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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 118

Date:- 27 September 2003

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Massive Mersey Welcome For The CLIPPER RACE 2002 / 2003 Finish 
Photographs by Patrick Trollope, Report with thanks to Liverpool City Council.

EIGHT schoolchildren are to close one the greatest yachting events of the past year which officially been the longest round the world yacht race. 

The Liverpool pupils, all aged between 7 - 14, have been picked to help raise the flags when the eight strong international fleet complete the 35,000 mile journey on the River Mersey on Saturday morning (September 27:- ETA 9.50am - 10.20am).

Chosen for their work on the Clipper's educational program, run by Liverpool City Council, the pupils will help celebrate a weekend of festivities as thousands expectations will greet the Clippers after 11 months of ocean racing.

A flotilla numbering more than 100 vessels, including 18 naval vessels - including HMS Edinburgh and HMS Albion from the Royal Navy - and other NATO countries, will be on the river to welcome the crews from Bristol, Cape Town, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Jersey, Liverpool, New York, and London as they make their final dash for glory.

Added to the thrills, a tense finale is expected, as the Liverpool Clipper has to finish within at least one place of Hong Kong to secure the bronze medal in the overall standings. The Clippers will be racing from Holyhead on the final leg, which has taken them from Brazil and New York, via Jersey to Liverpool. 

The crews, many of whom have never raced before, have handled hurricanes, the Sars outbreak, monsoons and broken bones during the gruelling maritime marathon (not to mention the start itself, which was delayed by the biggest storm in Liverpool in decades) but can look forward to a rousing reception and solid land - for a while at least!

More than 80,000 people are expected to line the Mersey to welcome the Clippers home with a program of aerobatic displays and street entertainment at the city's historic Albert Dock. After the finish, there will be a formation parade on the river from 10.30am-10.50am by all vessels before the Clippers enter the docks.

Councillor Bradley said:- ''I am delighted the schoolchildren are involved at the end as they were at the starts. The education program has been one of the most pleasing aspects of the race. Thousands of schoolchildren across the city have really taken it to heart and thanks must go to all the teachers who have used the project so imaginatively to explore cultures around the world.''

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Race Committee Chairman and first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, said:- ''Watching the race finish in the Mersey River on Saturday, 27 September promises to be an amazing and emotional sight. 

Our special thanks are due to the city of Liverpool as superb hosts of the race and indeed to all those persons who have made the Clipper 2002 event such a success. As these crews, now seasoned sailors, return to Liverpool every single one of them is indeed a winner. They have shown the very essence of the spirit of competition and sailing, by overcoming the challenges and pursuing their goals as they raced around the globe."

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Liverpool secures podium place in Clipper Race 2002 / 2003.

IT has been a busy morning at Holyhead with the closest ever finish of the Clipper 2002 Series. 

Jersey Clipper was victorious in race 16 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 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 who came 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. See our full coverage on Southport and Mersey Reporter next week.



1 Jersey 94 points 
2 Bristol 93 
3 Liverpool 73.5 
4 Hong Kong 67 
5 Glasgow 62 
6 London 56 
7 New York 54 
8 Cape Town 28 

N.B. All points remain provisional. New York Clipper awarded 2 point penalty from Race 15 (loss of sail). 

Report with thanks to Liverpool City Council


NETWORK Rail is offering a £500 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of a youth who threw a brick at a train passing through Widnes station yesterday (22 September). The brick shattered a window on the far side of the driver’s cabin on a Scarborough to Liverpool Lime Street train. 

The incident, which happened at 15:45 hours and involved a youth in school uniform, could have had serious consequences. Fortunately, the driver of the Arriva Northern train was physically unharmed, but shaken. However, she was able to continue to her destination avoiding delays to passengers.

Crime such as this on the railway is a problem for Network Rail, train operators and the British Transport Police (BTP) and something that will not be tolerated. The BTP are appealing to anyone who has any information about the incident to come forward. 

Tim Clarke, North West regional director for Network Rail said:- “We are constantly warning children that the railway is not a playground. Passengers and railway staff have the right to be protected. This could have been very serious and innocent people could have been hurt. I would urge anyone who knows anything at all to come forward and help us catch the criminal that did this.”

Anyone with information should contact the British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Both calls are free and callers to Crimestoppers can leave information anonymously if they wish to.

Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.