CLIPPER UPDATE – It was a spectacular scene today as thousands of people turned out to watch the end of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race in Southampton, UK. Gold Coast Australia secured overall victory, as the non-professional crew on board all ten ocean racing yachts marked the end of a 40,000-mile challenge of a lifetime.
After 51 weeks of ocean racing Gold Coast Australia today took first place in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. Visit Finland finished in second, while a battle towards the end saw Singapore, sponsored by Keppel Corporation, pip Dutch entry De Lage Landen to the post for the third and final podium position by finishing 20 seconds earlier.
The fleet crossed the final finish line of Race 15 this morning where Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sails solo non-stop around the world, led a parade of sail in Southampton Water to welcome back the fleet of ten identical 68-foot racing yachts.
Tasmanian skipper Richard Hewson and his crew proudly stood on the bow of Gold Coast Australia as thousands of people applauded the victorious Australian team.
“It has been an amazing adventure. From the start we’ve had plans to dominate the race and we’ve definitely done that. It was very competitive and we’ve racing against some fantastic tough competition all the way. We’ve achieved so much more than we set out to achieve and had so many wins and podiums, but to stand here on the stage as winners is unbelievable. I’ve had an amazing crew that’s made this happen,” said Gold Coast Australia skipper Richard Hewson, before accepting the winning trophy on stage in front of thousands of people.
All day tens of thousands of people lined the dockside of Ocean Village marina in Southampton to welcome home the crews after a gruelling year long challenge that has seen them take on the world’s largest and most formidable oceans, endured violent storms and frustrating calms, extreme heat and bone-numbing cold while racing ferociously to win.
While Gold Coast Australia led most of the race securing a podium place in all 15 races, its nine competitors remained close throughout. Visit Finland skippered by Olly Osborne kept in a firm second. Further down the leader board it remained very close between a number of the boats.After completing 40,000 miles of ocean racing, the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet arrived home yesterday to a heroes’ welcome in Southampton.
Vicky Song, Qingdao
“It has enriched my life. When you are not on water you have a regular life and go to work, but my life on board has really brought life into perspective. I am proud and happy to have developed my sailing skills and make so many friends, as well as teaching people about Chinese culture around the world.”
Jane Hitchins, Geraldton Western Australia
“Getting back on board feels like closure. Having had the Southern Ocean thrown at me twice and the Pacific Ocean thrown at me once it was great to be well enough to be able to complete the journey after a great recovery.
“When the US Coast Guard took me off the yacht after the wave hit us, I didn’t have a chance to complete my experience. Now standing here I feel like the Clipper Race journey is truly full circle and I’m very pleased to have been part of this, be part of the team and finish it here on stage together despite all that has happened.”
Jim Cole, New York
This experience has been absolutely fantastic. I have loved every minute of this journey and other than a little broken finger 700 miles off the shore of Ireland it has been an incredible experience, especially for someone of 72 years of age!”
Justine Laymond, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
“I’m just amazed to be home, it’s certainly been a challenge that I have overcome battling through my own personal challenges with my health, seasickness and exhaustion. I’m glad I’m home and I can actually flush a toilet or have to balance myself at an angle!
“There were a couple of moments on my journey where I thought it was game over but I was determined and powered myself through and it’s fantastic. I just can’t believe I’m home and I’ve done it! I’m so happy,”
George Allen, Welcome to Yorkshire
“It is so emotional, what a reception we have received it is absolutely unbelievable. Looking back on it now I can’t believe I’ve done it, I’ve conquered some mighty oceans and it was out of this world.
“The Clipper Race was a challenge, I’ve completed it and I’m really pleased and proud of myself for that.”
Richard Hewson, Gold Coast Australia
“It has been an amazing adventure. From the start we’ve had plans to dominate the race and we’ve definitely done that. We’ve been racing against some fantastic teams and very tough competition all the way.
“We’ve achieved so much more than we set out to achieve, had so many wins and podiums, but to stand on the stage as overall winners is unbelievable. The fantastic crew of Gold Coast Australia, amazing support from our sponsor and followers have all been part of making this happen,”
John Harkin, Derry-Londonderry
“It’s been a long journey and I’ll be glad to get back to my family and grandchildren who I haven’t seen for quite a while. It’s been tough and there were lots of times I thought I couldn’t complete it. Now that I stand here at the end, I’m delighted to have achieved what I have achieved. I have always wanted to sail round the world and the Clipper Race gave me the opportunity to do it.”
Ben Bowley, Singapore
“To see how they have developed and grown, not just as sailors over the course of the race makes my heart swell to the point of bursting. We have shared so much together that the thought of not being with my crew in the immediate future is a little distressing; yet, I take comfort in the fact that what we have achieved together in a year is more than many people could hope to accomplish in a lifetime. Today is the day we realise that with enough effort, the right team attitude and a sense of humour, anything is achievable. There’s always a chance that tomorrow could be the greatest day of your life, dare to dream, they may just come true!
Stuart Jackson, De Lage Landen
“Well what an amazing climax to an amazing race!
“Seconds separated the podium positions at race finish and we gave it all we had. What a privilege and an honour to race with such a fantastic crew throughout the year. It has been humbling to think back to what we have experienced since we left these shores 12 months ago and what have we all been through in that time.
“I am so proud of what we have achieved and every crew member that has raced with De Lage Landen should feel thoroughly proud of themselves.
Olly Osborne, Visit Finland
We couldn’t have asked for a better day to enter our home waters, and not long after sunrise we re-crossed our outward track and completed our circumnavigation of the world. It was an emotional moment for the round the world crew, and until then the realisation that we had completed such an epic journey had not sunk in.
The final race for us was a struggle, with sail damage, wind holes, and even a visit from the customs and excise to contend with! But this morning the feeling on board turned from frustration to elation as we finally finished the race and secured our second place overall.
It has been an incredible journey and having sailed so many miles and visited so many amazing places it will take some time before the scale of the adventure sinks in. But as the festivities begin this afternoon and we are re-united with our friends and family it will certainly be an achievement to be proud of.