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The Clipper Race Returns - Round the World Yacht Race Gears Up for Liverpool Homecoming

EXCITEMENT is building with just over one week remaining until the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race returns to Liverpool on Saturday, 28 July 2018, 11 months after this unique voyage set sail. The Clipper Race is 1 of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other. With no previous sailing experience necessary, it's the only event on the planet which trains non-professional sailors to complete a 40,000 nautical mile race, through some of Mother Nature's toughest and most remote conditions, with each team guided by a professional Skipper. The Clipper Race start attracted over 220,000 people to see the 11 teams, which includes Liverpool 2018, off in August 2018, and it's expected that many more will return to the riverside to join family and friends as they welcome their courageous crew back to the City for their triumphant homecoming moment.  Spectators will be able to watch a thrilling sprint to the finish, which is likely to be instrumental in affecting final team results, as teams will race up the River Mersey to the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool entrance which will mark the finish point in this 40,000 nautical mile race which has taken eleven months to complete.

Neil Stafford, 35, from Altrincham, Cheshire, has been flying the flag for Liverpool on board the City team yacht, Liverpool 2018. As he prepares for the final race of the entire circumnavigation, he says:- "I feel excited to be heading home getting to see family and friends after such a long time. It will be special, as will the sense of achievement knowing I will have sailed round world, I just don't think it has sunk in yet what we will have achieved!"

Since leaving Liverpool on 20 August 2017, teams have raced to 12 different destinations across 6 continents. They've experienced everything from the challenge of the windless doldrums whilst crossing the Atlantic to storms, which have including hurricane force winds and waves over 14 meters high in the North Pacific, and temperatures from bitter cold in the Southern Ocean to searing heat across the equator. The route has seen the fleet visit:- Punta del Este - Uruguay, Cape Town - South Africa, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart and The Whitsundays - Australia, Sanya and Qingdao - China, Seattle - USA, Panama, New York - USA and Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "I'm sure all those involved in this incredible maritime sporting feat have their sights firmly set on the finish line, and there is a huge amount of anticipation and excitement around their arrival on Saturday morning. I encourage as many people as possible to head to the waterfront to give the vessels and their crews a warm Liverpool welcome and congratulate them on the mammoth adventure they have undertaken for the past 11 months. It will be a great family day out with a programme of performances and activities taking place at the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool which includes live music, street theatre, arts and crafts, all in celebration of this inspirational global event."

Sue Grindrod, chief executive, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, said:- "The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race start was a spectacular event here at Albert Dock last summer and without doubt one of our highlights of 2017! It will be amazing to see our visitors, from locals and race enthusiasts to the families and friends of the international crews involved, gather at the Dock and really enjoy the yachts and the electric atmosphere. We look forward to giving the yachtsmen and women a warm Royal Albert Dock Liverpool welcome when they return after an incredible year long journey."

Race 13, the final stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race departs for Liverpool from Derry-Londonderry, on Sunday, 22 July 2018, during which it will be decided which of the 3 leading teams, either:- Sanya Serenity Coast, Visit Seattle or Qingdao, will arrive into Liverpool as the overall race winners.

A program of free public events including the Clipper Race Village, Prize Giving, free open boat tours and more will run, through to Sunday, 5 August 2018.

Public Schedule:-

Thursday, 26 July and Friday, 27 July 2018 Race Village Open...

10:00am to 6pm - Head to the big red Clipper Race Dome where Virtual Reality headsets will take you from dry land on Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool to the middle of the Southern Ocean, so you can see for yourself what life is like on board.

10:00am to 6pm - Talk with adventurous crew members who have raced in the Clipper Race.

10:00am to 6pm - Try your hand at the Marlow knot tying station. New to sailing? Our experts will show you the ropes!

Saturday, 28 July 2018 - Clipper Race Finish Day...

10:00am to 6pm - Race Village open and Clipper Race Dome open, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

9.30am to 10am - Sprint Race Finish in front of Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool, watch the action from the riverside .

11.15am to 11.45am - Parade of Sail on the River Mersey.

12 Noon - Fleet to enter Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

12 Noon to 6pm - Animation programme begins at Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

2.15pm - Public Prize Giving at Royal, Museum of Liverpool, near Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

Sunday, 29 July 2018...

10am to 5pm - Race Village and Clipper Race Dome open, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

12 Noon to 5pm - Animation programme at Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

11am to 4pm - Clipper Race Open Boats, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool; take a FREE tour of 1 of the Clipper 70 racing yachts, fresh from completing its 3rd circumnavigation of the planet and hear 1st hand about what life is like racing across the world's oceans from crew members.

Monday, 30 July to Sunday, 5 August - FREE Events...

10am to 6pm - Clipper Race Open Boats - FREE tours of the bright pink Liverpool 2018 team yacht fresh from its circumnavigation will be running all week, at Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool. Step on board to hear about what it takes to race across the world's oceans.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018...

6pm - Clipper Race Public Talk, Holiday Inn Express, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

Saturday, 4 August 2018...

10am - Clipper Race Public Talk, Holiday Inn Express, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool.

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