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Crews complete gruelling Clipper Round the World race

17 July 10 15:29
Clipper yachts in the Humber

After 10 months at sea, 35,000 miles (56,000km) and a fair amount of adventure, the sailors on board the Clipper Round the World Race have returned home.

The voyage saw one crew abandon ship as it hit rocks, while another crew had a sailor swept overboard.

Here, the BBC'S Alison Harper - who has been following the race from the start and even sailed the Atlantic leg with competitors - looks at what the race has meant to those that have taken part.

The homecoming was emotional. As the 68ft (21m) yachts came close to the shore, friends and families shouted out, waving banners, desperate for a glimpse of the sailors.

It was the culmination of a journey around the globe - and for many one which has been fraught with danger.

There have been two dismastings, a man overboard on the way to Cape Town, a shipwreck off Indonesia and the medical evacuation of one of the skippers by the Japanese coastguard.

Hull & Humber Clipper skipper Piers Dudin fell on deck after a huge wave hit the yacht and broke his leg.

The race was the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world.

Sir Robin was there along the River Humber to welcome the crews home.

"I think they've had about everything in this race," he said.

"These sorts of adventures are things you read about normally but these crews have experienced it.

"Even if they weren't on the boats themselves, they were involved with the rescues or assists."

But the crews that have returned have put that fear, danger and trepidation behind them and have been revelling in the moment.

Suse Leslie cannot believe she's finally back in the UK.

"It's been amazing; my family are there waiting for me, the start seems so long ago but I still can't believe we've made it."

Looking back at the race, Jane McDonald described the Pacific crossing as being her highlight.

"It had been a really tough crossing but knowing we had been through so much and were close to land was brilliant."

Jo Jackson from Yorkshire left her job as a nurse to sail around the world and said she has no intention of returning to nursing.

"I have to keep sailing, I have to. I've loved every minute," she said.

"The worst time was when we were hit by lightning in the Pacific but that was also the highlight; the adrenaline was really flowing!"

Not all those who took part have sailed the world - some have done legs; races from country to country. But no matter how far they have sailed, coming home is tough.

"I'm sure that I haven't changed but in a few months' time I think people will tell me I have," said Simon Lemon from Plymouth.

"We have worked so hard as a team and gone through so much, it's bound to have changed us in some way."

For the crews of the 10 yachts it's now the one thing they have in common - and as the reunions continue, they will be celebrating their achievements and the fact that many of them are now circumnavigators.

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