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Clipper Round the World: Singapore clinches victory in penultimate stage of Clipper Race

12July2012_Clipper_Round_the_World_SingaporePhoto by Peter van Aalst

12-July-2012. Singapore, sponsored by Keppel Corporation, has clinched its first win of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, arriving into Den Helder in the Netherlands today in jubilant spirits. They crossed the finish line at 0724 GMT (0924 local) and were followed in just over half an hour by Visit Finland and Gold Coast Australia respectively.

The fiercely fought 800 miles race from Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland is the penultimate stage of the 40,000 miles race. While the Singapore team celebrated its first victory, their performance spoilt Gold Coast Australia’s hopes of matching the Clipper Race record of six consecutive wins.

The Singapore team is now in serious contention for an overall podium position for third place in the eighth edition of the Clipper Race, but is up against stiff competition from De Lage Landen. The two yachts are neck and neck on points, so the final sprint to the race finish back in the UK on 22 July will clinch which team is on the podium.

Race 14 had a tough start with rough seas around the Scottish coast before wind holes opened up and a becalmed sea state turned this into a huge tactical game. Winds freshened over the last 24 hours resulting in the fleet finishing within approximately six hours of each other.

Upon arrival into Willemsoord Marina Singapore skipper, Ben Bowley said, “It feels absolutely fantastic, we’ve been waiting for this for a long time; everyone’s been awake for the last 36 hours or so it’s been a hard race and very challenging.

“It was neck and neck all the way through, right down to the wire. The atmosphere when we crossed the finish line was electric I’ve never seen the crew get so excited before. We had an honest jubilation; there were tears and laughter.”

Just 17 minutes behind Singapore was Visit Finland, currently in a strong position to also secure second place on the overall Clipper 11-12 Race podium. Skipper Olly Osborne explained, “The race was pretty full on, with many different parts really. The crew worked very hard and I’m always surprised by how much energy they can muster, they did really well and they worked to their best and I’m so glad they got a result to show for it.”

Gold Coast Australia skipper Richard Hewson reflected on his team’s third place, “It’s been an incredibly busy race from start to finish; it was just full on. We had a pretty bad start so we were playing catch up from day one. Singapore took the lead and Visit Finland was up there too, so we were battling it out with them pretty much all the way.

“We worked so hard in that race if we had come last I’d still be proud of my team because they just worked so hard. It was just the roll of the dice so to speak, it could have been any team that won the race but Singapore really deserves it.”

The teams were welcomed to Den Helder in traditional Dutch style with a ‘jenever’ drink, herring and Dutch clogs; a colourful festival awaits them over the weekend.

The Clipper Race fleet will leave Den Helder in the Netherlands next Thursday (19 July), arriving in Southampton on Sunday 22 July after 51 weeks of ocean racing, visiting 15 ports of call on six continents. This will complete the world’s longest ocean race, seeing around 500 people from all walks of life celebrating their remarkable achievement after nearly twelve months at sea.