Clipper crews leave Whitsundays, head off on next leg
THE crews competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race have set off on yet another leg of their epic 40,000 nautical mile journey, this time to Sanya, in China.
Following a week in the Whitsundays, it was time to wave good bye, on Saturday, as the boats slipped their lines, one by one, and sailed out of Coral Sea Marina, where they had been staying.
The 'Parade of Sails' was an opportunity for family and friends, who had travelled to the Whitsundays, to farewell the crew as they prepared to set sail for the Asia-Pacific leg of the race.
The Whitsundays was the fourth stop in the round-the-world race and a jam-packed calendar of events was organised to welcome the crews and their entourages, including a welcome party, a lunch on Whitehaven Beach, a golf challenge, a long lunch at the sailing club, and a rodeo.
There were also yacht open days when the pubic could look around the specialist ocean-going vessels.
Speaking at the Parade of Sails, Mayor Andrew Willcox said it had been a pleasure to host the 2020 Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.
"It's been a pleasure hosting this carnival and celebrating with everyone," he said, as crews busied themselves getting their boats ready to depart.
"Travel safely, and we invite you all to come back to the Whitsundays again soon - you are always welcome here."
Ryan Barkey, who has lived in Airlie Beach for the past two years, is the first mate on board Punta del Este, which was in third place overall following the race to the Whitsundays.
Mr Barkey, 27, is doing the whole race and said his first priority was keeping everyone safe, followed by "getting the boat moving as quickly as possible".
"I love that I get to work on these amazing vessels and go sailing every day," Mr Barkey, who is originally from Toronto, Canada, said.
"I also get to go all around the world and get to come to cool places like this on stopovers - it's a very cool experience."
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is unique, as it pairs experienced skippers with amateur crew members, with the crews made up of people from all over the world, from hairdressers to CEOs.
More than 5,000 novice sailors have taken part in the event since it began more than 23 years ago.
This year, there are 43 different nationalities represented across the whole fleet, and the ages of the crew range from 18 to 76.
The crews enjoyed everything there is to see and do in the Whitsundays, including skydiving and jet skiing, as well as trips to the region's iconic attractions.