After 51 weeks of ocean racing Gold Coast Australia took first place on Sunday in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. Visit Finland finished in second, while a battle towards the end saw Singapore beat Dutch entry De Lage Landen to the finish by a mere 20 seconds for the third and final podium position.
Event founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, led a parade of sail in Southampton Water to welcome back the fleet of 10 identical 68-ft racing yachts.
The Tasmanian skipper of GCA, Richard Hewson, enthused, “It has been an amazing adventure. From the start we’ve had plans to dominate the race and we’ve definitely done that. It was very competitive and we’ve been racing against some fantastic tough competition all the way. We’ve achieved so much more than we set out to achieve."
"This experience has been absolutely fantastic," said Jim Cole of San Francisco, crew on New York. "I have loved every minute of this journey and, other than a little broken finger 700 miles off the shore of Ireland, it has been an incredible experience, especially for someone 72 years of age!” New York, the only American-sponsored boat, finished seventh.
The fleet received a warm welcome this April when they visited Oakland, one of 15 cities on their route around the world. Recruiting is well underway for crew aboard 12 new 70-footers for Clipper 13-14. See www.clipperroundtheworld.com.