As the Clipper 2013-14 Race fleet approaches Qingdao in China, the Chief Executive of race organisers Clipper Ventures spoke at a press conference today to celebrate ten years of partnership with China’s ‘Sailing City’ as it prepares to host its fifth entry in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
“The name of Qingdao has been taken around the world on the Clipper Race platform through its entry in the race, raising awareness of this great city and its pre-eminence as China’s sailing city,” Mr Ward told Chinese journalists in a heartfelt speech detailing the long standing relationship between the international yacht race and the ambitious city of Qingdao, which has successfully developed its status as a major centre for sailing, and is the race’s longest standing partner.
“It’s hard to believe that we are celebrating ten years of working together. My memories of coming to Qingdao for the first time are still very vivid. The Clipper Race was the first international sailing event to come to Qingdao. Since then you have hosted many more and built a strong annual calendar of regattas.”
The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre was the venue for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the lead up to the Olympics, the Clipper Race played a vital role in ensuring the city was ready to host the world’s most prestigious sporting event.
Mr Ward added: “Our second fleet arrival here was in 2008 which was just before the Olympics so we could test the wonderful new facilities. Your hosting of the Beijing 2008 sailing competitions later that year was an outstanding success.
“The Clipper Race and stopovers in Qingdao that followed in 2010 and 2012 helped to build a strong legacy from the Olympics and we brought our sponsors here from around the world to build strong cultural and trading relationships.”
The relationship with Qingdao was further strengthened when the brand new fleet of twelve Clipper 70s was built in the city. Qingdao has already committed to participate in the Clipper 2015-16 Race, the tenth edition of the 40,000 mile global challenge.
“The Clipper 70 yachts offer a new experience for our teams, breaking speed records and providing very exciting finishes because they are so closely matched through the same design.
“Throughout the past ten years the Clipper Race has matured as a powerful global platform for thousands of people, cities, nations and businesses to network around the world. We look forward to continuing to build on our relationship in the 2015-16 edition when we will again welcome a Qingdao entry and stopover.” concluded Mr Ward.
An intense programme of cultural and business promotional activities is planned during the fleet’s stay in Qingdao, including tours of the city and an opportunity for crew to visit local families. Race partners will take guests sailing and the GREAT Britain campaign will be showcasing British brands in the city.
The fleet will depart Qingdao on 16 March on the next leg of the race which crosses the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco.