Heroes Welcome for Home Team in Seattle
21 April 2018
After almost a month at sea, the Visit Seattle team arrived into its home at the Port of Seattle today, Saturday 21 April, to a heroes welcome. Arriving in brilliant sunshine, the team was cheered in by locals, supporters and members of Visit Seattle including President and CEO Tom Norwalk.
The team crossed the finish line at 20:30 UTC on Friday 20 April after completing the gruelling 5,600 nautical mile race across the North Pacific Ocean and despite finishing in eighth, Visit Seattle remains in third place on the overall race standings.
The four Seattleite crew members racing on board Visit Seattle, including Shannon Dean (54, Nurse, RTW*), Andy Farnum (37, photographer, Leg 6), Marek Omilian (53, Consultant, RTW) and Javier Roca (58, Creative Director, Leg 6), had even greater motivation to get into port with friends and family waiting to greet them.
For Shannon Dean, who was inspired to take part after seeing the race arrive into the city just two years ago, it has taken some 30,000 nautical miles of racing to reach home. Speaking dockside, Shannon says: “We had a great, great, great crossing, we had such a great time!
“I loved the storm and the thing is that it built, so it wasn’t like we suddenly got hit, we had 50s, 60s, 70s. We were prepared and Nikki [Visit Seattle Skipper] is so capable, we were never out of control. Then we just hunkered down. We had waves breaking over the boat, we had half the boat under water, it was incredible, I have never seen waves like that in my life.”
On arriving home, she adds: “My family is here I am so excited! My mum and dad, my kids and my brother and his new wife have all come to greet me- so I have lots of support.”
The Visit Seattle team experienced some of the biggest weather of the fleet as it crossed the North Pacific Ocean and Skipper Nikki Henderson was full of praise for the way the team handled it. She says: “Our team spirit is amazing and it keeps everyone going and that’s what this is about.
“Win or lose, if I arrived with a team that wasn’t smiling and excited then I would feel like I have failed. I am chuffed and they are really happy so that makes me happy.”
On arriving into the team’s home port, she added: “I can’t wait to explore the
city and meet people, we have a couple of sail days so it's going to be exciting.”
Following Visit Seattle into port was Nasdaq and Liverpool 2018, which both played Joker Cards for Race 9 and will receive double race points for doing so.
For Nasdaq circumnavigator Ineke Van Der Weijden, it was the toughest race yet. On arrival into port, she said: “ I am so happy to be here, happy to have done it but never again! It delivered what I expected in amazing ways and in really tough ways.
“It was the toughest Leg since Leg 1, physically it was definitely the toughest. Leg 1 was tough because it was the first and it was really long. But this is physically more demanding, the cold, dampness and relentless.”
The bright pink Liverpool 2018 yacht looked glorious in the Seattle sunshine and the jubilant team were in high spirits on arrival into the Emerald City.
For returning Liverpool 2018 crew member Johnny Pillar, 27, an App Developer who took part in Leg 1, it was great to be back with his team. He said: “I absolutely loved every second of it. The storm was amazing! It was tough, the first night was tough, but then the next day the sun came out and it was just blue. The massive waves and the amount of white surf everywhere was amazing. To surf down them was incredible, so pretty lucky to get a chance.”
The final team to arrive into Seattle was GREAT Britain after crossing the finish line at 01:58 UTC on 21 April. It was a tough race for the team, but for 27 year-old Alana Ticknor, competing in Legs 5 and 6, it proved to be an unforgettable way to bring her Clipper Race journey to a conclusion. She said: “It was cold, very exciting and long but we got there in the end. Everyone is safe our boat did amazingly and we had a great time. Everyone at home has been so supportive, it really kept us going.”
Seattle being a city proud of its local food and drink, each team has been greeted on arrival with much welcomed cold beers from three local brewing companies - The Pike, Elysian and Fremonts, along with famous chowder from Ivars and sweet treats from Top Pot Donuts. After almost a month at sea they were very much enjoyed as the crews celebrated with friends and family at the marina.
The Clipper Race fleet will be berthed at Bell Harbor Marina until the first race of the US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7 from Seattle to Panama begins on Sunday 29 April.
*RTW = Round the World. Crew can race around the world or take part in one of more of the eight individual legsJoin The Race