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Rio de Janeiro welcomes Clipper race as yachts battle for first place
12:11pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
THEY’VE endured high winds, sleepless nights and rough seas.
But after more than a month battling for survival in the world’s longest ocean race, the end is almost in sight.
Today the party is getting started in Brazil as Rio de Janeiro gets ready to welcome the first teams fighting it out for pole position as they cross the finish line of the first leg of the world-famous Clipper Race.
It may be the middle of the night when the yachts leading the fleet arrive, but they will be met with a welcome Caipirinha cocktail, a game of football on the beach and a trip to Christ the Redeemer statue before they hop back onboard for the next leg.
Overnight they were the two in contention for glory at the end of the first of the eight legs, with Qingdao, skippered by Gosport’s Gareth Glover in fourth.
The fleet of 12 yachts, 11 of which have crews from Hampshire, set off on the 40,000- mile journey from St Katherine’s Dock, in London, on September 2 and the second leg will see them head to Cape Town, in South Africa.
One DLL, crewed by Dave Richards, 63, an engineering director, Southampton along with John Menetrier, 59, from Gosport, will arrive on Sunday.
The last yacht, Invest Africa, whose crew includes Diana Nicholson, a 56-year-old housewife from Southampton, will arrive on Wednesday, October 9.
Emailing the Daily Echo from her boat Switzerland, Lindsey Noble, 59, from Winchester, who quit her job as principal of City College in Southampton to take part, said: “Now we have to fight hard to maintain our tenth position, hence the work on sail performance.
“Best wishes to pupils and students and teachers in all the schools and colleges who are following our progress.”
Charlie Pickering, a 58-yearold operations director from Southampton, and Heather Reid, 50, from Totton, are also on board.
Steve Mabey, 47, from Millbrook in Southampton, blogging from the GB boat which is currently in eighth position, said: “We've been on this tack for a few days since managing to escape the Doldrums and shall all the way to Rio.”
Also on board his boat is Jacob Carter, 20, from Fareham, and Patrick Coates, 70, from Stockbridge.
The Clipper Race yachts will visit 16 ports across six continents including South Africa, Australia, China, the US and Jamaica before ending one year later where the race began, at St Katherine's Dock in London.
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