Spirit of Australia wins Clipper Round The World Race
The winning Australian team
A warm welcome as the Hull and Humber clipper enters the marina.
The yachts come into view on the Humber.
A warm welcome greeted the crews of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as they arrived back in Hull at the end of their 35,000-mile circumnavigation. For the sailors onboard the ten ocean racing yachts, the return to Hull Marina marks the end of a challenge of a lifetime as they battled the elements in search of victory and the title of Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race champions.
Tens of thousands of people lined the banks of the Humber and the quayside of Hull Marina to welcome home the crews after a gruelling ten-month 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, unstintingly come to the aid of their fellow competitors in times of need and, all the while, raced ferociously to win.
Crossing the finish line overnight at the end of the 14th and final stage of the Clipper 09-10 Race, the Irish entry, Cork, claimed the maximum ten points for securing their second first place of their campaign. It is an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact the team’s original yacht ran aground on a reef in the Java Sea in January.
Cork’s victory in Race 14 denied Hull & Humber their much coveted home port win but their second place finish did allow the ‘big orange boat’ to leapfrog Jamaica Lightning Bolt in the final standings to finish fourth overall. Again, a remarkable achievement for the team whose original skipper, Piers Dudin, was med-evac’d by the Japanese Coastguard in the North Pacific after his leg was broken when a huge wave washed him across the deck. Piers joined Justin Taylor, who took over as skipper, and the rest of the Hull & Humber crew on stage to great cheers and applause from the crowds.
Clipper 09-10 champions, Spirit of Australia, finished third in the final stage of the 14-race challenge, minutes ahead of Cape Breton Island, whose performance guaranteed them a place on the final podium. The Canadian team finish third overall, just 1.3 points behind Team Finland.
The ten yachts raced up the Humber in the presentational John Harrison Race, commemorating the man who, in the 18th Century, revolutionised the age of sail by inventing the marine chronometer, a device enabling sailors to accurately plot their longitudinal position. Hull & Humber wowed the crowds with a win while Spirit of Australia flew their spinnaker to the delight of the tens of thousands of spectators.
Brendan Hall, skipper of the victorious Spirit of Australia team, said, “Finishing in first place feels unbelievable. That was the seminal moment of my sailing career. All the hard work over the past two years and all the hard work of the team over the past ten months is finally recognised in public by everybody. A big thanks to our fantastic peers on the other boats, the people of the City of Hull and all our loved ones here on the pontoon. It’s absolutely fantastic and one of the best moments of my life!”
The warmth of the welcome the home team received was overwhelming, according to Hull & Humber’s skipper, Justin Taylor. “It’s a great feeling. I can’t believe it, all these people… it’s phenomenal. I’m a little bit overcome with emotion; I don’t really know what to make of it, to be honest,” he said.
“The crew accepted me and they really pulled together and showed some real grit and I think that’s reflected in the results that they achieved after I took over. It’s down to them really – I gave them a bit of encouragement and they did the rest. The crew are elated. It’s wonderful to be back and I think they’re feeling the same way, a bit overcome by the reception we’ve received here.”
The Parachute Regiment’s Freefall Display Team, the Red Devils, dropped in as the yachts finished the John Harrison Race and once the yachts had entered the marina the Royal Navy’s helicopter display team, the Black Cats, showed their flying prowess.
On stage the teams were called up one by one to be saluted by their supporters, California, in tenth were first up, followed by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, Cork, Qingdao, Uniquely Singapore and Jamaica Lightning Bolt in fifth place.
Each Clipper yacht is entered by a city, region or country and sponsors use the event to showcase themselves to the world.
Terry Hodgkinson Chairman of Yorkshire Forward which sponsors Hull & Humber and is responsible for bringing the Clipper Race to the Humber, said, “We’re here to celebrate these crews’ achievements and celebrate this wonderful city and the wider region. They’ve all done a fantastic job of getting the boats back safely. Clipper has done a wonderful job raising the profile of this area both nationally and internationally and bringing visitors to this fantastic region.”
Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, said, “We have had fantastic support from the people of this region for this race. I’d like to mention Yorkshire Forward, Welcome to Yorkshire and of course the people of the City of Hull. It’s been fantastic, the way you’ve supported this race right from the start has been heart warming and we’re very grateful to you.”
Sir Robin had a message for the crews waiting next to the stage. He said, “You’ve achieved your ambition. You have sailed the oceans of the world, you have seen more of the sea than most people do and you have come through it all. You’ve come back very experienced sailors and you’ve achieved something very special in your lives and I’m very, very proud of you.
“I hope you go off now and continue sailing, take some of what you’ve learned the way you work as a team, back into your lives. Do you remember what I said at the beginning? I want to hear you say, ‘That’s the best thing I’ve done with my life’ – and then I want to hear you say, ‘So far,’ because then I know we have widened your horizons.”
Doctors, students, teachers, lawyers, engineers 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 were 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.
For every crew member this final race is a poignant moment. Sailing around the world is a considerable achievement – more people have climbed Mount Everest than have raced yachts around the world. The fleet’s arrival in Hull Marina this afternoon is the climax of this once in a lifetime adventure.
CLIPPER RACE FINAL POSITIONS
The final result of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race is:
1 Spirit of Australia 128 points
2 Team Finland 105.3 points
3 Cape Breton Island 104 points
4 Hull & Humber 98 points
5 Jamaica Lightning Bolt 98 points
6 Uniquely Singapore 76 points
7 Qingdao 74 points
8 Cork 56.8 points
9 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 53 points
10 California 42 points
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