Clipper Fleet head into final port - Liverpool

Qingdao crew enjoy some great sailing - Clipper 07-08

After just over twenty four hours of racing up the Irish Sea from Cork to Liverpool only 14 miles separate the entire Clipper fleet, as they battle for the final three podium positions in the biennial 35,000-mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

New York and Uniquely Singapore are leading the fleet, but with three boats just one mile behind, there is no room for complacency. Amongst the pack chasing the two leading boats is Liverpool 08. The Liverpool team, skippered by Ben Galloway, is fighting for a victory into their home port ten months after they set sail from the Mersey in September last year.

The fleet are currently experiencing fast reaching conditions in a Force 3 from the south west as they make their way towards Liverpool. The boats are going a lot faster than expected averaging approximately nine knots since they started Race 14 from Cork at midday yesterday, but they are sailing an ‘elastic course’ that can be adapted according to the conditions.

The ten teams will race around a number of pre-determined marks in Liverpool Bay before the overall winner of the race is decided. The first boats will cross the finish line at the Bar Buoy at the mouth of the Mersey from 01:00 GMT on Saturday.

Race Director Joff Bailey said: 'The racing is incredibly close out there with only three miles separating the top six boats. It is going to be a tight finish and all the teams are battling to be the first across the line in this crucial final race. Nobody is willing to concede an inch and it looks like it is going to go right to the line.'

Nova Scotia has been deducted two points from their overall tally for receiving a replacement main sail in Sydney after damaging their own. The Race Committee penalised the Nova Scotia team after they received a fleet spare mail sail before departing from Nova Scotia for the final Atlantic crossing.

Clipper - Positions - DTF - DTL at 15:00 hrs, 4 July 2008

1 New York 62 0
2 Uniquely Singapore 64 2
3 Hull & Humber 67 5
4 Qingdao 69 7
5 Liverpool 08 70 8
6 Glasgow:Scotland with style 72 10
7 Jamaica 75 13
8 Durban 2010 and Beyond 76 14
9 westernaustralia2011.com 80 18
10 Nova Scotia 80 18