430 miles will decide the winner of the Cup in the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race 26/07/06

It has all come down to the final 430 miles for Western Australia and Durban Clipper who are neck and neck for the finish line. The fight is now on for the Clipper Cup. The Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race crossed the start line at Noirmont Point, Jersey at 1815 last night (Tuesday 25 July) for the final stage (race 12/13) of the 35,000-mile race around the world.

This stage will take the fleet to the final destination in Liverpool via a short pit stop in Holyhead. The fleet left yesterday with heavy thunderstorms rolling in across the English Channel, reflecting the tense mood of the crews.

There are ten points to play for in the race to Holyhead, then a bonus five points for the final short, sharp sprint to Liverpool where the fleet are due to arrive on 29 July.

Supporters around the world have watched in anticipation as the lead teams have jostled for first place position since the early stages in the race. Western Australia stole the lead off Durban in the last race from New York to Jersey and currently holds the overall lead by only 5.5 points.

It was a positive start for Durban, who crossed the start line in first position, with Victoria in second and the Glaswegian boat coming third. The Australians crossed in fourth place, which gave the South Africans a morale boost.

Durban Skipper, Craig Millar said: “I am expecting an extremely tough and competitive race. The tides I know are tricky and it will be particularly challenging for me as I am not overly familiar with these waters.” He continued: “The crew are positive and determined. We are focused and we know we have a huge uphill climb to get ourselves back into first position. We just need to keep our heads together.”

Mark Preedy, skipper of western Australia, commented: “My biggest worry is Durban winning and us coming last, but anything can happen in this short race and obviously we are all hungry to win!”

On this final sprint, the fleet will take a course across the English Channel, navigating around the treacherous Cornish Coast, passing South Wales to arrive in Holyhead tomorrow (Thursday 27 July). From there, all that remains is the 60 mile dash to Liverpool.

The race is short, coastal and very dependant on the tides. As Uniquely Singapore’s skipper, Richard Falk stated: “The tide will play a massive outcome in this race; it is all about being in the right place at the right time for the change of tide – that will determine who wins. This will be a very intense race with no room for mistakes.”

Overall Position after Race 11

1st – westernaustralia.com – 80.5

2nd – Durban – 75.0

3rd – New York – 71.5

4th – Liverpool – 66.5

5th – Victoria – 60.5

6th – Uniquely Singapore – 59.0

7th – Qingdao – 51.0

8th – Cardiff – 48.0

9th – Jersey – 22.0

10th – Glasgow: Scotland with Style – 18.5