Round the World race finish in Liverpool

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.

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.


The final result of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race is:

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