On Saturday the sailing fleet of ten internationally-backed 68-foot ocean racing yachts competing in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race arrived back in Liverpool at the end of their 35,000-mile circumnavigation. For the non-professional crew onboard, the race finish this weekend 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.

Clipper race

Doctors, students, teachers, secretaries and a taxi driver are among the crew members who are nearing the end of their challenge.  Onboard each yacht is just one professional, the skipper, whose role it is to lead the team to victory. The crew is all amateurs, nearly forty percent of whom had no sailing experience when they began this adventure ten months ago. National pride is at stake as the Clipper Race is the longest race in the world where cities and nations go head to head.

The fleet’s arrival in Liverpool on Saturday coincided with the height of the city’s celebrations as European Capital of Culture 2008 and thousands of supporters are expected to line the banks of the River Mersey to welcome the teams back home.

On Saturday the program was as follows (all times in GMT):

Early AM – First yachts to finish at the Bar buoy in River Mersey

0830 – Start of Liverpool 08 Dash up the River Mersey to Dukes Mast (media boat available)

1115 – Parade of sail with cannon fired in honour of each of the ten yachts

1145 – Fleet enters Canning Half Tide Dock

1300 – Prizegiving for Race 14 in Canning Half Tide Dock

1400 – Fleet enters Albert Dock

1415 – Prizegiving for Liverpool 08 Dash and overall race in Albert Dock

Clipper round the world raceFor everyone onboard each boat this final race is a poignant moment. Sailing round the world is an unprecedented achievement – more people have climbed Mount Everest than have raced yachts around the world.  The last short race, which culminates with the fleet’s arrival in Liverpool’s famous Albert Dock on Saturday, is the climax of this once in a lifetime adventure.
Clipper 07-08 started in Liverpool on 16 September 2007 and over the last ten months the teams have circumnavigated the globe, crossing the Atlantic three times, the Pacific once, and sailing across the infamous Southern Ocean, with stopovers in 6 continents.

The Clipper Race is the brainchild of legendary yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox Johnston, who in 1969,  became the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world.


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