With the Manhattan skyline forming a stunning backdrop at sunset the prize-giving ceremony for Races 10 and 11 took place at Liberty Landing Marina following the conclusion of The LMAX Exchange – RACE of THE AMERICAS.

All the teams gathered to celebrate the end of US coast-to-coast leg which produced two very exciting races, each with a tight finish as only minutes separated the top two teams. LMAX Exchange picked up its fifth win of the series in Race 10, the PSP Logistics Panama Cup, beating ClipperTelemed+ by only two minutes, but in the following race from Panama to New York Skipper Matt Mitchell and his ClipperTelemed+ crew went one better to claim their first win of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

It was a busy night for ClipperTelemed+ which also picked up the Stormhoek Social Spirit Award for its impressive back-to-back performances this leg and the PSP Logistics Panama Canal photo competition.

After stepping down from the podium for the fourth time in the evening, ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell said: "The American Coast to Coast Leg has been fantastic foor us. Everything has just clicked for the team. We made a couple of lucky decisions in the LMAX Exchange - RACE of THE AMERICAS which meant we got a good lead we were able to maintain. The weather helped coming out of the Bahamas when we were neck and neck with a few other boats. We went one side of the islands and the others went the other, and that made all the difference because we built a 50 – 60 mile lead with Garmin and Visit Seattle. We were able to hold that all the way up and it’s just brilliant that we were the first team across the line in the end.”

Coming second in the LMAX Exchange – RACE of THE AMERICAS, and collecting maximum points at the gate has helped Garmin narrow the gap on third place in the Overall Race Standings to just four points with three races remaining.

Meanwhile, a third place finish for Visit Seattle was the first time Skipper Huw Fernie and his crew have placed in the top three and also leapfrogged Unicef and IchorCoal to move up to ninth in the overall leaderboard.

On awarding the Stormhoek Social Spirit Award to ClipperTelemed+ for Race 11, Stormhoek Wines Brand Manager, Lise Ewins said: “It is impressive how ClipperTelemed+ made such huge gains in Race 10 after starting more than seven hours after the rest of the fleet due to essential last minute repairs and that could only have been thanks to a tremendous team effort. A win was so close in Race 10 and then in Race 11 they proved unbeatable. Well done to incredible determination and teamwork!”

The very first award of the night was the Stormhoek Social Spirit Award for Race 10 and the winning team received rapturous applause from the crowd because it went to PSP Logistics for their rescue mission of two turtles caught in fishing nets in the Pacific Ocean.

Again Lise Ewins from Stormhoek Wines said: “As a team PSP Logistics showed that this race is so much more than being first across the finish line, it is also about ‘changing the world’ – and that is what the Stormhoek Social Spirit award is all about. Skipper Max Stunell and the crew of PSP Logistics captured the hearts of race followers and many more people beyond the race when we found out about them rescuing a mother and baby turtle on their way to Panama. Thank you for your efforts and also for capturing the footage which allowed us to share in this moment.”

Ironically LMAX Exchange missed out on the podium into New York, despite winning Race 10, their first since Race 6 to The Whitsundays, Australia in January. LMAX Exchange Skipper Olivier Cardin says his team never gave up the belief they would win more races.

"This race was tough, very close right to the end and we managed quite well to be efficient against the others, especially in the last 24 hours against Unicef and ClipperTelemed+ because we were match racing. There were a lot of tacks to have control over each other. We had been pushing hard for some days and on the last day we had a squall come in and we fared better than ClipperTelemed+ by staying away it and crossed the finish line about 200 metres ahead. Getting back to the top of the podium is really good because we have worked very hard to get there."

ClipperTelemed+ collected second place in the LMAX Exchange – RACE of THE AMERICAS and Unicef, backing up the strong finish into Seattle, was back on the podium in third place this time.

As the teams transitted through the Panama Canal between Races 10 and 11, PSP Logistics challenged them to get creative for a photo competition, the prize being a £150 donation to their crew fund for New York. Once more, it was the stars of the evening, ClipperTelemed+, who collected the prize.

“Thank you so much to everyone for entering the PSP Logistics photo competition. We received so many beautiful photos that really captured the experience of navigating the Panama Canal,” said Jo Dixie-Goodwin, PSP Logistics Marketing Director.

“The judges panel chose from the top six most 'liked' photos on our Facebook page and we are very pleased to announce ClipperTelemed+ as the winner. We chose this photo because it was an unusual and creative shot that shows incredible engineering and a perspective that most people will never get to see. Well done!” she added.

Having arrived in New York earlier than anticipated most of the crew have taken the time to take in the sights, but with the Race 12 start only five days away, attention will soon turn to racing once more.

To see more images from prize-giving, see our gallery here.

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