Thirty non-professional Race Crew hailing from the USA will sail into London’s Royal Docks for the finale celebrations of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The final race of the 2019-20 edition, Race 15, finished in the early hours of Friday, 29 July, marking the end of the global circumnavigation, which saw teams race over 40,000 nautical miles, completing six ocean crossings and eight legs of intense ocean racing.
Taking the Clipper 2019-20 Race crown, as announced this morning (Friday 29 July), is Qingdao. The team, skippered by Chris Brooks, has been the team to beat from early on in the circumnavigation and scored a total of 145 points, ten points clear of its closest competitor.
The next overall podium position of second place was secured by Punta del Este. Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, the team representing the UNESCO destination in Vietnam, placed third.
Chris and Maddie Church, a father-daughter duo from Greenwich, Connecticut, are racing together on board the 70ft racing yacht GoToBermuda.
Says Maddie: “Sailing halfway around the world with my father is the opportunity of a lifetime. Sailing has always been a huge part of his life, so I’m excited that we got to do this together and share these moments and memories.
“I got to know a whole different side of my dad. I don’t think many people are able to say they have shared 36 days straight confined to a 70ft space with their father. At one point, the relationship dissolves from father/daughter to teammate/best friend- thanks for that Clipper Race! We have been living in our own world out here on the race.”
Reflecting on their Clipper Race experience, Tracey Thomas, a 59-year-old writer from San Francisco sailing with GoToBermuda, said:
“I signed up because I really wanted to learn something new, and try something very outside my comfort zone. This is not the kind of thing that I normally do; I’m considered very badass back home now!
“My two favorite moments were the arrival in Bermuda by boat – you were just coming into this beautiful little island with pastel houses, and then we pulled up to the dock, and we had an amazing reception. Coming into New York, too, was very awe-inspiring when you realized how much traffic has come into that port and its history of it.
She concludes: “If someone says ‘I’m not a sailor, I can’t do that- I say go for the training, and if you can do that, you’re set up for the race.”
The epic challenge, which has seen the teams face testing weather systems, waves the size of houses, whilst living life at an angle, is concluding with the muti-national crews of the eleven identical racing yachts set to celebrate the unique achievement at London’s historic Royal Docks London, UK, tomorrow – Saturday 30 July. The day of live music and entertainment to mark the finale and, of course, crown the winners of the Clipper 2019-20 Race will be enjoyed by fellow Race Crew, Race Officials, dedicated supporters, and the public.
The Clipper 2019-20 Race started in London, UK, in September 2019 and, after a two-year pause at its halfway point due to the global pandemic, restarted from the Philippines in March this year. The teams have crossed the world’s largest and most unforgiving oceans, enduring some of the toughest conditions Mother Nature can serve up. The crew, many of whom had never stepped on board a yacht prior to the Clipper Race, have spent weeks at sea, raced through freezing conditions and gales in the North Pacific, faced blistering heat and wind holes in the tropics, ticked off bucket-list sailing achievements such as transiting the iconic Panama Canal and sailing past the Statue of Liberty into New York and are now bound for London to celebrate the end of the Clipper 2019-20 Race.
The eleven multi-nation Clipper Race yachts, led by professional Skippers and First Mates, are made up of men and women from diverse walks of life, ranging from 18-70+ years old. Some 40% of Race Crew had no previous sailing experience before signing up for the four weeks of intensive and rigorous training. Hairdressers from Scotland race shoulder to shoulder with Lecturers from China, Stuntmen from England, Hoteliers from Zanzibar, and Nurses from New Zealand.
Crew can sign up for one leg, multi-legs, or the entire 40,000nm circumnavigation over the course of 11 months. In this edition, a third of the Race Crew are female, including several circumnavigators, as well as five female professional First Mates leading their respective teams.
The Clipper Race was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, and late last year, the sailing event celebrated 25 years since its first edition in 1996.
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