Clipper Ventures Plc, race organisers, announced today that the start of Around Alone 2002-03 on 15th September will be diverted from Newport, R.I. to the City of New York.
This unprecedented decision was made after Clipper Ventures received a special invitation for Around Alone to join 'Sail For America', the one off event taking place in New York Harbour on the same weekend to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th. The start line will now be a transit between 'Ground Zero' and the Statue of Liberty.
Michael Fortenbaugh, Commodore of the Manhattan Yacht Club and head of the 'Sail For America' organising committee, explained the concept: "The goal is to fill New York Harbor on Saturday 14th September with thousands of sails, a symbol of hope and beauty, to mark the rebirth of the City of New York and the soaring spirit of America. The Around Alone start on Sunday 15th September off 'Ground Zero' will be the final act, and the message that New York is 'setting sail' again will be taken around the world."
On behalf of Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York, the Deputy Mayor, Daniel L. Doctoroff, issued a statement that the diversion of Around Alone to New York Harbour would receive their whole-hearted support: "We are honoured that the organisers and competitors of Around Alone are willing to divert to New York for this one time only to join 'Sail For America'. This is a highly symbolic act of solidarity with our City, which will capture the hearts of our citizens and the country. We will ensure that this historic departure from New York is a remarkable success."
The Around Alone fleet will still assemble in Newport, R.I. at the Newport Shipyard from the 27th August, and then experience a huge send off on 12th September, the Preview day of the Newport International Boat Show, for a 160 mile crewed prologue race down to New York, where the boats will arrive the next day. In New York, the race will be hosted at the Intrepid Museum, a de-commissioned aircraft carrier docked on the SW side of Manhattan.