Whether we have been sailing in it, supporting it or running it, Clipper 2002 is an event that has dominated many lives over the last year and more. It is the longest race on Earth in distance and also in time and, for many of us, it has been an all encompassing experience.
The brave and talented heroes who have bashed and crashed their racing yachts through the world's oceans have been supported by so many others; family supporters, media, ports and yacht clubs, racing enthusiasts, the various organising staff, sponsors, well wishers and most importantly the supporting cities! With this in mind, the eight teams have enjoyed a cracking Round the World Yacht Race with a combined fleet total of over 300,000 miles raced. They sailed safely and in style - both of these factors have only been achieved because of the efforts of everyone concerned.
It is easy to think solely of the racing aspect of the Clipper 2002 Series, but the event has also promoted an interest in sailing to many who would never have followed or taken part in it before. It has drawn together communities, cities and countries and, with the help of the inspired Liverpool City Council schools programme, brought school children throughout the world closer together.
Successful civic delegations have open trade and commercial opportunities around the globe, whilst the sailors have brought a truly competitive sporting event into the heart of each city stopover. The race has also drawn people into the I.T. world, some who would never have dared cross this threshold, and the Clipper 60 yachts have tested and developed racing equipment, as a flagship for the industry.
Race organisers, Clipper Ventures plc, certainly had their share of curved balls over the 11 months of this race, but all were played successfully. The greatest testimony and justifiable reward was evident on Saturday, 27 September, when the most spectacular yacht race finish took place in Liverpool, UK. This proved to be a real tribute from this proud, hospitable and forward looking city.
The Clipper 2002 Race Director, Colin de Mowbray, today concluded: "We can all be justly proud of this event, but my overriding pride is to see the changes in the crew as they make their sad farewells around the Albert Dock. They are vastly different from when they set off 11 months ago with their doubts, fears and apprehension. These individuals are special. They are the ones who did not just talk about what they might do in life. They are the ones who have done something and done something very special. I have total admiration for them, and now you mention it there is a difference, I could swear that as they walk confidently around the Albert Dock, they are all three inches taller."
Full details are available on the event website at the address below. For all previous articles on the Clipper 2002/2003 on the ISAF Website. CLICK HERE