One of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will be visiting three iconic Australian ports as part of the 2023-24 global race route.
The Clipper Race sees adventurers from all walks of life take on the exceptional challenge of racing across the world’s oceans on board a 70ft yacht. Crew can sign up for individual legs, or the full 40,000nm circumnavigation, and this edition sees 29 Australian crew join the race, including an orthopaedic surgeon, an agronomist and an electrician.
Many of the Race Crew taking part in the Clipper Race have no prior sailing experience. They take on an intensive compulsory four-stage training programme before going on to tackle some of the most testing conditions that Mother Nature can serve up, from freezing temperatures and 40ft waves to the blistering heat and flat calms of the tropics.
The 11-strong fleet of ocean racing yachts will set off from Portsmouth on 3 September and when the Race Crew arrive at the first Australian port in Fremantle, they will have completed more than 20,000nm.
Crew are set to arrive at the Fremantle Sailing Club Marina from 8 December, which will mark the end of Leg 3 and be a welcome stop for those on board after the epic race across the Roaring Forties from Cape Town. Leg 4: The Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg starts here. This leg is divided into two races, and teams will race around the bottom of Australia, facing the tough conditions of the Bass Strait to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, New South Wales, arriving in this brand-new destination from 1 January. After resting and recharging, the fleet will race up towards the tropics of Airlie Beach, Whitsundays to conclude Leg 4, arriving in the Coral Sea Marina Resort from 16 January 2024.
The 2023-24 race edition will mark the fifth time Fremantle has made an appearance on the race route and will see a fourth visit to Airlie Beach. Making its debut as a Host Port will be Newcastle, which will be the second stop for yachts as they navigate around Australia.
Mark Light, Race Director at Clipper Ventures, said “We are really happy that our Clipper Race fleet will be visiting three separate locations in Australia on Leg 4 of the Clipper 2023-24 Race edition. The port of Fremantle in Western Australia is no stranger to the Clipper Race, and we are delighted to be heading back there after a long and arduous crossing of the South Indian Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa.
“After recharging in Fremantle, the fleet will sail round one of the great capes of the world, Cape Leeuwin, and experience the Roaring Forties as they blast across the Southern Ocean leaving the great Australian continent to the North. Strong depressions will give tremendous winds and big seas which in turn will create some fantastic downwind surfing conditions for the Clipper 70 Race yachts and their crews. Once around Tasmania, the fleet will head north and do battle with the notorious Bass Strait, forever wary of the weather phenomenon known as the ‘Southerly Buster’ which is prevalent in these parts, as they head towards the port of Newcastle, NSW for the very first time in Clipper Race history.
“Following the first stopover of 2024, courtesy of the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, the crews will embark on the second race of Leg 4 where they will head further north and up the Australian East coast to the warmer airs, azure blue waters and be able to take in the beauty of The Whitsundays and Airlie Beach. This will be the fourth time that the Clipper Race has visited The Whitsundays and our crews will have an incredible time in such a stunning location.”
29 Australian crew members aged between 22 and 69 will be joining the adventure of a lifetime. Eight members will get to experience the joy of sailing into their home nation at the conclusion of Leg 3, eight will complete the full Leg 4, visiting all three of the Australian destinations and further six will depart Airlie Beach at the start of Leg 5.