Liverpool 08 arrives home to a spectacular welcome at the conclusion
of Clipper 07-08
Report by Heather Ewing - Clipper Ventures
welcome greeted the crews of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht
Race, including the yacht representing the European Capital of
Culture 2008, as they arrived back in Liverpool at the end of their
35,000 mile circumnavigation. For the non-professional crew
onboard Liverpool 08 and the other nine 68 foot ocean racing yachts,
the return to Albert Dock marks the end of a challenge of a lifetime
as they battled the elements in search of victory and the title of
Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race champions.
In the final race from Cork, Ireland, to their home port, Liverpool
08, led by skipper Ben Galloway, had a fierce fourth place battle on
their hands. With only one point separating them from Qingdao
at the end of Race 13, the North West team just missed out, crossing
the final finish line just behind the Chinese entry.
Liverpool 08 then joined the rest of the fleet in the Liverpool 08
Dash, a fun race up the Mersey, before parading past the waving
crowds as the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Steve Rotheram
fired a cannon as the home boat passed the Duke’s Mast.
Ben said:- “That was amazing, the Liverpool 08 Dash race was
probably one of my favourites, really good fun, not really what I
was expecting. The crew loved it as well. Seeing all the
crowds back here waving and all the friends and family it was quite
surreal. How do I feel about being beaten to fourth place by
Qingdao? We raced fair and square, and sometimes that’s the way it
Arriving in Albert Dock after ten months of racing, Liverpool 08
round the world crew member Will Little, 19, from Wallasey, was
clearly elated. He said:- “I saw where I learned to sail
on the way in. I just saw my instructor who taught me how to
sail ten years ago in a little Optimist and then a Wayfarer and now
I’m on something this size and I’ve just sailed round the world.
It still hasn’t sunk in, but it’s an absolutely amazing feeling,
just seeing all my mates here and my family.”
Crossing the finish line overnight at the end of the 14th and final
stage of the Clipper 07-08 Race, the US entry, New York, claimed the
maximum ten points for securing their sixth first place of their
campaign and the Clipper Trophy. Hull & Humber, New York’s
closest rival on the overall leaderboard ahead of Race 14, saw their
hopes of claiming the title fade as New York stretched out a small
but significant lead in the fast reaching race from Cork, Ireland to
Skipper Duggie Gillespie, from Kirkudbright, Scotland, said:-
“It didn’t sink in last night. It was relief last night just
to get over the line. We’d been pushing behind Hull & Humber,
working really hard – teamwork, teamwork, teamwork, all the time –
and it was relief when we crossed the line. And it’s only now,
when you come in here and there’s I don’t know how many thousands of
people, you think well, we’ve actually done it. We’ve won the
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.”
After his team had crossed the finish line Duggie let off two flares
on the bow of the boat in celebration. “That was a bit
of fun. But I was trying not to burn the sails! But it was
great, in the Irish Sea, in the middle of nowhere, to know you’d not
only won the leg, but won the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
And to win that leg was really just so sweet – it wasn’t expected.
We didn’t need to. When we went round the last gate we had a
team meeting and said right boys, here we are, we’re in the lead.
We’ve got to the do the same thing to cover Hull & Humber as we’ve
got to do to cover the fleet, so let’s really try and win this.
So we made the decision then to really try to win and we just had to
stop them from coming through. And we did!” said
The Clipper fleet’s arrival back in Liverpool at the end of their
35,000 mile circumnavigation was part of the city’s European Capital
of Culture 2008 celebrations and thousands of Liverpudlians, race
supporters and friends and family of the crews lined the banks of
the Mersey to welcome the yachts back home.
The iconic Albert Dock provided a fantastic venue for the prize
giving ceremony and crowds thronged the colonnades as each of the
top three teams overall was presented with their pennant by the Lord
Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Steve Rotheram. Third place
went to the Scottish entry Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, the
only boat in the ten-strong fleet to be led by a female skipper,
Hannah said:- “It’s a bit surreal. I don’t think it’s
really dawned on any of us what we just did and where we just came
and it’s great to be here. In some ways it does feel like
we’ve been away almost a year and in some ways it feels like we were
just here last week when we first pulled up nervously but it’s
really exciting. We’re very, very proud of third place.
We’re delighted to have the boat not just on the podium for a single
race for the first time in four campaigns, but overall, which is
what we set out to achieve and we’ve achieved it.”
Second place was presented to Danny Watson and his Hull & Humber
team. Danny said:- “It was a good race, we got another
podium in Race 14. Obviously it wasn’t just quite enough but
we gave it everything and it’s great to be here, second overall and
the crew are made up. One of our key objectives was to strive
for a podium position and to achieve a second place overall is a
The yellow first place pennant was handed to a jubilant New York
crew. Round the world crew member, Gary Purdom from Bainbridge
Island, Washington, USA, said:- “It’s spectacular in the sense
that you think about doing something for 30 years and it really is a
dream to be here at Albert Dock and not only doing it but doing it
in style. The team was great, we were very competitive and
fortunate to win the overall thing. That’s the icing on the
cake when you have a dream just to circumnavigate, so I’m thrilled
with every measure of the whole thing.”
Doctors, students, teachers, lawyers, secretaries and a taxi driver
are among the crew members who have succeeded in their challenge.
On board each of the ten internationally-backed yachts is just one
professional, the skipper, whose role it is to lead the team to
victory. The crew members are all amateurs, nearly forty
percent of whom had no sailing experience when they embarked on
their Clipper Training, before setting off on this adventure ten
For every crew member this final race is a poignant moment.
Sailing around the world is a considerable achievement – more people
have climbed Mount Everest than have raced yachts around the world.
The fleet’s arrival in Albert Dock this afternoon is the climax of
this once in a lifetime adventure.
Clipper 07-08 began in Liverpool on 16 September 2007 and, over the
last ten months, the teams have circumnavigated the globe, crossing
the Atlantic three times, the Pacific once, and sailed across the
infamous Southern Ocean, with stopovers on five continents.
The Clipper Race is the brainchild of legendary yachtsman, Sir Robin
Knox-Johnston, who, in 1969 became the first man to sail solo,
non-stop around the world. In 1996, he created the Clipper
Round the World Yacht Race to give ordinary people the opportunity
to follow in his footsteps.
At the crew reception and prize giving set against the atmospheric
backdrop of the imposing St George’s Hall, Sir Robin addressed the
massed crews, their families and friends. He told them:-
“I said to you one thing before you set out. At the end of
this race I wanted you to be able to say, that’s the best thing I’ve
done with my life – so far. I hope this has been the
experience you hoped it would be. I hope you’ll continue to
sail. And I suppose for many of you there’s a small matter of
work to get back to. I hope you’ll go back with very different
attitudes. You’ll be able to say, ‘I’ve sailed around the
world with Clipper now and I can probably do better than I did
before.’ That’s what you’ve taught yourselves. You’ll have
made friendships that will last for the rest of your lives.
And above all, you’ve achieved one of the most difficult things in
sport, and the highest achievement in sailing – a circumnavigation.”
To date more than 1,400 people have become ocean racers by taking
part in the Clipper Race and, of these, nearly 300 have achieved the
rare accolade of becoming a circumnavigator by racing around the
world under sail. Sixty-two new circumnavigators have joined
the ranks of this exclusive club following the fleet’s arrival in
Councillor Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council and
Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company said:- “We’re
delighted to welcome the Clipper crews back to Liverpool at the end
of their journey – I’m sure our famous waterfront was a welcome
sight after such an epic round-the-world adventure.
This is the
third time that the race has ended in Liverpool and it is
particularly fitting that the yachts are sailing back into the city
right in the middle of our European Capital of Culture celebrations.
In fact, the Clipper Race finish heralds the start of a month of
maritime activity for Liverpool, with the Tall Ships’ Races arriving
in just two weeks’ time.”
For the ten sponsoring cities and territories, which also include
Durban, Western Australia, Singapore, Qingdao, Jamaica and Nova
Scotia, the benefits of the race are immense with the race providing
an international platform to promote their messages and brands to a
truly global audience. Along with the media opportunities, the
Clipper Race also offers sponsors a multitude of global trade
openings and networking opportunities. The Clipper Race
provides inspirational stories that captivate readers and viewers
around the world. More than 354.4 million people worldwide
will have seen coverage of Clipper 07-08, generating an undiscounted
media value of US$56.85 million for the sponsors.
The ten-part television series to accompany the Clipper 07-08 Round
the World Yacht Race, produced by the event’s host broadcaster,
Sunset+Vine I APP, is currently being shown by broadcasters around
the world and others are preparing to show it in the coming months.
Current listings can
be found in the multimedia section of
Readers Photograph:- "Formby Lad Fires Cannon To Finish Clipper
photograph of James Riley from Formby firing the finishing cannon
for the Round the World Clipper Race on Saturday, 5 July 2008, was
taken by his Dad and sent to us. Thank you for sending
it to us. We hope your son enjoyed the experience.
Readers Photograph:- "Is it a TWISTER?"
"I took these
photos this afternoon 06/07/2008. They were taken from Weld Road,
Birkdale, facing in the direction of Winter Hill. I think it
looks like a TWISTER?. or similar." Phil Shields
"Fantastic photograph. I have always wanted to take a shot like
that. The picture shows a funnel clouds, which is the beginning of a
tornado. This event took place according to the Met Office between
1.10pm and 2.30pm."
Did other readers get a snap of it? Let us know by emailing us to
A380 FLY PAST AT MANCHESTER AIRPORT THIS SATURDAY
THE Airbus’ flagship A380 will visit Manchester Airport for
the first time on Saturday, 12 July 2008 as part of a series of
flights around the North West.
The aircraft will perform a standard approach into Manchester
Airport at 1.20pm then fly just above the runway before heading to
Manchester Airport’s Managing Director Andrew Cornish said:-
“The Airbus A380 has strong links with the North West as well as
playing an important role in the future of the aviation industry.
Everyone at Manchester Airport is looking forward to seeing the
aircraft make its first visit to us on Saturday. ”
The world’s largest passenger aircraft is likely to draw crowds of
people to the Airport keen to catch a glimpse of the A380. Vantage
points include the top levels of the Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 Multi
Storey Car Parks as well as the Aviation Viewing Park.
Highways Agency supporting Merseyside events
DRIVERS heading into Merseyside on one of the area's busiest
- and longest - weekends of the year will be helped on their
journeys by the Highways Agency.
Thursday week (17 July 2008) kicks off a five-day weekend of events
starting with the British Open Golf at Royal Birkdale and
culminating on Monday, 21 July 2008, in the start from the River
Mersey of the Tall Ships Race to Norway.
There are also big events in Lancashire and Cheshire in a weekend
* The British Open at Royal Birkdale near Southport starting on
Thursday, 17 July 2008 and ending on Sunday, 20 July 2008
* The Tall Ships Race weekend at Liverpool Docks from Friday, 18
July 2008 to Monday, 21 July 2008 (when the race to Norway begins at
* British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park, Cheshire, Friday,
18 July to Sunday, 20 July 2008.
* Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show near Garstang off the M6 also
between Friday, July 18 and Sunday, July 20.
The motorway network around Cheshire and Merseyside, as well as
parts of Lancashire, are likely to be particularly busy at key times
around the weekend.
Practice sessions at Royal Birkdale will begin on Sunday week (13
July 2008) four days before the start of the tournament proper.
Between 30,000 and 40,000 people a day are expected to attend the
tournament itself with up to 100,000 expected on the busiest day of
the Tall Ships.
The North West Traffic Officer Service, based at the North West
Regional Control Centre (NW RCC) in Merseyside at Newton-Le-Willows,
will be working with the Highways Agency's National Traffic Control
Centre in Birmingham to monitor traffic conditions. Advice to
drivers on traffic conditions and appropriate routes to follow will
be given through electronic and hard signs.
Some of the signing during the event will advise drivers of park and
ride sites in operation. Signing in advance of the events is also
being carried out where possible to warn regular motorway users.
Extra Traffic Officer patrols are also being deployed to ensure
traffic is kept moving in the event of any incidents on the motorway
Highways Agency engineers in Manchester, responsible for operating,
maintaining and improving motorways and major A roads in the region,
have already placed an embargo on non-essential maintenance
activities on a number of
Only two ongoing large schemes - at Tarbock Island (M62 Junction 6)
and the A5117 Deeside junction improvements - will remain for safety
Jamie Carr, Regional Operations Manager in charge of the North West
Traffic Officer Service, said:- "We realise that this is a
particularly busy weekend in Liverpool's year of events and working
with partners like the City of Culture team, Merseyside Police and
Liverpool City Council, we are determined to do our bit to help
people enjoy themselves and keep customers informed about conditions
on the local motorway network."
David Grunwell, Regional Performance Manager responsible for all the
motorways and trunk roads in the North West, said:- "What with
the Tall Ships, Open Golf, Super Bikes and the first Royal
Lancashire Show for two years this is going to be a busy weekend for
large parts of the region and we are minimising roadworks to ensure
we reduce any inconvenience to drivers.
However, drivers can help themselves by planning their journeys
before setting out and ensuring they are prepared for accidents or
breakdowns - including ensuring they have enough fuel for their
journeys. Where possible, drivers who don't have an interest in any
of the events might even consider travelling at another time."
Inspector Phil Cottam of Lancashire Police will be part of a joint
police and Highways Agency operation at the NW RCC monitoring and
responding to traffic conditions over the big weekend.
Phil Cottam said:- "For all these events signed routes are
available for the public to follow to assist them in getting to the
venues. The routes may not be those advised by their sat navs but we
would ask drivers to follow the advertised routes which will help us
ensure the events are managed effectively."
Drivers are advised they can check on travel conditions by visiting
the real-time traffic information site Traffic England at
the Highways Agency's Information Line on 08457 504030 or tuning in
to their local radio station or DAB station Traffic Radio (also
available online at