First time Team Partner Swiss Sailing has this afternoon unveiled their first ever entry in the nine-race history of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The yacht, part of the new state of the art fleet of ocean racers owned and operated by the race organisers and debuting in the latest edition of the Clipper Race, will be called Switzerland.
Former Miss Switzerland, Jennifer Ann Gerber was on hand to add a touch of celebrity to today’s official unveiling. The distinctive design which was seen for the very first time today features the country’s national flag which will be showcased to a global audience during the 40,000-mile, 11 month ocean race.
The founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox -Johnston who attended the event said: “I’m extremely pleased to be here today to welcome our Team Partners, Swiss Sailing on board the ninth edition of the race.
“Switzerland has a rich history of participation in ocean racing and we hope that involvement with the Clipper Race will allow them to build on the history and legacy within the sport in Switzerland.”
President of Swiss Sailing, Vincent Hagin who was guest of honour at today’s ceremony held on the South Coast of the UK said: “Swiss Sailing is proud to promote sailing with this partnership. We strongly believe Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is an outstanding event to show the possibilities and the beauty of our sport.
“The palmares of Swiss sailors like Pierre Fehlmann, Steve Ravussin, Dominique Wavre, the Alinghi Crew and most recently also the Realtime Crew (3rd place after Alinghi at Porto in the Extreme Sailing Series) is impressive. We are very happy to enable with our partnership the adventure of a circumnavigation to amateur sailors. We can’t wait to hear their feedback!”
The Swiss entry will be crewed by amateurs under professional skipper Vicky Ellis who also attended today’s naming ceremony. Vicky was selected by the Clipper Race following a rigorous selection process as one of just twelve exceptional skippers to make the grade from hundreds of applicants. Her appointment makes Vicky the third ever female skipper in the 17 year history of the Clipper Race:
“I’m so proud to be here today with our partners Swiss Sailing and Mercy Ships for the unveiling of the Swiss entry.”
Vicky added, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Clipper Ventures as a training skipper on the previous edition of the race. Watching novice sailors become capable yachtsmen and yachtswomen is very rewarding, but to lead my own team around the world on behalf of Swiss Sailing is a huge honour.”
Swiss Sailing was founded in 1939 and counts 146 sailing clubs and 46 boat classes as members to Switzerland’s umbrella organisation for sailing, kite and windsurfing. It is one of the major goals of Swiss Sailing to promote sailing among young people. This year more than 21,000 sailors of all age groups received a regatta license to compete.
Switzerland will also carry the logo of Mercy Ships, raising awareness for the hospital ship charity which provides free surgery and medical care. Mercy Ships partners with local communities to improve health care, offering training and advice, materials and hands-on assistance in Africa and around the world.