Published: Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams departed New York on the final leg of the circumnavigation, the Atlantic Homecoming (June 20-July 8).

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 5

(Photos: Clipper Race)

Following a departure ceremony and parade of sail in front of the New York skyline and Statue of Liberty, the 12 international teams started Race 12 of the series, the LegenDerry Finale to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The teams performed a Le Mans start at Ambrose Lighthouse at 19:44 local time (23:44 UTC) June 20 on the first of three races making up the final leg. Race 13, Derry Londonderry to Den Helder, The Netherlands, and Race 14, Den Helder to London, UK will complete the global series, which concludes on July 30. 

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 10

(LMAX Exchange)

Points are tight at the top of the leaderboard, with LMAX Exchange, Skippered by Frenchman Olivier Cardin, 10 points ahead of second-placed Derry~Londonderry~Doire. GREAT Britain is seven points behind the Northern Irish entry in third position, and just four points ahead of Garmin, in fourth.

With a maximum of 41 points available over the next three races, the top four positions are still up for grabs, creating a lot of pressure for the leading Skippers.

“We will be paying close attention to the ice marks set by the race office in the first part of the race. Then we will be close to the North Atlantic High. It might be difficult to go to the Scoring Gate section of the course as a result,” says Cardin. “We want to control Derry~Londonderry~Doire and maintain our position 10 points ahead of it by staying close to the boat, GREAT Britain and Garmin by covering them. The team is not complacent at all, and we know we must keep fighting hard to stay at the top of the leaderboard, but we are confident after five overall race wins out of 11, so far.”

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 3

(Da Nang – Viet Nam)

“There are some good southerlies forecast, and the longer they last the better,” says GREAT Britain Skipper Peter Thornton. “That will tempt quite a lot of people to be close to the ice limit gates, if the winds don’t turn out as we forecast that might cause some problems.”

“The race is incredibly tight now with all the podium positions still up for grabs,” says Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Dan Smith. “We are putting everything into the LegenDerry Finale and hoping, at the very least, that we can maintain our second place in the overall race standings,” Dan added.

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 4


“Once we round the corner of the ice gate, it will get more interesting,” says Garmin Skipper Ash Skett. “Weather wise, we should be downwind for the majority of the race. We need to prioritise getting on the podium in London and are very much looking at GREAT Britain. There is a potential danger of being sucked into a battle for a lead position with the other boats, so I told the crew we need to focus on beating GREAT Britain.

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 2


All the teams will be gunning for a good result on the final ocean crossing of the circumnavigation, with just one point separating Qingdao, fifth, (65 points), and Mission Performance in sixth (64 points). ClipperTelemed+, in seventh, (59 points), is three points ahead of Da Nang – Viet Nam, (56 points), after podiums on the last two races for the first time.

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg


Close behind is Visit Seattle (ninth, 50 points), Unicef, (10th, 49 points), IchorCoal, (11th, 41 points) and PSP Logistics, (12th, 34 points). 

Meanwhile, Britain’s most successful badminton player, Olympian Nathan Robertson, has set off on the Atlantic Homecoming Leg of ocean endurance challenge the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 1

(Nathan Robertson)

Robertson, with an Olympic medal, two Commonwealth titles and 17 other titles, left New York with the GREAT Britain team to represent his country.

Robertson retired from professional badminton in 2012 and had no sailing experience before starting training last year alongside the other 700 international amateur sailors competing in the 40,000 nautical mile ocean adventure. He is one of a number of British athletes testing themselves in a leg of the race on board the GREAT Britain entry.

Nathan will sail 3,100 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean to London via Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and The Netherlands before the final race back into London’s St Katharine Docks, at Tower Bridge.

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 6

(Great Britain)

Nathan is the final of four Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have competed as ambassadors on board the GREAT Britain yacht in the global series this edition.  

Olympic sprinter Abi Oyepitan completed the All-Australian leg, Olympic Rower Bill Lucas crossed the Southern Ocean from South Africa to Australia, and Paralympic skiing guide Charlotte Evans MBE sailed from Australia to China via Vietnam.

Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy also took part in the opening leg from London to Rio de Janeiro, after which he said crossing the Atlantic was tougher than taking on any opponent in the octagon. 

The 2015-16 series is GREAT Britain’s second entry in the Clipper Race following its second place finish in the 2013-14 edition. The GREAT Britain campaign is the Government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. The campaign is active in over 144 countries worldwide.

It’s an honour every team competing in the world’s longest ocean race will be hoping to win, with nominations for the Henri Lloyd Clipper Race Seamanship Award opening June 15.

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 12

In recognition of the extreme challenges faced by the crew taking part in the race, both as individuals and as a team, the race’s official technical clothing partner Henri Lloyd is rewarding the coveted Henri Lloyd Clipper Race Seamanship Award for the highest levels of seamanship and safety demonstrated during the 40,000 nautical mile challenge. 

The award has been presented in celebration of Henri Lloyd’s long-term partnership with the Clipper Race. “The essence of good seamanship is safety which is at the heart of yacht racing. Preserving equipment, being safety conscious and a team player make the difference in forming a successful, happy team," says Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “Henri Lloyd has pioneered the development of all modern technical sailing clothing for more than 50 years and understands the value of such abilities. All of our Clipper Race crews are worthy candidates and I wish them all the best of luck as we are near the end of the circumnavigation.”

The Henri Lloyd Clipper Race Seamanship Award was created to recognise the lengths a crew member or team will go to helping each other and/or preserving the equipment on board. The judging panel includes Knox-Johnston and Henri Lloyd Joint CEO Paul Strzelecki. 

Leading Clipper Race Teams Stressed For Final Leg 11

“This will be the third race that we have presented the Henri Lloyd Clipper Race Seamanship Award, and it is an honour to celebrate our longstanding partnership and the spirit of ocean racing with this accolade,” says Strzelecki.

The nomination with the highest number of likes will be selected and receive a small trophy and their name engraved on the base of the original trophy. They will also win £250 in Henri Lloyd vouchers.

The award will be presented at the race finish prize-giving celebration at St Katharine Docks, London July 30.