1. ITV Report

Clipper Race comes to Trafalgar Square

The Great Britain boat in Trafalgar Square. Photo: Chris Paxton

Lord Nelson would surely have approved - as the Admiral gazed down from his column in Trafalgar Square last night, a 70-foot Clipper Race boat was steered in to the square on the back of a large lorry and parked in front of the National Gallery. This is the Great Britain boat which will be competing in the race which starts in London on September 1st.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson MP christened the boat with the Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Credit: Chris Paxton
The boat got plenty of attention from passers-by. Credit: Chris Paxton
London members of Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland were in Trafalgar Square to see their boat. Credit: Chris Paxton

Also there to welcome the boat to London were members of its crew. They had all signed up to the race without knowing which boat they would be assigned to. So for Lindsay Evans from Putney and Bob Baker from Tilbury, the news came as a welcome surprise.

However, there is no guarantee that the Great Britain boat will win. There are twelve yachts in the race and the crews have been allocated to boats so they all have an equal mix of experienced sailors and novices. What will make the difference is how the crew learn to work together and the leadership skills of their skipper Simon Talbot.

Londoner Simon Talbot will be in charge of the Great Britain boat. Credit: Chris Paxton

The whole race starts from St Katharine Docks near Tower Bridge and the race organisers expect it to attract a huge crowd of around 100,000 people. The Race Director Justin Taylor says the start will be a spectacle:

Many of the competitors in this year's race have only had a few weeks of training to get used to sailing the boats. For those crew members who are new to it, Justin Taylor had the following advice:

The Great Britain boat will stay in Trafalgar Square until the evening of August 4th.

I am taking part in this year's Clipper Race - you can follow me on Twitter or read my previous blogs here.