With just 1pt between New York and Liverpool, a close Clipper Race finish is expected today 29/7/06

The 10-strong fleet in the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race left the dock for the final time last night in Holyhead as they set sail on the last race (Race 13) to Liverpool where they are due to arrive at the mouth of the River Mersey this morning between 0830 and 1000.

The fleet set off in bright sunshine and with 15-knots of breeze behind them, they all crossed the line in full sail complete with spinnakers.

After racing into Holyhead earlier yesterday from Jersey, the first two spots on the overall leader board have already been claimed by westernaustralia.com and Durban who are unreachable now on the points tally in first and second place respectively. westernaustralia.com claimed the top spot this morning after gaining enough points from the second place finish in Race 12, Durban gave a good fight finishing shortly after in third. Liverpool 08 however, managed to steal a last moment of glory with a stunning first place finish in the early hours.

With the race from Jersey over, the interesting duel now is between New York Clipper and Liverpool 08 where only one point remains between them in the last sprint to Liverpool (race 13). New York currently lie in third position just one point ahead of Liverpool 08 but with 5 points up for grabs the situation could easily change.

Since leaving Liverpool last September, the fleet, backed by ten international cities (Liverpool, Cardiff, Glasgow, Jersey, Victoria – Canada, Qingdao – China, Singapore, Western Australia, Durban – South Africa, New York) have travelled 35,000 miles in the longest race around the world. Over the course of the race they have visited five continents and have crossed five major oceans including the icy North Pacific and dipped into the formidable Southern Ocean.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc said: ‘”the 05-06 Race has been very tough and very close from the beginning and each crew will be racing flat out for Liverpool. I am looking forward to seeing the fleet safely back home.”

He continued: “on arriving in Liverpool the crew will reflect on their own personal victory, whether they are on the podium or not. More people have climbed Everest than have raced around the world under sail. When that achievement sinks in, they will notice a change in themselves, and it gives me a quiet inner pleasure to know that they will get more out of life from now on.”

After crossing the finish line at the Liverpool Bar Lightship, the fleet will sail down the Mersey River to arrive into Liverpool for approximately 1230.