The Clipper 2002 racing fleet will set sail from New York today, Tuesday, 2 September at 12:00 local time (16:00 UTC) on the final ocean race of the sixteen-stage round the world series; a 3,112 nautical mile charge to Jersey.
The start line will be positioned off the city's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, which has acted as hosts to the eight Clipper yachts. Race 15 offers both skippers and crews alike the full North Atlantic experience as they battle towards the penultimate stopover in the Channel Islands.
With prevailing winds predominantly from the South West, this leg is should be a fast run calling for lots of spinnaker work. However, weather conditions are never guaranteed and race organiser Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON once spent 16 days absolutely becalmed whilst trying to break the North Atlantic record. This time eyes are set on the weather further south in the Atlantic which could disrupt the normal south westerly air flow.
Commenting on the forthcoming race for the Clipper crews, Knox-Johnston said, "The yachts' relative positions at the end of this challenging ocean race will be very significant. None of us could have imagined that the final result would be so finely balanced with the two frontrunners, Bristol and Jersey, neck and neck and a remarkably close battle for third place. This truly is ocean racing at its best."
With the overall race title still up for grabs, this race also sees an added incentive for the 8 Clipper skippers - the chance to win a specially-engraved handmade plate valued at £400, sponsored by Seymour Hotels of Jersey. In addition, local Jersey firm Hettich Jewellers will once again present the main trophy for Race 15, a magnificent foot-high Baccarat crystal model of a sloop sailing hard on the wind.
The island of Jersey is already gearing up to welcome the Clipper 2002 fleet. There was tremendous local interest in the way the Jersey crew dominated the race from Brazil to New York and with just one point between them and Bristol Clipper, the New York to Jersey race will be avidly followed by literally thousands of Islanders.
Special supporters are the children from Jersey's primary schools who have been using the race as a teaching aid and who have designed eye-catching banners that will greet the Clipper yachts on their arrival in Jersey. These banners have been created as part of a competition sponsored by Jersey Clipper shareholder HSBC.
The eight-strong fleet are expected to arrive in the Channel Islands on Friday, 19 September, where they will enjoy a high-profile event schedule during the 5-day race stopover in Jersey before the final sprint to Liverpool, via Holyhead.