And they’re off! The Clipper 2015-16 Race is officially underway after a wet but wonderful start off the English coastal town of Southend.
For some crew, it felt like this day would never come after all the months of training and week of anticipation and excitement in the Race Village at St Katharine Docks, London.
The send-off yesterday was phenomenal, with crew past, present and future, plus tens of thousands of race supporters lining the banks of the River Thames for the Parade of Sail – and not forgetting everyone in the spectator boats on the water. Thank you for making the day so special for all the crew, Skippers and the Clipper Race family.
From the Brazilian dancers to drummers performing up the mast, it was a day to remember and the perfect start to this great adventure. Tower Bridge lifted twice for the fleet’s Parade of Sail with Great Britain leading the way out of its home port of London.
Amid all the celebrations and party atmosphere, there was a poignant moment during the Blessing of the Fleet when the Sailors’ Society Chaplain read from a bible that Visit Seattle will be taking round the world. This bible was a gift from Sir Robin to Skipper Huw Fernie’s grandfather before his own circumnavigation many years ago. Now Huw and Visit Seattle have the bible on board for its second round the world voyage, as a tribute to his grandfather.
There was also our first Clipper 2015-16 Race proposal! As Mission Performance took to the stage on the Main Pontoon during the farewell ceremony, a cry came out from the crowd, Ali Hudson burst into tears on the stage and as everyone looked up, her partner John Dyer waved a poster that said “Ali, will you marry me?!”
Now, back to the sailing…
A cannon was fired by officials from Benfleet Yacht Club to mark the start of the tenth edition of the Clipper Race and LMAX Exchange, led by our first ever French Skipper Olivier Cardin, was the first yacht over the start line. It was quickly followed by Great Britain and Da Nang – Viet Nam on this 5,186 nautical mile journey to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
by Clipper Race