Meet the Clipper Race Officials: Sean Liu

20 March 2024

With the Clipper Race fleet docking in two stops in China, Zhuhai and Qingdao, what better time to introduce Clipper Race’s Liaison in China, Sean Liu. Sean has been a member of the Clipper Race Office for more than twelve years, spanning five race editions, and plays a key role in the Communications, Partnerships and Logistics teams supporting on our relationships in China and the delivery of stopovers.

Tell us about your role with the Clipper Race

My role is to be the day-to-day representative of the Clipper Race, based in Qingdao, China. Part of my job is to help look after our Chinese partners. I also help our Partnerships Team in establishing relationships in China, and help the Communications Team generate more media exposure here and around the world.

What do you love most about the Clipper Race?

The Clipper Race started it all for me in terms of making a career in the sailing industry. I still remember when twelve years ago I got the privilege of working for the Clipper Race as a translator, assisting my UK colleagues in Qingdao whilst looking after the boat build of the Clipper 70s which launched in 2013. These yachts have since sailed around the world four consecutive times and the fleet is now on its fifth loop. Over the years, I have been given opportunities to work on more aspects of the race, such as Partnerships, Communications, Logistics and delivering stopovers, which I have always enjoyed very much.

I also enjoy the travel to other places in and outside of China, but becoming a part of this amazing global adventure, shared by people from all over the world is the bit that excites me the most.

Image: Sean Liu

What’s the best thing about the Clipper Race coming to China?

I’m based in Qingdao. This city is the longest Host Port and Team Partner of the Clipper Race, which is why I think people are so excited about the Clipper Race coming back here. I often hear our partners in Qingdao commenting that the Clipper Race is part of the success story of Qingdao, and vice versa! Qingdao has a longstanding legacy with the Clipper Race since its debut year of partnership in 2005, where Qingdao used the event as a key proponent of its drive to host the Beijing Olympic sailing events in 2008. It makes me feel very proud as this was also a key objective for Qingdao - to put the city on the map as the leading location in China and Asia for international sailing competitions, and the city has proudly hosted a wealth of global sailing events.

The partnership success of Qingdao is inspiring, and more Chinese cities have followed. Sanya joined the Clipper Race family and made history by winning the overall race during their debut show in Clipper 2017-18 Race, and then Zhuhai, a high-end and vibrant city, has joined us for a second time as a Team and Host Port partner.

A key feature of the partnerships with Chinese cities is the Ambassador Programme that has developed the skills of over a hundred Chinese sailors, many of whom have gone on to sail professionally or work in the sailing industry. So, there’s already a robust and solid Clipper Race oriented sailing community based in China.

What’s the welcome going to be like for Clipper Race crew?

Well, it was the first time the Clipper Race fleet sailed into Zhuhai, which was an amazing stopover! Although for the Qingdao stopover, I can say that the welcome ceremony for crew arriving is going to be a blast. It’ll be filled with a lot of joy, and cultural performances with drummers and dancers. There will be some surprises, gifts, and the stopover will be filled with a lot of cultural activities that the crew can experience.

Image: The infamous Qingdao welcome for the Clipper Race fleet

If you were to sail on the Clipper Race, which leg would you choose?

I think I’d be keen to try the Roaring Forties (Leg 3) or the North Pacific (Leg 6) because they are the longest and most exciting, challenging legs, with cold temperatures and various conditions to experience. I believe that’s a true demonstration of what ocean racing is all about.

What are the best things to eat and drink in Qingdao?

I’ve been living in Qingdao for nearly 20 years, so I’ve found a lot of good places to eat. First, Qingdao is famous for seafood, namely seafood dumplings. Plus, there are a number of bars in the city, both traditional Chinese and Western style. There are too many great places to tell you about!

What are the best things to do in Qingdao?

There are a lot of maritime activities. There are museums, fun parks, tourist attractions such as Zhan Qiao Pier, Zhongshan Pedestrian Street, the old downtown area of the city with a bit of western elements and features, also the amazing light shows on sides of the skyscrapers along the coast of the new downtown area near the Olympic Sailing Center Marina, where our Clipper 70 fleet will be berthed, and so much to do with friends and families.

Favourite moment of working on the Clipper Race?

Apart from the time spent on Qingdao stopovers, the best memories of my job are definitely the Clipper Race Start and Race Finish in the UK with my colleagues. This is the fifth race edition I am working on so I’m looking forward to more unforgettable moments to come.

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