It has been a busy morning at Holyhead. The southwesterly wind held out and brought the first yachts over the Race 16 finish line at 04:00 BST for the closest ever finish of the Clipper 2002 Series.
Jersey Clipper was victorious and the crew will be celebrating from the heart, not to mention their whole Channel Island fan base. Having come into their home-port behind Bristol Clipper, the gap to the lead had increased to two points. Hence they needed this win to stay in the game.
Skipper Simon ROWELL and his team got their win - BUT only by 4 minutes. Close astern Liverpool Clipper was bearing down in the dark with her spinnaker pulling her to the line. Right astern the Glasgow team were manoeuvring to take advantage of her chasing position. Whatever they did on this dark and crisp morning paid off and they managed to find enough speed to draw level.
Liverpool's wind was stolen by the Jocks and the Purple Peril faltered. As the two boats approached the line, Glasgow slid past to take second place by 29 seconds from the Liverpudlians. All three boats finished within 5 minutes of each other.
The Finishing Committee is made up of members of the Royal Dee Yacht Club and the Holyhead Yacht Club. Both clubs have joined together to support this brief visit, before the fleet's dash to the finish at Liverpool. Having done a magnificent job on the first three finishers, the welcoming party had a mere 30-minute gap before the next Clipper approached. The spread of places for the next boats was critical, especially for overall race leader, Bristol Clipper.
Hong Kong was expected next but no, more surprises! At 03:36 Richard BUTLER took Bristol Clipper across to claim fourth place. Not a good result for them, but not as bad as it could have been had Justin Taylor and Hong Kong Clipper stayed in front. Just 13 minutes later the Hong Kong crew took fifth place.
The result is immensely significant, as Jersey Clipper has taken the overall lead by just ONE point. With half points for the next and final race from Holyhead to Liverpool, the results this morning have ensured that the race will be decided tomorrow when the eight yachts storm into Liverpool.
Also of significance is that both Liverpool and Glasgow beat Hong Kong Clipper. This now confirms third place overall on the Clipper 2002 Race podium for Adam KYFFIN and the crew of Liverpool.
Skipper Ross DANIEL and his New Yorkers finished in sixth place at 04:04 BST, followed by Cape Town and London in seventh and eighth respectively.
35,000 miles, 11 months, 16 races and just one point separating the two frontrunners; this is surely racing at its best. Don't miss the shoot out tomorrow.
CLIPPER 2002 ROUND THE WORLD YACHT RACE
OVERALL ORDER AFTER RACE 16: