The biggest ever edition of the Clipper Race started from the River Mersey, Liverpool on 20 August in front of thousands of spectators. The day started with crew farewell ceremonies with family, friends and supporters looking on from the Albert Dock colonnades as each team had their moment on stage before all 247 crew members boarded their yachts, ready to leave land behind for approximately four weeks.
IIMS is proud to be the Certifying Authority responsible for coding the 12 strong Clipper Fleet. IIMS Certifying Authority examiners, Chris Moody and John Excell, were on hand in the days running up to the start of the race to ensure final inspections were in place before departure.
The teams paraded under sail up the River Mersey for the crowds of onlookers. Spectators came from all over the country to be in Liverpool for this special occasion. including Sally Donaldson, who was here to support her uncle, Michael Husband, a circumnavigator on Dare To Lead.
“We’ve got all our family here, says Sally. “They’ve travelled from London, some from Yorkshire, everywhere to come and see him. It’s been a fantastic, big day. It’s obviously such a special occasion and we wouldn’t have missed it.”
Legendary sailor and Clipper Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the planet almost 50 years ago, founded the race to allow anyone, regardless of experience, the chance to experience ocean racing.
He said, “Over the next eleven months, our crew and Skippers will get to face everything Mother Nature can throw at them. Upon their return they will have sailed across many of the world’s greatest oceans. Very few people get to say that.”
He added: “The Clipper Race has got bigger and better with each edition and I can’t help feeling incredibly proud as I watch our crew head off on what will certainly be a life changing journey. I will be watching them closely and wish them all safe voyage.”
A cannon blast marked the start of the race in sunny conditions with strong tide. With winds against them, the first mark was a test of trimming, tacking and spotting the wind.
As the excited crowd looked on, GREAT Britain was the first team across the Start Line with Sanya Serenity Coast and Garmin less than a half a boat length behind.
After the excitement of starting in front of the masses, the test of endurance will now get underway as the twelve-strong Clipper Race fleet heads 6,400 nM, the equivalent distance of ten Fastnet Races, through the Atlantic Ocean towards Punta del Este, Uruguay.
This opening leg of the eleven-month series will take approximately 35 days to complete and is the longest ever in the race’s 21-year history.