Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from The Clipper Race
UNICEF ABOUT UNICEF

Tower Bridge lifts for the Clipper 2019-20 Race departure

by Clipper Round the World 1 Sep 2019 19:31 PDT 1 September 2019
Clipper Race team, Punta del Este, passes through Tower Bridge London © Matthew Dickens

The sun shone on the thousands of supporters who lined the banks of St. Katharine Docks and the River Thames to witness the Clipper 2019-20 Race departure. Tower Bridge was lifted to mark the occasion and the eleven strong fleet paraded up the Thames to rapturous applause.

The celebration commenced when Clipper Race Founders, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and William Ward OBE took to the stage. Sir Robin addressed the crew and watching crowds saying: "By the end of the race, you see crew standing tall. Take an 18 year old who is starting the race now, when they return in a year's time, maturity-wise, they will be 24. They come on a huge amount. You see a change amongst all crew - you see their self-confidence grow when they've done something this special with their lives.

"Why paint your life in pastel shades? Paint it in bright colours and enjoy every moment of it!

Each of the teams then stepped into the limelight, parading through the onlooking crowds and onto the Clipper Race stage to their chosen team song. It was then time to board their yachts and fasten their lifejackets ahead of the 40,000 nautical mile journey which will test crew both physically and menatally. Just before they headed off, the Sailors Society's Portsmouth Port Chaplain, Philip Chester, blessed the fleet.

Emotions were running high with the final farewells. For many crew members this moment had been years in the making. After four levels of intensive training, Crew Allocation, team building, yacht preparation, delivery to London and so much more. Seattillite, Marcus Cox, who is racing around the world on his home city's team yacht, Seattle, said: "You talk about doing the Clipper Race and it and it seems surreal and dream like, because it seems so far away.

"Then you do your training and then it's like this is going to happen and when you finally get to today, where you're putting everything away because your gonna go, it's like I can't believe it's here I'm doing it, it's amazing!"

At 15:00 BST sharp it was finally time to slip lines for the 2019-20 edition. Up first was Punta del Este matching the sunny day with its even sunnier demeanor. Arms will be aching after all the waving as the rest of the fleet slipped out into the Thames concluding with the recognisable blue branding of Unicef.

Focus shifted to the river edge as, with banners flying, the fleet circled in anticipation for the first opening of Tower Bridge. A truly spectacular sight the yachts glided under the iconic british landmark before heading out to the Thames Estuary.

Spectator boats filled with loved ones got to be right in the heart of the action and be final ones to wave goodbye as the fleet ahead of the start of the first race to Portimão, Portugal.

Related Articles

Four hours should be plenty of time to cook...
Crew Perspective from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race On Visit Sanya, we run a 3 watch system. The various support watches have a set task and for Leg 5 that task is done for the whole of the leg as there is a 2hr time change between Airlie Beach & Subic Bay so there is no opportunity to shift meal times. Posted on 13 Feb
One year on: The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival
A year ago, the Clipper Race fleet was welcomed by the azure warm waters A year ago, the Clipper Race fleet was welcomed by the azure warm waters and white sandy shores of the Whitsundays after spending 19 tough days at sea racing around the coast of Australia. Posted on 31 Jan
It is supposed to make me uncomfortable!
Clipper Race crew perspective As someone who had never sailed before the four weeks training, I cannot believe that I have been on the ocean as part of the crew for 13 days already! Posted on 10 Jan
Navigating the nerve centre of a Clipper 70
Nav station houses all the necessary instruments and systems to safely navigate the vessel If you care to venture down below deck on a state-of-the-art Clipper 70 racing yacht, follow the narrow corridor aft to either port or starboard. Posted on 9 Jan
Clipper Race crew member embarks on next adventure
Adventurer doesn't seem to be enough to describe 50-year-old Craig Forsyth Adventurer doesn't seem to be enough to describe 50-year-old Clipper Race Alumni Craig Forsyth. Craig, a bricklayer and former professional Rugby League player from York, UK holds the title for taking part in the most editions of the Clipper Race. Posted on 13 Dec 2020
Sir Robin rooting for Alex Thomson
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston sends a message of good luck ahead of the Vendée Globe With the Vendée Globe 2020-21 set to begin, Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, sends a message of good luck to the Clipper 1998 Race winning Skipper Alex Thomson ahead his latest campaign. Posted on 8 Nov 2020
My heart now belongs to Punta
Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, Skipper of Punta del Este, pens an open letter Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, Skipper of Punta del Este, pens an open letter sharing his personal highlights from Punta del Este stopover. Posted on 25 Oct 2020
Qingdao skipper reflects on team's first win
This first win for Qingdao was twice as impressive as the team had chosen to play its Joker After 26 days of racing around the clock and covering over 5,000 nautical miles, Qingdao clinched victory and won Race 2: The Commodore's Cup from Marina de Portimão, Portugal to Yacht Club Punta del Este, Uruguay. Posted on 14 Oct 2020
Meteorological Phenomenon
A year ago the Clipper Race fleet faced one more hurdle in the last 48 hours of Race 2 A year ago this week, after a hard fought and challenging 5,200 nautical miles across the Atlantic, the Clipper Race fleet faced one more hurdle in the last 48 hours of Race 2 and as they started to get closer to Punta del Este, Uruguay. Posted on 12 Oct 2020
The dreaded Doldrums
Light and variable wind conditions can be mentally challenging For many when they think of ocean racing it is all about the big waves, big winds and difficult sea states, but light wind sailing can be just as tough. Posted on 3 Oct 2020
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 BottomRS Sailing 2020 - Summer Offer - FOOTER