Global Sailing Race Heads for Washington, DC

Washington, DC team yacht

Washington, DC team yacht

For the first time in its 28-year history, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is headed to Washington, DC. This global event sees non-professionals from all walks of life take on one of the toughest endurance challenges in sport, with its fleet made up of 200 crew expected at The Wharf from June 17. And this edition has seen a team entry representing the US capital – which means a heroes’ welcome is expected for the 19 strong crew on the home boat called Washington, DC.

Race 12 of the 14 -stage and 40,000-nautical-mile circumnavigation started June 7 and sees the fleet of 11 matched Clipper 70 ocean racing yachts heading up the East Coast of the USA to Washington, DC. 

As Washington, DC arrives at its home port, it’s forecast to be an unforgettable homecoming, with the Clipper Race welcoming Events DC as Host and Team Port Partners for the 2023-24 edition. The team has the only female-led pairing of Skipper and First Mate (UK’s Hannah Brewis, 27, and Ella Hebron, 19), with three out of the six circumnavigating crew (Race Crew who sail the full way round the world) being women. Together, the British duo lead 19 Race Crew from seven nations on board with day-to-day professions (when they aren’t racing across oceans!) including nurse, film producer, civil engineer and coach. 

Across the fleet 35 American nationals are taking on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and on arrival into Washington, DC will be able say they have sailed coast to coast of their home country, as well as ticking off the modern wonder of the world that is the Panama Canal.

Named in honour of the upcoming stopover in the capital city, Race 12: Come Sea DC Cup is a short but punchy 1,560-nautical-mile race that sees the fleet battle it out through the Caribbean Sea and up the East Coast of the states. 

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Image: Skipper Hannah Brewis (left) and First Mate Ella Hebron (right) 

Speaking from Panama, where the fleet recently made the transit through the canal from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean, Skipper Hannah Brewis said “We have been waiting a year for this race to Washington. We’re just trying to take it all in and absorb the fun we are about to have. 

“We have seen our competitors go into their home ports, and of course it adds a level of extra pressure to the race. So, of course I’ve doubled that by playing our one-time Joker! Meaning we will double the points we pick up in this race – why not! It’s a lot, but it’s not going to happen again and that’s such an amazing feeling.”

Speaking of her crew on board, Hannah added, “We’ve spoken about this moment for so long. We’ve been DC the whole time, we have been chanting it – DC, DC – the whole way round, so to finally come into our port and have all the eyes on us and it be our moment, it makes us feel quite proud.”

First Mate Ella Hebron said, “The whole crew is so excited! They are always talking about arriving in DC and their home port. And our Partners at Events DC are just amazing, so it’s just another motivation to do really well in this race.” 

Race 12 kicked off at 1700 UTC on June 7 by way of a Le Mans Start – an offshore start where the fleet line up under engine with mainsails raised, and headsails poised. Once the race is officially started by the leading skipper, teams can advance forward raising headsails in a rolling start and creating an impressive and action-packed beginning to the race. 

The teams will now race their way out into the North Atlantic through the Caribbean Sea where there looks to be fickle winds because of depressions coming from the North American landmass. However, this warm and windy race will offer up some dramatic thunderstorms and squally conditions. Whilst spectacular to watch, these passing depressions will keep crew busy, as frequent sail changes will be required.

While transiting the Panama Canal, Liz DiCesare, a 29-year-old consultant from Massachusetts, who is circumnavigating with Washington, DC said, “Once this final lock opens, we are back in the Atlantic Ocean, and I’m officially back on the East Coast of America. We’re on the home stretch to our home port!” 

Image: Liz DiCesare on arrival into Panama 

From on board the UNICEF team yachtAdams Hayne, who hails from South Carolina but is now based in the Cayman Islands said, “[This race] will be interesting, this is the leg I wanted to do. I live in the Caribbean now so I wanted to learn how to sail that area a little bit and will be sailing past my original home of South Carolina, so it should be a lot of fun.”

Having previously lived in Washington, DC twice, even working at the White House one time, the professional chef is looking forward to exploring the city once again. “I have never been up the river before so it will be an interesting way to see the city again.” 

The fleet is expected to arrive in Washington, DC from June 17-19. An offshore Finish Line will see them motor through the Chesapeake Bay and along the Potomac River, where they will muster. Once the entire fleet arrives at the rendezvous point, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge will open just once, allowing for a striking Parade of Sail into Washington.  

From arrival until the June 25, the fleet will be berthed at The Wharf, Washington, DC for a week-long stopover, welcoming over 200 non-professional Race Crew from all over the globe who have just completed a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

If you require more information about the race, the planned stopover in Washington, DC or to pre-arrange a visit or interview, please contact Natalie Hill at or Karla Graves at


b-roll can be found here 

Images can be found here  
VNR of Washington, DC on the Clipper Race can be found here
Washington, DC Race Crew at the recent stop in Panama can be found here


About the Clipper Race 
The Clipper Race is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other. It is raced by real people, with many having no previous sailing experience before signing up for the intensive training programme and taking on the record-breaking 40,000 nautical mile race around the world on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht.

This seventh leg of the global race, named the USA Coast-to-Coast Leg, is split into two stages. On this leg, 35 Americans are amongst the crew, and sailing the coasts of their home nation. The first stage saw them race down from Seattle to Panama, where they transited the Panama Canal – a bucket list tick for many sailors. Back in the Atlantic, and it’s up the East Coast as they take on the turquoise seas of the Caribbean before arriving in the capital city between June 17-19.  

The fleet of eleven yachts will arrive at The Wharf marina having completed 12 out of fourteen races, and racing over 35,000nm around the world, crossing five oceans and spending up to a month at a time out at sea.  

More information about the Clipper Race can be found here: with information about the stopover in Washington, DC available here:

About Events DC

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for Washington, DC, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the LEED Gold-certified Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, The Fields at RFK, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. Events DC manages Gateway DC, R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and Entertainment & Sports Arena all conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit and find us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (Events DC), and Twitter (@TheEventsDC) — and on our hub for on-demand event programming on GATHER by Events DC at