper Duggie Gillespie, from Kirkudbright, Scotland, said, “It didn’t sink in last night. It was relief last night just to get over the line. We’d been pushing behind Hull & Humber, working really hard – teamwork, teamwork, teamwork, all the time – and it was relief when we crossed the line. And it’s only now, when you come in here and there’s I don’t know how many thousands of people, you think well, we’ve actually done it. We’ve won the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.”

After his team had crossed the finish line Duggie let off two flares on the bow of the boat in celebration. “That was a bit of fun,” he said, “But I was trying not to burn the sails ! But it was great, in the Irish Sea, in the middle of nowhere, to know you’d not only won the leg, but won the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. And to win that leg was really just so sweet – it wasn’t expected. We didn’t need to. When we went round the last gate we had a team meeting and said right boys, here we are, we’re in the lead. We’ve got to the do the same thing to cover Hull & Humber as we’ve got to do to cover the fleet, so let’s really try and win this. So we made the decision then to really try to win and we just had to stop them from coming through. And we did !”

The Clipper fleet’s arrival back in Liverpool at the end of their 35,000-mile circumnavigation was part of the city’s European Capital of Culture 2008 celebrations and thousands of Liverpudlians, race supporters and friends and family of the crews lined the banks of the Mersey to welcome the yachts back home.

The iconic Albert Dock provided a fantastic venue for the prize giving ceremony and crowds thronged the colonnades as each of the top three teams overall was presented with their pennant by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Steve Rotheram. Third place went to the Scottish entry Glasgow : Scotland with style Clipper, the only boat in the ten-strong fleet to be led by a female skipper, Hannah Jenner.

Hannah said, “It’s a bit surreal. I don’t think it’s really dawned on any of us what we just did and where we just came and it’s great to be here. In some ways it does feel like we’ve been away almost a year and in some ways it feels like we were just here last week when we first pulled up nervously but it’s really exciting. We’re very, very proud of third place. We’re delighted to have the boat not just on the podium for a single race for the first time in four campaigns, but overall, which is what we set out to achieve and we’ve achieved it.”

Second place was presented to Danny Watson and his Hull & Humber team. Danny said, “It was a good race, we got another podium in Race 14. Obviously it wasn’t just quite enough but we gave it everything and it’s great to be here, second overall and the crew are made up. One of our key objectives was to strive for a podium position and to achieve a second place overall is a fantastic result.”

The yellow first place pennant was handed to a jubilant New York crew. Round the world crew member, Gary Purdom from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA, said, “It’s spectacular in the sense that you think about doing something for 30 years and it really is a dream to be here at Albert Dock and not only doing it but doing it in style. The team was great, we were very competitive and fortunate to win the overall thing. That’s the icing on the cake when you have a dream just to circumnavigate, so I’m thrilled with every measure of the whole thing.”

Doctors, students, teachers, lawyers, secretaries and a taxi driver are among the crew members who have succeeded in their challenge. On board each of the ten internationally-backed yachts is just one professional, the skipper, whose role it is to lead the team to victory. The crew members are all amateurs, nearly forty percent of whom had no sailing experience when they embarked on their Clipper Training, before setting off on this adventure ten months ago.

For every crew member this final race is a poignant moment. Sailing around the world is a considerable achievement – more people have climbed Mount Everest than have raced yachts around the world. The fleet’s arrival in Albert Dock this afternoon is the climax of this once in a lifetime adventure.

Clipper 07-08 began in Liverpool on 16 September 2007 and, over the last ten months, the teams have circumnavigated the globe, crossing the Atlantic three times, the Pacific once, and sailed across the infamous Southern Ocean, with stopovers on five continents.

The Clipper Race is the brainchild of legendary yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who, in 1969 became the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world. In 1996, he created the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to give ordinary people the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

At the crew reception and prize giving set against the atmospheric backdrop of the imposing St George’s Hall, Sir Robin addressed the massed crews, their families and friends. He told them, “I said to you one thing before you set out. At the end of this race I wanted you to be able to say, that’s the best thing I’ve done with my life – so far. I hope this has been the experience you hoped it would be. I hope you’ll continue to sail. And I suppose for many of you there’s a small matter of work to get back to. I hope you’ll go back with very different attitudes. You’ll be able to say, ‘I’ve sailed around the world with Clipper now and I can probably do better than I did before.’ That’s what you’ve taught yourselves. You’ll have made friendships that will last for the rest of your lives. And above all, you’ve achieved one of the most difficult things in sport, and the highest achievement in sailing – a circumnavigation.”

To date more than 1,400 people have become ocean racers by taking part in the Clipper Race and, of these, nearly 300 have achieved the rare accolade of becoming a circumnavigator by racing around the world under sail. Sixty-two new circumnavigators have joined the ranks of this exclusive club following the fleet’s arrival in Liverpool today.

Councillor Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council and Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company said, “We’re delighted to welcome the Clipper crews back to Liverpool at the end of their journey – I’m sure our famous waterfront was a welcome sight after such an epic round-the-world adventure.

“This is the third time that the race has ended in Liverpool and it is particularly fitting that the yachts are sailing back into the city right in the middle of our European Capital of Culture celebrations. In fact, the Clipper Race finish heralds the start of a month of maritime activity for Liverpool, with the Tall Ships’ Races arriving in just two weeks’ time.”

Press info Clipper 07-08 /


- 1 New York 103.5
- 2 Hull & Humber 98
- 3 Glasgow : Scotland with style Clipper 87
- 4 Qingdao 77.5
- 5 Liverpool 08 75.5
- 6 Durban 2010 and Beyond 70
- 7 69
- 8 Uniquely Singapore 65
- 9 Nova Scotia 50.5
- 10 Jamaica 40.5

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