There are just 50 days until 11 impressive Clipper vessels race back into Liverpool.
One of the biggest round the world yacht races will return to the city on Saturday 28 July with a sprint finish which will determine the sought-after podium places for one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet.
The dramatic climax will take place on the River Mersey, in front of the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, from 10am, and once all the team yachts have crossed the finish line, they’ll take part in a magnificent parade of sail along the River.
It will include Liverpool’s very own yacht Liverpool 2018 which, thanks to its eye-catching pink design, has been making waves at each port it has visited around the world.
Thousands are expected to head to the waterfront to watch the impressive sight, culminating in the fleet berthing at the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. The action will then continue on dry land as hundreds of people who make up the crews will take part in a colourful, noisy parade to the Pier Head where the official prize giving ceremony will take place.
To celebrate the return of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, there will be a programme of performances and activities taking place at the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool from midday to 6pm on Saturday 28 and midday to 5pm on Sunday 29 July.
It will feature local arts organisations which represent Liverpool and the other port cities and countries visited by the yachts since they set sail on 20 August last year. There will be performances from Katumba South American drum ensemble, One Latin Culture musicians and Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra and dancers.
Families will be able to enjoy street theatre, arts and crafts making activities of national flags of the port countries visited and face painting.
Schools are also being encouraged to get involved in all the Clipper action as a specially devised education pack has been created with suggested activities, resources or visits which can be weaved into numeracy, literacy, geography, science and PSHE lessons.
Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “With just weeks to go, excitement is gathering as the city gears up to welcome back one of the most impressive and inspirational global sports events.
“The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta has really whetted the appetite, and it will be wonderful to have yet another majestic display on the River Mersey and some fabulous family entertainment on dry land.
“When the race began in August, it boosted the local economy by £7.5million as thousands of people headed to our world heritage waterfront to give all the crews the send-off they deserved. We are hoping for a similar impact in July and I look forward to being part of large crowds giving a warm Liverpool welcoming home to the crews who have completed such an incredible challenge.”
Throughout the weekend, the bright red Clipper Race Roadshow Dome will be in place at the Race Village where visitors can discover more about the Clipper Race, try out the virtual reality 360 headsets to experience a day in the life of an ocean racer, talk to crew members, learn about the technology on board or try their hand at the Marlow Rope challenge.
The Clipper Race yachts will also be opened up to the public to find out about what life is like on board, above and below decks, and the Liverpool 2018 team entry will remain in the city until Sunday 05 August.
Two ticketed public talks will be held at the Holiday Inn Express on Tuesday 31 July at 6pm and Saturday 4 August at 10am aimed at anyone considering taking part in future races. Experts will talk about their experiences and the selection process.
Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, said: “Since setting off from Liverpool nearly eleven months ago, the 2017-18 edition has been one of the most thrilling, closely matched ocean racing spectacles in the Clipper Race’s history.
“After experiencing some of the most inhospitable conditions on the planet, the non-professional Clipper Race crew members will have raced over 40,000 nautical miles across six different oceans and will have visited six different continents by the time they return to Liverpool on 28 July this year. They have seen nature in the raw, conditions that would terrify most sailors, but they have come through it and given themselves an experience that most people on this planet can only ever visualise.
“I am extremely fond of Liverpool and the send-off from the city last August was remarkable. I am very much looking forward to returning to Liverpool for even bigger celebrations when the fleet races up the River Mersey with a sprint finish in front of Royal Albert Dock Liverpool on 28 July.”
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 was 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 next month after an incredible year-long journey.”
Timetable of events for the return of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is as follows:
Thursday 26 July
10am-6pm – Race Village and Dome open
Friday 27 July
10am-6pm – Race Village and Dome open
Saturday 28 July
9am-6pm – Race Village and Dome open
10-10.30am – Sprint finish in front of Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
11.15-11.45am – Parade of Sail
Midday – 6pm – Animation programme at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
1.55pm – Crew parade
2.15pm – prize giving
Sunday 29 July
10am-4pm – Race Village and Dome open
Midday – 5pm – Animation programme at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
11am-4pm – Clipper vessels open to the public
Tuesday 31 July to Sunday 5 August
10am to 2pm – Liverpool 2018 yacht open to the public
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race forms part of Liverpool 2018 – a programme of events marking a decade since the city’s game-changing year as European Capital Culture. #Liverpool2018
Clipper Race Fast Facts
Distance: 40,000 nautical miles – roughly 46,000 land miles
Duration: 11 months
Races: 13 races over 8 legs
Boat: The Clipper 70
Team: 11 teams
People: 712 non-professional crew members, 12 professionals (one per team)
Males: 514 / Females: 198
Oldest crew member: 76 years old
Youngest crew member: 18 years old
During the Clipper Race, the teams will get through something in the region of 17,500 loo rolls (or 438,000 metres of toilet paper). The equivalent distance of flying from London to Paris!
Even before the race had started – the crews will have completed a combined total of almost 500,000 training miles!
The biggest wave recorded was around 90ft! These huge waves are found mostly in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean.
Offshore, each yacht uses at least 1,000 wet wipes per week.
Whilst racing, each crew member burns around 5,000 calories per day!
You would need an area around the size of three premiership football pitches if you were to lay out the sails flat on board a Clipper 70 ocean racing yacht.
The official Race Charity is UNICEF, who have been gifted a team yacht entry for the 2017-18 edition. During the 2015-16 edition, supporters and Clipper Race partners raised over £323,000 for the charity. There is a £400,000 fundraising target for this year’s race.
The overall route is split into a series of 13 races, and points are awarded for each race. The team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the final race wins the series, and the Clipper Race trophy.
The yachts sail at a 35° angle throughout the race. Members of the team which do the whole race will spend 11 months at this angle!
It’s estimated that the eleven teams will get through 561,600 tea bags over the eleven months at sea.
The highest wind speed recorded was 96 knots in the Southern Ocean during the 2015-16 edition, the equivalent of almost 100mph!
The race route is Liverpool, Punta del Este (Uruguay), Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, the Whitsundays, Sanya and Qingdao in China, Seattle, Panama, New York, and Derry-Londonderry.