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Times Clipper 2000 Yacht Race

by Sue Warden Owen on 1 Oct 2000
The eight-strong fleet of identical 60ft yachts, competing in this year's prestigious Times Clipper 2000 Round The World Yacht Race are set to sail out of Port Solent, Portsmouth on Sunday 15th October from 0800 onwards for the official race start at 12 noon off South sea Castle, Portsmouth.

The weekend of waterside celebrations for the race start, 13th - 15th October, will include an air display, live music, street entertainment, kite surfing, and a free-style windsurfing and power boat display.

Crews racing aboard the yachts, each sponsored by a UK city, will be tested to the limit as they battle for the right to win The Times Trophy during the challenging eleven-month circumnavigation, which will finish in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, in September 2001.

Strong competition is expected amongst the rival yachts, namely: Bristol Clipper, Glasgow Clipper, Jersey Clipper, Leeds Clipper, Liverpool Clipper, London Clipper, Plymouth Clipper and Portsmouth Clipper.

250 crewmembers from the UK and overseas have signed up for The Times Clipper 2000, which will build upon the challenging and close racing that the Clipper '96 and Clipper '98 crews experienced as they followed a similar route around the globe. Not only will the crewmembers experience the adventure of a lifetime, they will also individually raise money with every mile of their journey for The Philip Green Memorial Trust for sick and disabled children - the official charity for The Times Clipper 2000. Funds raised will go towards the construction of London's first children's hospice.

The yachts will be racing fast and furiously along a predominately downwind route that follows the trade winds and passes through some of the classic yacht racing territories. The first leg takes the crews from the oncoming winter in Europe on a classic Trans Atlantic Race to Cuba, via Vilamoura, Portugal. At Cuba, some of the crewmembers will change, before the fleet then race on the second leg down to transit the Panama Canal.

After passing through the Panama Canal, the fleet leave Balbao for Christmas in the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution, followed by a race across the eastern Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, the longest single stretch of the whole circumnavigation.

Almost 4,000 miles separate Hawaii from Japan on leg 3 of the race and the yachts are expected to cover over 200 miles each day until they reach the Bayside Marina in Yokohama, a short train ride from Tokyo.

The stopover here allows time to explore the country and see Mount Fujyama before commencing racing for the destination of the Yangtze River. The yachts motor in convoy up this busy waterway to Shanghai. A further rest here allows the crews to visit the Great Wall of China or the Terra Cotta Army before sailing through the Taiwan Strait for Hong Kong, the halfway point of The Times Clipper 2000.

Amongst the exciting changes introduced to The Times Clipper 2000 is the San Fernando Race, which will take place on 12th April 2001. The 480 nautical mile offshore race across the South China Sea from Hong Kong to San Fernando La Union in the Philippines, is organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and sanctioned by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). Dropping down to Singapore for a 7-day stopover, the fourth leg will finish in Mauritius on 26th May 2001.

Crews competing on leg 5 of The Times Clipper 2000 will sail around one of the World's great Capes, the Cape of Good Hope. The fleet races from Mauritius to Cape Town, otherwise known as the Tavern of the Seas, before embarking on the crossing of the Southern Atlantic to the port of Salvador in Brazil. Leaving Salvador, the sixth and final leg of the race will see the yachts head north to a newly introduced stopover in New York. Having raced to the United States from Salvador in Brazil, the eight-strong fleet will arrive at Liberty Landing Marina on Wednesday 22nd August 2001, where crews will delight at the sensational view of Manhattan during a 9-day stopover. The New York stopover will include a Prize Giving ceremony, a Corporate Regatta and a Crew Party, before the fleet race to the penultimate stopover in the beautiful Channel Island of Jersey.

The racing is fast but although boat speed is important, the big gains are made by taking the right tactical decisions. To ensure a close and exciting finish the fleet will also enjoy a high-profile event schedule during the 3-day race stopover in Jersey, before the final sprint to the homecoming celebrations at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, on 21st September 2001. Supporters and press can follow the progress of each city Clipper, as race reports will be updated daily on the official Clipper Ventures website at www.clipper-ventures.com

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