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Clipper Race Fleet Departs the Nation’s Capital

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A Message from the Clipper Race Hosted by Events DC

Clipper Yacht Race Round the World

Clipper Yacht Race Round the World
Clipper Yacht Race Round the World

Clipper Race Parade of Sail and Fireworks at The Wharf

Clipper Race Parade of Sail and Fireworks at The Wharf
Clipper Race Parade of Sail and Fireworks at The Wharf

Washington, DC, June 26, 2024 – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has departed Washington, DC as it makes its voyage towards home on the last leg of its 40,000nm circumnavigation. The fleet is bound for Oban on the west coast of Scotland for the penultimate stop on the adventure, before returning to Portsmouth.

In a glittering departure ceremony delivered by host port sponsor Events DC, fireworks, fanfare and a marching band, the teams waved goodbye to the capital as they headed for the iconic Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, which made the rare occurrence of throwing open the drawbridge to send the fleet on its journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind that trains people from all walks of life to race across the world’s toughest oceans. Dentists race alongside students, farmers and musicians in a true test of endurance, where the sailors spend up to a month at sea. Crew can take on one or multiple legs, or the entire race around the world, which takes eleven months. Many Race Crew have no prior sailing experience before undertaking the compulsory four stages of training required to race, and each team is led by a professional Skipper and First Mate as they face the harshest conditions that Mother Nature can serve up.

The fleet of eleven stripped back racing yachts arrived at The Wharf, Washington, DC last Monday (10 June), completing its twelfth race, suitably named the Come Sea DC Cup, and marking the first visit to the US Capital in the 28-year history of the Clipper Race.

The Race Village, which has filled The Wharf’s waterfront for the best part of a week, has seen thousands of locals visit and get involved in the action. Three days of open boats saw over 2,100 visitors to the boats that over 700 Race Crew have called home throughout the circumnavigation. Shown around by Race Crew, it was quick fire questions about life on board as visitors were left in awe at the conditions in which racers live as they sail around the world.

And the Clipper Race clearly made its mark on the nation’s capital, with over 2,000 enquiries to find out more about how to get involved in the next edition of the race made during the stopover.

The super Host Port and Team Partners Events DC have put on quite a show for the crew in town, with live music, art installations, taste tests, family
fun activities and plenty of stash up for grabs through the week’s packed agenda.

Angie Gates, President and CEO of Events DC could not contain the pride she felt for her capital city and its welcome of the Clipper Race. Speaking to The Wharf marina and its walled lined with supporters and locals, she said: “I’m starting to feel melancholy – my heart is starting to feel sad – the fact that we are getting closer to the teams departing is giving me some little sad moments.

“On behalf of the Events DC Board of Directors, as well as Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council, and of course the Events DC staff, I want to extend my heart felt congratulations to the incredible sailors for taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Your time this week in Washington, DC has been truly memorable. We have witnessed your competitive spirit and passion for sailing, first hand. Without a doubt you have left a lasting impression on our hearts and on our great city, across all eight wards.

“Now, as you set sail for the next leg of your epic journey, we know you will face new challenges and conquer unchartered waters. Remember, the spirit of Washington, DC, a city that thrives on resilience and determination, sails with you.

“Let’s give it up to Team Washington, DC – the Events DC team – and the entire city will be cheering you on every step of the way. We will be following your progress closely and we cannot wait until you cross the Finish Line. You will forever, and I repeat EVER be part of the Events DC family. The race may end but we are family for life. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you fair winds, calm seas and god speed.

“I also want to take a moment to thank the entire Events DC team. I wear the title of President and CEO, but I could not do this without every single member of this team. We made history y’all. This is the first time the Clipper Race has had a stopover here in Washington, DC – so I want to thank the entire team.

“So, as you prepare to depart, I want you to know you all have an open invitation to come back anytime. I know the race is every two years, but you can come back in two weeks! And maybe by the time two years rolls around, I may even join you on the yacht! Thank you everyone and safe travel.”

And in a right usually reserved for the presidents and celebs alike, the skipper of home boat Washington, DC Hannah Brewis got the opportunity to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals game.

It was a vibrant and colourful stopover that made history in the city. 27-year-old Hannah Brewis has skippered the Washington, DC yacht around the world, and said of finally sailing into the Home Port of her boat: “The Washington DC stopover has exceeded expectations. It has been an amazing stopover. We’ve done so much, seen so many things, met so many people. I don’t know if I will ever have this feeling ever again.”

Her first mate, Ella Hebron added: “Events DC has been an incredible sponsor right from the start. They have done so much for the crew, supporters
and for me and Hannah. Events DC and Angie have been fantastic. She’s supported us the whole way through the race. It’s delightful to have someone so invested in the race, and look after us. We’re excited to be here and it’s a great partnership.”

Max Rivers, who heads up Our Isles and Oceans yacht as Skipper said: “DC is great! I saw some real pieces of history. I saw the Bill of Rights,
Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. It’s fantastic to experience history at your fingertips.”

Laura Hampton, ifrst mate on UNICEF said of the stopover: “I love just being in the city and cycling around. It was really cool to go to the Washington Nationals game with Events DC and watch Skipper Hannah throw the first pitch!”

Race Crew on board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Jaci Smith who hails from Wyoming, USA, said: “Coming into Washington DC, the capital of the United States, via the Potomac River was such a prestigious experience. I feel privileged to arrive here via the waterfront, like so many explorers before me. I have never visited my capital and have been left so proud of how beautiful this region is.”

For now, it’s farewell and thank you to the city as the fleet heads to the starting line of Race 13: Oban Atlantic Homecoming. The penultimate race of over 3,000nm will end in Oban, Scotland from the 12 July. You can follow all of the action on the Clipper Race Viewer.

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