Throwback Thursday: London announced as Race Start and Finish Host

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Following last week’s launch of ‘Throwback Thursday’  - reliving prominent moments from the Clipper 13-14 Race series - today we celebrate the exciting announcement that the race would start and finish in the UK’s capital, London.

The highly anticipated announcement that the Clipper Race would start and finish in London for the first time in the race’s history was made at Central London’s only marina, St Katharine Docks, in front of Tower Bridge by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

St Katharine Docks has been involved in some of London’s most iconic public events, from the Olympics to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, and now includes the world’s longest ocean race to its books.

On making the announcement, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:

“Playing host to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will once again see London showcasing why it is the best big city on earth in which to hold major sporting events. It’s a fantastic honour for the capital to mark the beginning and end of this feat of human endeavour, which will not only provide an awesome spectacle for hordes of sailing fans, but also give a huge boost to the wider London economy.

“Those who take part are an inspiration to us all and exhibit the very best of the human spirit. As they battle through everything the elements can throw at them, I wish everyone on board these stunning vessels the very best of luck."

Out of the 670 international crew that participated  in the race, more than 80 were from the Greater London area, including Executive PA Michelle Porter, who took part in the full circumnavigation on board Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

When Michelle, from Poplar, heard that the race would be leaving on her doorstep she said:

“I was blown away when I found out the race was going to leave and return from London. Having lived in London for many years, the thought leaving and returning to the capital was pretty special. I had visited previous race start and finishes, but the City of London and especially Tower Bridge, well you don't get any more iconic than that!

“Having lived in London for all of my adult life, I have walked along the Thames pretty much on a daily basis. Having the privilege to sail up there on a 70-foot racing yacht with my closest crew members is something very few have had the opportunity to do.

“I'd been back and forth to St Katharine Docks numerous times before we set off, but the day I left home with bags packed and stepped on board it all became very real indeed. As much as the emotions were overwhelming, the excitement of what laid ahead far outweighed any of the nerves that were creeping in.”

At this time a year ago, crews were  completing the final stage of Clipper Race training with the Clipper 70s and their allocated crew for the first time, in preparation for their approaching adventure.

To watch the Mayor of London’s announcement, CLICK HERE