After nine days of racing from Panama the Clipper Race teams have started to arrive into Liberty Landing Marina led by winner of Race 11, The LMAX Exchange – RACE of THE AMERICAS, ClipperTelemed+. Having crossed the finish line earlier on today, the team sailed up the Hudson River and past the Statue of Liberty before berthing around 1915 local time.

Skipper Matt Mitchell and his crew got their first podium finish of the Clipper 2015-16 Race in Race 10, the PSP Logistics Panama Cup, coming second, but this time they went one better and topped the podium.

After a tense battle to the finish over the last 48 hours with Garmin, Skipper Matt Mitchell said on arrival that while things were tense, the team remained focused.

“A couple of days ago they were 25 – 30 miles ahead of us, then we would get a little bit back and overtake but then they would overtake us. Every six hours getting the position report was a tense moment. This race certainly had its moments. There was a bit of a curveball towards the end with Tropical Storm Colin, it was quite windy, but that helped push us towards New York.

“We’ve had a really good set of guys joining us in Seattle, the attitude has been exactly spot on. We just gelled really well as a team and did everything right. Everyone is super happy and it’s great to be in New Jersey. We’re all looking forward to having a good time here.”

For round the world crew member Linda McDavitt, a former band teacher from Texas, the lasting memories of the race were those final hours battling with Garmin.

“We were ahead and then they were ahead, we were ahead and then they were ahead and finally we were counting down five more miles, four more miles, three, two, one. So it was very exciting, the countdown was really cool.

After two consecutive podium places since leaving Seattle in April, things have fallen into place for ClipperTelemed+ on this American Coast to Coast Leg, and Linda added: “That’s the beauty of the US. The final sail up the Hudson was also really exciting, especially to sail past the Statue of Liberty because I’ve never been that close to it."

As the sun continued to set on the Big Apple, Garmin was the next team to arrive into Liberty Landing Marina and although disappointed to have missed out on the top spot after leading for much of the race, Skipper Ash Skett is happy that the team are closing the gap on GREAT Britain in the Overall Race Standings given the extra bonus points from being first through the Scoring Gate.

"Our duel with ClipperTelemed+ meant very little sleep, trying to spot the wind changes and changing sails constantly. We were always pushing and for a lot of the race it looked like we would grab it but ClipperTelemed+ managed to creep a little bit west of us and had a better wind angle in the final stages," he said.

"We have weathered storms before and we have quite a lot of people who were on Leg 6 and were well prepared for Tropical Storm Colin. The wind angle was very good and was a deep downwind angle which gave us some really good speeds and a shove in the right direction.

"We had ClipperTelemed+ in sight for the whole storm. It was quite hairy with high winds but we managed to hold our full main with a Yankee 3 and had 30 knots maximum boat speed surfing. It was a great experience for everyone.

"We wanted first coming into New York so badly. Missing out on it by 40 minutes in the end was so disappointing, but one tactical decision made the difference. I still have full faith we will clinch that race win," Ash added.

Rich Perkin, a circumnavigator on Garmin who lives in Las Vegas added: “It’s not quite the podium place we were hoping for but we’ll take it. The race was really nice to begin with for the first seven days and then Tropical storm Colin came in and that was more than what we experienced in the Pacific, so it was pretty rough all of a sudden.

“After getting three points at the Scoring Gate we have managed to gain five more points on GREAT Britain in the overall standings. So we are hoping we can get another four or five over them in the next few races and edge our way into the podium for Race Finish,” he added.

Visit Seattle was the next team to arrive at Liberty Landing Marina having won its first podium of the Clipper 2015-16 Race. Skipper Huw Fernie says the team has been fired up since leaving its home port in April.

"The team has been after a podium for a long time. We haven’t made any major changes on board and still want everyone to enjoy this experience of sailing round the world but we have been looking at a few small things like what we could do to make the boat go faster. So there has been a few small changes but overall it’s made a big difference and hopefully we will carry it on to the next race.

"We weren’t expecting much from Tropical Storm Colin but we came through hurricanes in the Pacific so even when he showed up stronger than we had thought it was nice to have come through bigger storms before. The guys who have been round the world really knew what to do. The new crew that had joined for this leg had some wide eyes but they knew that the training and system works and we just clip on and carry on racing," Huw continued.

"It was really great to finally get to Seattle and we met so many fantastic people there, from all walks of life following the race. As we left a little boat sailed up alongside us and said that the whole city was behind us and we were going to do very well in that last race. So we took that energy and we put it into the race down to Panama and we did well there, claiming the Ocean Sprint and we carried it on up here. I really do think that made a big impact on the team."

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