Thousands of spectators descended on St Katharine Docks in London last week eager to witness the unveiling of the Clipper 70, the first of a new fleet of global racing yachts which will allow hundreds of ordinary people to participate in the world’s longest ocean race.
In 1995 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston launched the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race with the vision of enabling ordinary people from all walks of life to experience ocean racing, with the option to either complete a full circumnavigation or to compete in one or more legs. Today the Clipper Race remains the only global ocean race open to amateur participants.
Forty-five years since he became the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, legendary yachtsman Sir Robin proudly revealed the latest phase in the development of the Clipper Race.
Over 3,000 people attended a full week of events for crew, sponsors and partners, which was organised by Clipper Ventures at the historic dockyard to showcase the Clipper 70, the first of twelve yachts that will make up the world’s biggest matched fleet of large ocean racers.
Open boat tours held throughout the week allowed sailing enthusiasts and novices eager to learn more about the year-long adventure, an opportunity to see what lies in store for the crew competing in the Clipper 13-14 Race. During the week over 50 additional amateur sailors signed up to take part in the Clipper 13-14 Race, and will join the 560 crew already signed up to be the first to compete using the new fleet of Clipper 70s.
“The week has been an unprecedented success and St Katharine Docks has provided the perfect platform for us to showcase the first Clipper 70, the first from our fleet of 12 matched ocean racers which will compete in the Clipper 13-14 Race,” said Sir Robin.
“It has been a long time in the planning, but seeing everyone’s reaction to the yacht for the first time was extremely satisfying. My original vision was to allow ordinary people the opportunity to achieve something extraordinary and sail around the world. The introduction of the Clipper 70 means even more people will have the chance to take on the challenge and achieve something remarkable,” he added.
Clipper Ventures also used the event to make some important sponsorship announcements.
Following on from the successful partnership in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, it was also announced that De Lage Landen, a subsidiary of Rabobank, would be continuing the relationship, sponsoring a yacht entry in the 2013-14 edition of the world’s longest yacht race to help unite their 5,400 members (employees) worldwide.
It was also revealed that the ninth edition of the world’s longest ocean race would visit Cozumel, Mexico, in 2014. A popular location situated off the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula famous for its scuba diving and snorkelling allowing an exotic respite for the 40,000-mile round the world journey.