(Reuters) - Australia’s Wendy Tuck became the first female skipper to win a round-the-world yacht race, after clinching overall victory in the Clipper 2017-18 event.
Tuck and her Sanya Serenity Coast team started the 13th and final round of the race at the top of the leaderboard and did enough to finish ahead of the 10 other teams.
Thousands of fans watched the teams return to Liverpool, nearly a year after 12 yachts left the city.
“I can’t believe it. It hasn’t really sunk in really but I am just so happy,” the 53-year-old Tuck said.
“I don’t think it’s about being a woman. I just do what I do. But I am very proud and even prouder of my team. They are the ones that did all the work and considering many had never sailed before, what they have accomplished is incredible.”
British sailor Nikki Henderson, the youngest ever Clipper race skipper at 25, came second with the Visit Seattle team on the back of their four podiums over the last year.
Clipper Race founder and chairman Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, was delighted with a first ever female one-two finish.
“The impact of the success of both Wendy and Nikki cannot be underestimated,” he said.
“If this gets even one more girl start sailing and dreaming big, then I’ll consider everything we have done over the last 11 months a huge success.”
Over 700 sailors representing 41 nationalities were involved in the in the 40,000 nautical mile race, the event’s 11th edition.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis