Embarking for The Clipper Race
Published on September 1st, 2019
(September 1, 2019) – Some 220 ordinary people from all walks of life, representing 29 different nationalities, have departed St. Katharine Docks, London, in front of thousands of spectators, to embark on the twelfth edition of the epic 40,000 nautical mile global sailing challenge, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains everyday people to sail around the world. And 40 percent of participants have no sailing experience before signing up for the four weeks of intensive training needed to take part. In this edition, there are over 350 different occupations including doctors, farmers, teachers, retirees and a safari leader.
After leaving London this afternoon, the race will officially begin from the Thames Estuary on September 2. The first race is to the Algarve town of Portimão, Portugal, then the teams will race thirty days to Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Legendary sailor and Clipper Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who was there to see the fleet off, said: “The Clipper Race is for anyone wanting to do something extraordinary with their lives. By the end of this challenge, you see crew standing tall, their self-confidence having grown, knowing they’ve done something very special with their lives.”
Sir Robin, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the planet, 50 years ago, founded the race to allow anyone, regardless of experience, the chance to share his passion for ocean racing. He added: “Why paint your life in pastel shades? Paint it in bright colors and enjoy every moment of it!”
Nearly 700 non-professional crew will take on Mother Nature in this ultimate ocean challenge. 43 different nationalities are represented, making it the most international edition to date. The race will see crew from Tanzania, Nigeria, Morocco, Martinique, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Egypt compete for the first time.
Timothy Morgan a nineteen year old student from Northamptonshire, is sailing around the world on the Seattle team. He says: “The adventure, getting away from it all and doing something completely different from everyday life, is what attracted me to the Clipper Race. I’m taking a gap year from university and when I come back people tell me I will have a whole new outlook on life.
As he departed London, he said: “Now looking around us there are crowds, three or four people deep, all the way around. It’s an emotional day leaving everyone. I won’t see my parents for six months now, but I am excited to get started.”
The race is open to anyone aged 18 and over with no upper age limit, who has a thirst for adventure and a desire to challenge themselves. The oldest competitor to date is 76, a figure matched during this edition. Each crew is led by a professional Skipper and First Mate.
Eleven teams are competing in the race, including Bermuda’s debut team, GoToBermuda, the first Uruguayan team entry, Punta del Este, plus a Unicef entry, representing the race’s Charity Partner. For the first time there are three Chinese team entries, Zhuhai, Visit Sanya, China, and Qingdao.
Following their stopover in Portimão, Portugal, the teams will then head to Punta del Este, Uruguay, Cape Town, South Africa, Fremantle and the Whitsundays, Australia, Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao, China, Seattle, USA, Panama and New York, USA, Bermuda, before a final crossing of the Atlantic Ocean towards Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
The Clipper Race will return to London almost a year later for Race Finish in August 2020, where one of the eleven teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy.
The Clipper 2019-20 Race Route:
The eleven teams began the circumnavigation at St Katharine Docks on 1 September 2019, racing from London, UK, to Portimão, Portugal; across the Atlantic to Punta del Este, Uruguay; the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Fremantle, Western Australia; around to the Whitsundays on the east coast of Australia, back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the mighty North Pacific to Seattle, USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; to Bermuda and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing to Derry-Londonderry; before arriving back to London as fully proven ocean racers.
About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race:
The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.
Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training program ahead of their adventure. Some will choose to take on the whole circumnavigation while others will compete in one or more of eight individual legs.
The overall route is split into a series of global races and a maximum 11 points going to first place ascending to one point for eleventh place. The team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the final race wins the series, and the Clipper Race trophy.
Source: Kathryn Pridie