​Photo finish for Clipper Race fleet after 5,500nm race across Pacific

25 April 2024

After a night of intense racing, it all boiled down to just 42 minutes of action for the bulk of the fleet still fighting it out for the Race 10: Ultimate Test of Perseverance leader board spots. As eight of the yachts jostled it out at the Finish Line, the standings jumped up and down with pace.

Following the stunning victory for Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, and then a fantastic second place finish for Qingdao, the battle for the remining podium place and the rest of the finishing positions was incredibly close. After almost 6,000nm of racing, across the North Pacific Ocean, the fleet compressed towards the finish line with the front runners being held up in a ridge of high pressure and the back-markers continuing their tremendous progress with excellent boat speeds.

In the end, eight teams (third to tenth) all finished within 42 minutes of each other in the early hours of Wednesday 24 April, which gave tension and anxiety for the racing crews, but heaps of excitement for the masses watching and following on the Race Viewer.

As if that statistic wasn’t close enough, there was a split of only four seconds (equating to 14 metres) separating the fourth and fifth placed teams. As Yacht Club Punta del Este romped towards the finishing line an almost unbelievable finish culminated with Perseverance just edging out the Uruguayan entry on the line. At first it was impossible for the two teams involved to say for certain who had taken fourth place and the initial declarations proved inconclusive. Upon requesting images and further positional information from both teams, the Race Committee could finally confirm that Perseverance had indeed finished just ahead of Yacht Club Punta del Este.

Now only one team is still racing and Bekezela is expected to arrive at Seattle’s Bell Harbour Marina on Friday morning [Seattle local time], 26 April.

What an amazing and exciting finish to an incredible North Pacific crossing. Hear from the Skippers and AQPs themselvesas they explain what it was like from their perspectives.


Skipper, James Finney: “Well that has to have been one of the more stressful finishes of the race so far and a true testament to the competitiveness of this fleet! As always, I am so proud of my team for the way they sailed this race and grateful to have an AQP like Mike whose steady presence and tactical nouse are a key part of this team’s success. Whilst we didn’t see the heavy weather you expect from this leg, the sheer distance makes this a formidable challenge whatever the weather and a fantastic achievement for all those who make the crossing unscathed.”

AQP, Mike Davies: “Wow, what a finish that turned out to be. After the ups and downs of the race we really didn't think we would come out in third. The constant changing in positions we could easily ended up in seventh. We are just thrilled. Wind holes at the finish line are hard and it has been a tricky few days watching the back of the fleet catch up. This time we were fortunate enough to be in the right spot for the shift and build. However, next race we might not be so lucky. After going for the scoring gate early on in the race, we arereally happy to get a good number of points in the bag for the overall standing. For now,just happy to be heading into Seattle and have few beers with our competitors. I think we might owe UNICEF a couple!!

"It's been a long race and are so proud of the crew who have kept their spirits high and worked for every mile. Let’s hope we can keep it up for the next few races.”

Skipper, Ineke van der Weijden: “After over 5,500 nautical miles and 27 days at sea, it came down to eight boats so close together and a real photo finish between us and Yacht Club Punta del Este. No matter how hard the previous days have been, and what the final result may be, that finish will stay with us for sure. This whole month I could not have been prouder of the team, who kept working to fight our way back. It has been exhausting but worth it. Now time for some rest.”

AQP, Joss Creswell added: “What a rush!”

Yacht Club Punta del Este
Skipper, Nano Antia Bernardez: “A very close photo finish which we will remember.

“We had the podium right there, but we lost it. What a pity. Seems like podiums don't like us. Apart from the racing, what a spectacular challenge and fulfilling passage we've just made. We are now about to motor through the Juan de Fuca Strait, we will be arriving in the afternoon in Seattle, and we are very looking forward to seeing our relatives and celebrating this achievement with them.”

Skipper, Dan Bodey: “Tough last 24hrs for us. This race we started off last then we were competing and holding onto third place for ages and then the final five miles it just didn't work for us. We parked up in a wind hole and just watched the three teams sail passed us, which was heartbreaking, but the team have done really well, I amsuper proud of the team.”

Our Isles and Oceans
Skipper, Max Rivers: “Amazing effort by the whole team to get across the Finish Line. Loads of changes of sail right up until the last second of the race and amazing to be in such close company with a majority of the fleet for a race finish. Loads of different tactics keeping us guessing right till the last second!”

PSP Logistics
Skipper, Mike Miller: “Thanks so much for the support and good vibes you have been sending through these last 5000nm. They have done a huge amount to sustain us and push us forward on what has been a really tough crossing. As expected, we were tested in ways we didn’t expect. Not so much the weather, just the relentlessness of it all. The patience needed and the determination to keep pushing even when we were hundreds of miles behind. I am super proud of the team and the boatand am looking forward to that first beer.”

Washington, DC
Skipper, Hannah Brewis: “It goes without saying that was a very exciting finish indeed.

"We've been in a close battle with PSP Logistics and Dare To Lead for a week or two now, in the end PSP Logistics won the three-way battle beating us by 10 minutes. That left us and Dare to Lead to battle right to the end, we could not have been more equal, but as we came in opposites gybes we were the stand on vessel which meant Dare To Lead had to duck behind us on the line. This reason meant we managed to beat them across the line by ten seconds! Unbelievable stuff. We are now going to enjoy a beautiful motor in and look forward to seeing all our loved ones on the dock shortly.”

Dare To Lead
Skipper, Ryan Gibson: “We have just finished a nail biter race in tenth place, a few hundred metres behind Washington, DC after nearly 6,000nm. Slightly disappointed with the result but it could have gone either way between a few boats at the end and I'm proud of the crew for what we have overcome this race, accomplishing something so special that few people get to experience. We look forward to getting into Seattle soon!"

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