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Clipper round the world yachts arrive in style

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  • by Kimberley Barber
 

Crowds cheered today as the Clipper Round the World yachts arrived in London at the end of their epic race.

The top three yachts sailed under Tower Bridge in a spectacular climax to the contest.

The race was founded by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, from Gosport, who was the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world.

It is the world’s longest ocean race and has covered 40,000 miles over 11 months.

The 12 yacht crews are made up of novice sailors, skippered by an experienced sailor and 670 people representing more than 40 nationalities took part this year.

Henri Lloyd finished in first place, GREATBritain in second and OneDLL in third.

Jacob Carter, from Portchester, is onboard GREATBritain.

The yachts paraded up the River Thames on Saturday and the winning three yachts passed through Tower Bridge.

Sir Robin said he was ‘enormously proud’ to see the yachts come in and to hear of the crew member’s life-changing experiences.

He added: ‘It is quite fantastic to watch.’

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Thousands of people lined the Thames to watch the race end.

People came from all over the world to see friends and loved ones.

Chris Craenen, 51, and daughter Laura, 21, have flown in from Belgium, to support Wim Craenan, husband and father.

Chris, from Antwerp, said: ‘It was a dream of Wim’s to do this and the whole team is really excited.’

Bob Barton, 67, from Frinton-on-Sea, was there to support his daughter Jessica Barton, 27, who took part.

Bob said: ‘It has been brilliant, I’m very proud of her.’

The race has covered six continents over 11 months, made up of novice sailors including Jacob Carter, from Portchester and Edward Collison, of Emsworth.

Among the exeprienced skippers at the helm of the yachts were Pete Stirling, from Titchfield and Gareth Glover, of Gosport.

The crews cast off from Den Helder in the Netherlands on Thursday on the last leg of the race.

They have battled fierce storms and injuries.

The GREATBritain Clipper team was caught in a waterspout with winds of more than 100mph.

Winning team Henri Lloyd was presented with the Clipper Race trophy at a prizegiving ceremony in St Katharine Docks.

Canadian Skipper Eric Holden was bathed in champagne by his team on stage. He said: ‘It has been a life-changing adventure for the crew and I. The team’s drive, determination and strength have inspired me.

‘Whenever I thought the team couldn’t be pushed any harder, they dug deeper through some of the worst sailing conditions I have ever seen on the planet. This is a very special moment for the team and I to be crowned champions.’

Meg Reilly, an American round the world crew member on Henri Lloyd, said: ‘This year has been a test of will and determination, finding our individual limits and pushing beyond them.

‘At the beginning of this journey, our skipper Eric built this team on a foundation of respect; and that’s why we are a happy boat who ultimately became round the world race champions. We’ve learned more this year about ourselves and human nature than we ever will. The sailing part was just an extra bonus.’

 

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