Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – Clipper Race Village visitors would have been forgiven for thinking they were in Rio de Janeiro today, the Clipper Race’s first stopover port, as temperatures reached 31 degrees and Brazilian dancers entertained the curious crowds on its opening day.
Open boat opportunities proved very popular as lines of people waited patiently to get a taste of life on board the attractive looking yachts which have taken over the main basin of central London’s only marina, and will soon be making their way 40,000 miles around the planet.
Judy Blamey, 82, whose granddaughter Sophie Crocker, 18, and daughter Linda Crocker, 48, will both be competing in the race said: “It was really fun to come down and see the boats that Sophie and Linda will soon be calling home. I don’t think I could join them myself but I think it is a wonderful opportunity and I’m very much looking forward to coming out to meet them in Cape Town.”
Coconut stalls provided well needed refreshment for onlookers, and a hose proved useful for cooling down overheating crew members who busy making final preparations to their boats ahead of the race.
St Katharine Docks resident Marta Michalska, 35, first found out about the Clipper Race when the boats arrived for the 2013-14 Race Start. Two years later she has now completed her training and will join the Unicef team for the Australian Coast to Coast leg. She says: “I could see the Clipper Race yachts from my living room window here and I wondered what on earth it was.
“I ended up meeting some of the crew and found it so incredible that non-sailors could train to do something like this. The more I talked to them the more I felt I just had to do it. I signed up in the Race Village and now two years later, it’s back in my back garden and I still can’t believe I am joining it this time!”
The Clipper Race village is open daily from 11:00 to 18:00 and provides many free opportunities to get involved and learn more about this unique adventure – the only race of its kind in the world which trains amateur crew members to take on some of the world’s toughest, most remote conditions.
Visitors to the race village can also try their hand at racing miniature Clipper 70 yachts, take on the grinder challenge in aid of official race charity Unicef, pick up race merchandise and enjoy different international entertainment daily in keeping with destinations on the global route.