Having conquered Mother Nature’s toughest conditions during the 40,000-mile ocean odyssey, the Eric Holden's vessel was victorious in the overall standings, claiming a total of 11 podiums and five individual wins to defeat second-placed GREAT Britain.
Thousands of spectators lined the banks of the River Thames to welcome home 270 international amateur crew on the dozen 70-foot yachts as they formed a Parade of Sail which concluded with Tower Bridge lifting for the top three teams.
A total of 670 crew members from 42 different countries have battled hurricanes, survived a tornado, dealt with medical evacuations and the miraculous rescue of a man who went overboard in the Pacific Ocean for 90 minutes.
Henri Lloyd was presented with the Clipper Race trophy at a prizegiving ceremony in St Katharine Docks on Saturday afternoon having been victorious in the world’s longest ocean race.
Canadian skipper Holden said: “It has been a life-changing adventure for the crew and me. The team’s drive, determination and strength has led us to exhaustion at times.
“Whenever I thought the team couldn’t be pushed any harder, they dug deeper through some of the worst sailing conditions I have ever seen on the planet. This is a very special moment for the team and I to be crowned champions.”
Sir Ben Ainslie CBE, BAR Team Principle and Henri Lloyd ambassador, congratulated the team. “What a fantastic effort by Eric and the team on board Henri Lloyd," said the Olympic great. "The race has been a real marathon around the world over the past 11 months. To take part is an incredible achievement and congratulations to all those who helped the team claim the win overall.”
Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, nonstop round the world in 1968/9 said: “The crews have crossed all the world’s oceans, suffered the frustrations of the calms, the apprehension of the largest waves to be seen anywhere on the planet, experienced the vagaries of the weather systems, seen ports and scenery that they never expected, met people from vary different cultures, and, perhaps most of all, shared all these adventures with a group of people who were strangers just over a year ago but who will now remain friends for life.
“They have widened their horizons and have memories to cherish that can only be won through real hands-on participation.”
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