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The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet is set to arrive in Seattle from 22 April

by Clipper Round the World Race 18 Apr 18:11 BST
Conditions faced on the North Pacific crossing © Clipper Race

Over 170 non-professional sailors, including 25 Americans, are on board a fleet of eleven Clipper Race yachts currently battling it out in a race across the world's biggest ocean and heading for the Finish Line in Seattle.

Known to be one of the most inhospitable environments on earth, the North Pacific leg of the global race route is known as 'The Big One'. It earns this title due to the extreme weather, which includes freezing temperatures and waves almost as high as the Hollywood Sign, but also because it is the most remote ocean crossing on the Clipper Race circuit. It is devoid of land mass and at certain points, the closest other humans are astronauts on the International Space Station. When the teams next reach land they will have sailed over 5,500 nautical miles from Qingdao, China, to Seattle, USA.

Steve Depew, a 63 year-old Engineer from Burien, Washington is heading back to his home state. From on board team yacht Zhuhai he reports: "Crossing the North Pacific on Leg 6 of the Clipper Race is challenging, but the thing that makes it worthwhile and bearable is the crew that you are sailing with. For me, the ocean is beautiful both when it's calm and when it's rough. Now that we are more then half way across I know that myself and everyone on board is excited to come into Seattle.

"Coming into Seattle for me is a really big plus, I get to sleep in my own bed for a week or more."

Elizabeth 'Liz' Dicesare, a 29-year-old consultant from Westford, Massachusetts, is also travelling home the hard way, after setting sail from the race's starting location of Portsmouth, UK, seven months ago: "Doing this is a big accomplishment in itself, to sail the North Pacific. Just to do this race, just to sail this ocean, it's huge. It's hard, big waves, big weather, cold, windy but also to end it in the United States is another feeling, like a turning point in the circumnavigation."

The fleet is expected to arrive in Bell Harbor Marina between April 22-26 - with events kicking off approximately a week from now. The leading teams will be greeted by the emerald shores of the Puget Sound and will no doubt be looking forward to receiving a warm American welcome after more than 30 days at sea before enjoying all that Seattle has to offer during the stopover.

This will be the fourth time the global sailing race has stopped in Downtown Seattle. Since the last stopover in 2022, when restrictions were in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be the first time in six years that the public will be able to engage with the event. There are many events and activities Seattleites can get involved in once the fleet arrives:

  • Follow the Race Tracker for real-time updates and be there to welcome the teams to Seattle when the yachts arrive at Bell Harbor.
  • Talk to the intrepid Race Crew about their experiences in the Race Village.
  • Step on board and tour one of the stripped out 70-ft racing yachts for yourself and see where the crew eat, sleep and sail 24hrs a day.
  • Join the discussion about the positive impact women are having in the marine and sailing industry at the Clipper Connect Business event.
  • Meet twice circumnavigator Della Parsons at the discovery talk to find out what it takes to become an ocean racer.
  • And don't miss the Parade of Sail on Race Start day, 3 May as the teams will wave goodbye, and start Race 11 to Panama.

Key Dates [all events are free, however some require registration]:

  • 22-26 April | Yacht Arrivals, Bell Harbor Marina
  • 29 April - 1 May | 1100-1900 Free Open Yacht Tours, Bell Harbour Marina
  • 29 April |1000-1200 Clipper Connect Business Series - Adventure for Good: The Positive Impact of Women in the Marine and Sailing Industry, Port of Seattle Headquarters. Free to attend, please RSVP to
  • 1 May | 1700-1900 Free Discovery Talk: Become an Ocean Racer, Port of Seattle Headquarters, register here.
  • 3 May | 1200-1500 Race Start, Bell Harbor Marina

Founded by Sir Robin-Knox Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, round the world, the Clipper 2023-24 Race is the thirteenth edition of the biennial race. Taking 11 months to complete, over 700 crew aged from 18 to 75, who are students to CEOs, from 45 nationalities after four weeks of intensive training are participating in the eight legs of the 40,000nm circumnavigation of the planet.

Find out more at clipperoundtheworld.com

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