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Issue Date:- 7 July 2008

Liverpool 08 arrives home to a spectacular welcome at the conclusion of Clipper 07-08
Report by Heather Ewing - Clipper Ventures

A spectacular 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 goes.”

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 Liverpool, UK.

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 Duggie.

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 Jenner. 

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 fantastic result.”

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 months ago.

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 Liverpool today.

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 Race"

THIS 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

Editors note:- "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


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 Liverpool.

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 that includes:-

* 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 2pm)

* 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 network.

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 and practicality.

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, ringing 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

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