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The Clipper Race crews may be far from home but those staying on their team yachts at the CYCA, Sydney, were not left out of the festivities this morning as Santa Claus paid an early morning visit.

Team members from Invest Africa, Qingdao, Old Pulteney, Team Garmin, GREAT Britain, Switzerland and more, joined together and welcomed Santa as he berthed next to Invest Africa then climbed on deck to present gifts, champagne and cheer to the waiting crews.

Masibulele Liyaba, a crew member from Invest Africa, the Leg 4 member of the Sapinda Rainbow Project relay team, raising money for the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Hospital Trust, was happy to see Santa, commenting: “I did not expect Santa to visit me all the way over here in Australia. I heard his bell ringing and came up on deck to see Santa climbing aboard. It was a very nice surprise.”

Sir Robin who was also present, sporting a festive Christmas hat, leading to slight confusion as to who the real Santa was, said: “We want to wish all our crew members and all their supporters around the world, a very merry Christmas indeed. It is great to see teams joining together this morning and sharing the festivities as one Clipper Race team.

“I wish them all huge success tomorrow as they embark on arguably their biggest challenge yet, taking the start line in one of the world’s most prestigious yacht races – the Rolex Sydney Hobart. I know they will do themselves proud and I look forward to seeing them all in Hobart.”

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race starts tomorrow, 26 December at 13:00 Local Time (02:00 UTC) and doubles as Race 6 in the Clipper Round the World Race.

To view the departure live at 09:00 local (22:00 UTC), including interviews with skippers and crews, go to  

To view Christmas messages recorded by crew members to their supporters, click HERE

To view Christmas messages to Sir Robin and the fleet from Sir Ben Ainslie and more, click HERE