After racing over 40,000 nautical miles around the world, the Clipper Race fleet and some 180 intrepid Race Crew have arrived back in London, UK, completing the epic circumnavigation.
After a spectacular Parade of Sail along the River Thames, the jubilant teams were welcomed into London’s Royal Docks in the afternoon by a huge crowd of family, friends, partners and spectators creating an electric atmosphere for their arrival.
Jacqueline Kavanagh, from Ireland who is now officially a Circumnavigator on the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam yacht said: “It feels so fantastic to be back in London. I’ve not seen my husband since February! I’ve only seen him for about five minutes since I got in! My children are here, there are former crew members here and it’s a great atmosphere.
“Without a doubt, the best part for me was the camaraderie between the crew. You come up on watch and there will always be something saying something ridiculous or funny. Yes, there has been amazing sailing and racing and we won some races but the friends who are behind me now are what I will take away and cherish for the rest of my life.”
One of the loudest dockside cheers was for the second placed Punta del Este team. Representing the Uruguayan resort and Yacht Club Punta del Este, the bright yellow team yacht looked striking as it arrived into London.
Fiona Mitchell on arriving in London on board Punta del Este said: “I’ve just finished the Clipper Race. I feel absolutely amazing – it’s been just the most incredible experience and I’m so pleased I signed up. It’s been everything I wanted and even more. Sailing into London was so exciting! It was great to see so many people here to welcome us in.”
Once docked, the Clipper Race finale celebrations got underway with the overall Clipper 2019-20 Race Prizegiving – the perfect chance to celebrate each team’s success.
Working up the leaderboard from eleventh to first place, the teams took to the stage, celebrating with cheers, chants and champagne sprays.
Commenting on the enthusiastic shower from Imagine your Korea host Neil Sackley said: “The forecast is for downpours of Champagne!”
Once ten teams had graced the stage it was then the turn of the overall Clipper 2019-20 Race winners, Qingdao, to have their moment and celebrate the victory. With 145 points, the Qingdao team was ten points clear to take victory in the overall standings.
Jody, from Michigan, USA, who completed the circumnavigation on board Qingdao said: “I feel great. What a thing! There was a lot of hard work and painful cold, wet nights but it was all worth it and all paid off.
“It’s been an incredible lifetime achievement. An amazing thing to experience”.
Georgina Wright, from Portsmouth,UK joined Qingdao for the Atlantic Homecoming Leg, sailing from Bermuda to London. On arrival she said: “It feels amazing to be on the winning team but I’ve only done the last leg of the race so as much as it feels amazing, I feel so proud of the team – especially the ones who have been doing this for years now. They are such an amazing bunch of people.
“I had never sailed before, I only signed up in March, did my training back to back in April then it was time to race! The weather, learning about forecasts, even down to things like doing the cooking were all highlights – but the thing I loved the most was meeting all these people. They are from all over the world but they all play a key part in the team and it’s been incredible.
“It’s been great to learn something new – I need to find a new challenge now!”
Managing Director of Clipper Ventures Chris Rushton and Yan Hu, General Manager of Clipper China, visited six cities (Beijing, Qinhuangdao, Dalian, Qingdao and Shanghai) in eight days, meeting CYA and several city governments and future partners in a number of cities, focusing on the offshore sailing training system and offshore sailing race event management.
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