Clipper New York arrive in Fremantle

The big excitement today was the arrival of New York who crossed the finish line at 07:25 local time (22:25 GMT Tuesday 18 December). After 25 days at sea racing between Durban and Fremantle skipper Duggie Gillespie and his team looked happy and relieved to finally reach their destination.

They were greeted by a crowd of well wishers and fellow sailors, and provided with the traditional Fremantle Sailing Club welcome of hot dogs and cold beer. Had they not had to turn round to land an injured crew member at the beginning of the race New York would have arrived with the fleet a couple of days before.

Fremantle is the halfway refit point and two of the boats, Durban 2010 and Beyond and westernaustralia2011.com, are now back in the water. Whilst the boats are ashore the crews are busy scrubbing hulls, cleaning propeller shafts and propellers and anti-fouling the bottoms of the boats. The biggest task so far has been fairing the keels, which requires hard work and concentration.

Currently Nova Scotia, Qingdao and Hull & Humber are ashore with Glasgow: Scotland with style being lifted first thing in the morning. Each of the boats are hauled out and re-launched using the large boat travel list that is part of the equipment provided by Fremantle Sailing Club. Barring an unknown problem, all the boats will have been serviced and re-launched before Christmas. This makes a nice divide between the arrival and maintenance period, and the preparations for the next race to Singapore.

The number of Clipper crew and supporters involved in the stopover in Fremantle has now risen above 250 and once the boats are back in the water many of the crew will take the opportunity to explore Western Australia with friends and family over Christmas. The stores are currently ringing with carols, but the sight of Santa fully dressed walking around in bright WA sunshine still comes as a bit of a culture shock for those from the Northern Hemisphere.