Gold Coast Australia wins Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

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It was a spectacular scene today as thousands of people turned out to watch the winning crew on board Gold Coast Australia arrive back in Southampton, England at the end of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. The Australian entry won the race overall securing a podium in all 15 races around the world.

Gold Coast Australia wins Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race

It was a spectacular scene today as thousands of people turned out to watch the winning crew on board Gold Coast Australia arrive back in Southampton, England at the end of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. The Australian entry won the race overall securing a podium in all 15 races around the world.

For the non-professional crew on board all ten ocean racing yachts, the return to Southampton marks the end of a 40,000-mile challenge of a lifetime.

The victorious Clipper Race entry Gold Coast Australia crossed the final finish line of Race 15 at 0407 GMT. Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, led a parade of sail on Southampton Water to welcome back the fleet of ten identical racing yachts after 51 weeks at sea.

Tasmanian skipper Richard Hewson and his crew proudly stood on the helm of the Clipper Race yacht as thousands of people applauded the victorious Australian team. On the emotional return to Ocean Village Marina, Richard described his teams’ enormous achievement,

“It has been an amazing adventure. From the start we’ve had plans to dominate the race and we’ve definitely done that. It’s been very competitive and we’ve been racing against some fantastic teams and have had very tough competition all the way.

“We’ve achieved so much more than we ever set out to, won so many races and podiums, but to stand on the stage as overall winners at Race Finish is unbelievable. The fantastic crew of Gold Coast Australia, amazing support from our sponsor and followers have all been part of making this happen,” said Richard Hewson before accepting the winning trophy on stage.

All day thousands of people lined the dockside of Ocean Village Marina in Southampton, England to welcome home the crews after a gruelling challenge lasting nearly a year, that has seen them take on the world’s largest and most formidable oceans, endured violent storms and frustrating calms, extreme heat and bone-numbing cold while racing ferociously to win.

Gold Coast Australia came first in the final race from Den Helder to Southampton, making it fifteen podium places out of fifteen possible in the world’s longest yacht race.

Today’s Race Finish was a particularly emotional moment for round the world crew member Lisa Blair. The 27-year-old Queenslander who swapped her job as a Sales Assistant to sail around the world, is now part of the unique group of people in the world able to call themselves a circumnavigator.

“I feel fantastic. It has been such an amazing morning, with so many people here welcoming us in. It is the end of my circumnavigation and it hasn’t sunk in at all.

“It’s been an emotional ride but it’s been fantastic and my fellow crew members have become like family.

“I hope to take away from this journey a career in sailing. The Clipper Race has given me the sailing skills I need to go professional in the sailing industry so that’s something I am definitely looking to pursue.”

People from all walks of life, nationalities and ages can be part of the Clipper Race. Reflecting on ordinary people achieving something extraordinary, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston applauded their achievement, as the nearly twelve months at sea today concluded.

“All the crew members have achieved something special with their lives. They have ventured out across the oceans of the world facing nature in the raw, whether it be the stifling heat and calms of the doldrums or the ferocious storms of the North Pacific and Southern Oceans. They have become great seaman and should all be justifiably proud of their achievement,” the 73-year-old sailing legend said.

The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race is the eighth edition of the world’s longest race, visiting 15 ports of call on six continents. It is also the last race on the Clipper 68-foot yachts, as a brand new fleet of twelve identical 70-foot racing yachts will be launched for the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race. Since the race started more than 4,000 people from all walks of life have participated in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Images
Low resolution images of Gold Coast Australia at Race Finish are attached. High resolution official images from Clipper 11-12 are available free for editorial use at:
http://www.w-w-i.com/clipper_1112_race/

Broadcast footage
Broadcast footage is available to download free for editorial use at:
http://www.clipperbroadcast.com

For further information log onto http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com
Overall standings for the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
1. Gold Coast Australia         151 points
2. Visit Finland            103 points            
3. Singapore            101 points
4. De Lage Landen        99 points
5. Welcome to Yorkshire        86 points
6. Geraldton Western Australia     77 points
7. New York                                  77 points
8. Derry-Londonderry        62 points
9. Qingdao            58 points
10. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital    40 points

For media information or interviews please contact:
Isabel Hokken, PR Manager
UK mobile: +44 (0) 7793 417 751
Tel: +44 (0) 2392 526000
Email: ihokken(at)clipper-ventures(dot)com

Ruth Harrington, PR Officer
UK mobile: +44 (0) 7792 408 695
Office: +44 (0) 2392 526000
Email: rharrington(at)clipper-ventures(dot)com

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started on 31 July 2011 from Southampton on the UK’s south coast and will return to the city in July 2012 after 40,000 miles of ocean racing – the world’s longest ocean race. The event was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of ocean racing. More than 500 people representing more than 40 nations will compete in Clipper 11-12. They can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs. The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 – there is no upper age limit. The overall race is divided into individual stages and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.

About Clipper Ventures Plc
More than 40 years have gone by since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's record breaking solo and non-stop circumnavigation in 1968-69. Now, as Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Clipper Ventures, the marine events company founded in 1995, is focused on developing and promoting major events capable of attracting significant participation, income, media coverage and associated sponsorship revenue. Sir Robin founded the company on the premise that sailing should be made available to everyone, regardless of age or experience. Almost 3,000 people have now competed in the seven editions of the Clipper Race to date. The company also owns the rights to the VELUX 5 OCEANS race and runs successful Events and Training divisions.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is the Executive Chairman and founder Director of Clipper Ventures Plc. Sir Robin has been involved in sailing all his life and holds a Department of Transport Master’s Certificate. He is the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world and has also set the record for the fastest circumnavigation with Sir Peter Blake. In 2007 he completed his second solo circumnavigation when he competed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race. Sir Robin has considerable experience of the administration of round the world races having served on the Whitbread Race committee from 1990 to 1994 and having organised the BOC Challenge Round the World Race in 1982 and 1986. He has been named RYA/YJA Yachtsman of the Year an unprecedented three times and participated in the 2010 Sydney-Hobart race at the age of 71.

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Amy Martindale
Clipper Ventures Plc
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