Please select your home edition
Clipper Ventures
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE 2019-20 RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from The Clipper Race

Clipper Round the World Race finish reflections

by Clipper Round the World Race 12 Aug 11:15 BST
Clipper Round the World Race © Clipper Race

Race Finish, the day that can seem an age away, after an exhausting watch in the Southern Ocean, or seem to be zooming up far too quickly when there's just a few races to go.

This weekend, the Clipper Race team would be getting ready for the grand finale at Royal Albert Dock in London, but 2020 had other plans, with the current edition being suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst it's very disappointing to have to wait a year for the closing event of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, Clipper Race alumni have shared some of their memories of this momentous day, showing what's in store for Race Crew in 2021.

Bittersweet seems to be a feeling that crops up often when thinking about Race Finish. Crew experience joy at seeing their loved ones again and feel an incredible sense of achievement of what they have achieved whether on a single leg, multiple stages or round the world as a circumnavigator. On the flipside, there's wistfulness that the adventure has come to an end.

Crew member Greg Wilson, took part in the 2013-14 edition as part of the Switzerland team and is full of praise of how his skipper made the last day so special. He says: "Switzerland had guaranteed fifth place prior to the last race. We couldn't place higher nor could we place lower. Having worked strongly together as a crew from the outset, the awesome Vicky Ellis left us to it for the last race, letting us make all the calls. It meant the last race back to London was huge fun, with the whole crew knowing that whatever place we achieved in the last race, it was as a result of what we had learned from Vicky and each other throughout the year and more we had been together.

"We started up the Thames on a high and the high just grew as we discovered how many people were out to see us and the fleet return home! We all knew that the 'last time on the stage' was not the last time we would see each other."

The Clipper 2011-12 Race finished in Southampton, and one crew member has described how a fishing boat was someone surprised at the spectacle heading its way. Explains former Race Crew Russell Sandbach, "I was on the bow on board Geraldton, Western Australia and I remember watching a police boat arguing with two fishermen in a tiny boat which had anchored in the channel. They were adamant they had every right to be there and weren't going to move. In the end the police just said "look behind you". They turned round and saw us, 100 feet away, looked shocked, then I swear I saw them look past us and fear crossed their faces before mild panic to get their anchor up and engine going to get out of the way.

"I turned around to tell the skipper on the helm what was happening and realised we weren't alone, there must have been 50 plus boats following along behind us. One was a Clipper 60 doing a Level 1 course. It was great seeing the excitement on their faces knowing what adventures they had to come."

Steve Coles-Reid, a Welcome to Yorkshire crew member from the same edition added, " I was a round-the-worlder and it was a very surreal day. Our return was spearheaded by Sir Robin on Suhaili. Both the start and finish were overwhelming with the amount of spectators and boats."

Mixed emotions are common for circumnavigating crew. One such round-the-worlder, Andrew Jagoe-salter, competed as part of the Qingdao team in the 2015-16 edition. Andrew says: "I loved the sailing when it was wet and wild, especially the high speed surfing in the South Atlantic and around Tasmania. The Race Finish coming up the River Thames will always provide great memories of mixed emotions. Part of me was looking to get away from the boat but then I was dreading coming off it for the last time and truly wished we could start the race all over again for another 11 months.

"The sea gives you so much freedom and at the same time, so much uncertainty which keeps you on the edge of not knowing what is to come."

Clipper Race Finish is as much a day for Race Crew Supporters to enjoy. Over the race year, they have keenly followed their loved one's progress and maybe even been to a stopover or too. But nothing beats the feeling of finally seeing your favourite crew member arrive into port on Race Finish day and having them home.

Alison Spencer's husband was on the winning team in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, Sanya Serenity Coast. Alison says, "My husband had done the first three legs on the boat that eventually won, so we went to Liverpool to welcome her in. We were all emotional meeting different crew members and their supporters."

A fellow Race Crew Supporter, Joanna Onwood, whose partner was competing in the same edition has also been reflecting on her race experience. Jo, who was able to attend several stopovers says: "Every time they came into port including Race Finish it was amazing. There was such excitement, with all the supporters together. It was so friendly, like one great family gathering. I met supporters over the whole year and we supported each other through our Facebook group which was invaluable. I have made a lot of lifelong friends."

It was a family affair for Suzy Kitching in the Clipper 2015-16 Race as she had not one, but two daughters competing. Mum to Holly (a nurse), and Grace (who now works at Clipper Race HQ), Suzy had double the fun at Race Finish in St. Katharine Docks. Suzy says: "We'd been following the race from the start and enjoyed attending the stopovers in Seattle and Derry-Londonderry. All our family and friends came to London for the weekend, with over 20 of us watching the girls (Holly and Grace) sail up the Thames with their teams, Garmin and PSP Logistics. We were lucky enough to be on the supporters boat and there were definitely tears.

"It was great to catch up with our girls' teammates and also my supporter friends I'd made along the way. We stayed in St. Katharine Docks and one of our friends had a boat docked in the marina so we went for champagne and nibbles once the big ceremony had finished. We stayed for the full weekend with lots of celebratory brunches, lunches and parties into the night. It was such a great atmosphere. We loved being part of it all, apart from having to collect all the bags of smelly kit."

Race Finish in just a few words

  • Russell Sandbach: Over too soon
  • Jessica Kate Pollard: Hard to beat
  • Jackie Patton: Dreams realised
  • Steve Coles-Reid: World spectacular finish!

The Clipper 2019-20 Race will resume in February 2021, seeing the completion of the final three legs. Find out what the intrepid Race Crew, including Terri Fisher, Abdelhamid Abouyoussef and Zheng Yi have experienced in their race edition so far, by visiting the Clipper Race News Hub. Interviews are currently taking place for the Clipper 2021-22 Race. If you think you have what it takes to become an ocean racer, or want to find out more about the race, sign up for a Clipper Race webinar.

For more information visit

Related Articles

Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Dario Schwendener
For the 27-year-old, circumnavigating was the ultimate sabbatical For 27-year-old Dario Schwendener, circumnavigating was the ultimate sabbatical. With the Clipper Race providing a chance to travel the world, compete in a sport he loves as well as hands on experience of teamwork and leadership in an extreme environment. Posted on 15 Sep
Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Ben Deifel
Rekindling a memory from 10yrs ago, an article sparked the idea to sail around the world By chance Ben Deifel, a 32-year-old COO from Munich, Germany, happened across a feature about Clipper Race in a travel magazine he picked up from an airport in Oman. Rekindling a memory from 10 years ago, article sparked an idea to sail around the world. Posted on 6 Sep
Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Kiki Kettunen
A Seattle team circumnavigator in the Clipper 2019-20 Race Finnish born Kiki Kettunen first heard about the Clipper Race 12 years ago but it took life and work to align and the sight of a billboard ad on the London Underground to help her take the first step in becoming an ocean adventurer Posted on 30 Aug
Why I signed up to the Clipper Race
Find out why crew members signed up for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Adventure has led us humans into the unexplored parts of our magnificent planet and universe. Circumnavigating the world as part of the Clipper Race will allow me to feel ever closer to what the great explorers felt when they ventured into the unknown. Posted on 23 Aug
A return to sailing: China gets back on the water
With strict guidelines, limitations and health and safety procedures Sporting events around the world have been affected by the global outbreak of Covid-19. Sailing has not been immune to the impact from the pandemic with both major international events and local sailing postponed, including the Clipper 2019-20 Race. Posted on 8 Aug
Wendy Tuck - Breaking records and barriers
The first female Skipper to win a round the world yacht race Becoming a trailblazer was not Wendy Tuck's intention when she signed up to be a Skipper in the Clipper 2018-17 Race - the Australian simply wanted to go sailing. Posted on 1 Aug
Meet the Clipper Race crew: Abdelhamid Abouyoussef
Founding the answer to a long unanswered question "I found the answer to a long unanswered question." Said Abdelhamid Abouyoussef about taking part in Clipper Race. Like many who apply Abdelhamid, a Managing Director, as always wanted to circumnavigate the world, but on his own logistics were complicated Posted on 26 Jul
Reflections on the final ocean crossing
The final leg of the Clipper Race comes with tremendous highs but also lows The final leg of the Clipper Race comes with tremendous highs but also lows as it means the global journey is coming to an end. At a time when the Clipper 2019-20 Race crew should have been completing their penultimate race of the series Posted on 25 Jul
Zhuhai Ambassador Crew reflects
One year on from completing Clipper Race training A year on from completing their Clipper Race training programme, Zhuhai Ambassador Crew members share their memories, photos & videos. They reflect on what they have already achieved and look forward to what is still to come on their Clipper Race journey. Posted on 23 Jul
Meet Qingdao ambassador Zhang Shan
Shan joined her team in the Whitsundays, to race over 5,000nm The legacy of the Qingdao Ambassador programme continues to inspire new sailors into the sport. Having never sailed before, Zhang Shan, a ESL Teacher from Qingdao, China is testament to this. Posted on 18 Jul