07 March 2018

Ever since Sanya was announced as a brand new Chinese Host Port for the Clipper 2017-18 Race route in February 2017, there has been great intrigue and anticipation around the debut stopover in the emerging tropical resort which is often dubbed the ‘Oriental Hawaii’, and not just from those competing in the race.

Audience figures just in from the first ever full fleet in-port race, which took place on 1 March in the bay of Sanya, showed that there was huge interest in the race across China as an incredible 567,646 people tuned in live across the region to watch it as it was broadcasted across nineteen online channels.

Commenting on the results, Clipper Race CEO William Ward said: “This was the first time we’ve ever organised an in-port fleet race so to have over half a million people tune in live to watch it is just phenomenal. Interest in sailing in China has grown steadily over the last twelve years we have been going there. With the addition of a Sanya Serenity Coast Team Entry and Host Port, we also now have doubled our Chinese race crew in this edition which certainly helps generate interest.”

IMAGE: Liverpool 2018 taking part in the in-port race

Viewers got to see their home team, Sanya Serenity Coast compete and watched Liverpool 2018 take victory, followed by PSP Logistics, second, and Nasdaq claiming third place.

William adds: “The city of Sanya pulled out all the stops to put on a memorable experience from start to finish throughout the stopover. A relatively unknown destination previously for many of our team, I’ve certainly been very impressed and we’ve had really positive feedback from our crew too about their experience. I can see Sanya becoming a huge draw to future crew members.”

IMAGE: Sanya put on a fantastic show for the Clipper Race crew during Prizegiving

39 Chinese crew members, including city ambassadors on board each leg for both the Qingdao and the Sanya Serenity Coast teams, are taking part in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, making China the fourth highest represented nationality of race crew.

Sanya is China’s top national holiday destination but is now aiming to make its mark in the $7.1 trillion global travel and tourism industry, so hosted a wide range of events to show off what makes it so popular.

Going all out to ensure that the race’s international crew, who represented more than 20 different nationalities and many who had never visited China before, departed with plenty of great memories, Sanya Organising Committee and Visit Sanya also laid on numerous sightseeing days and cultural experiences including visits to key landmarks, the Li Village and Chinese Cooking Classes.

IMAGE: A Chinese Cooking Class inspiring the Clipper Race fleet

A city that boasts a mix of traditions and modern Chinese culture, and contrasting urban and rural areas with the biggest drawcard of all being its idyllic palm fringed picture perfect sandy beaches, it was the only Chinese destination chosen as one of the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go In 2017, and it didn’t take long for crew to get why.

For Leg 5 and 6 Liverpool 2018 crew member Charles De Coquet, a 53-year-old Management Consultant originally from Bordeaux, France, and living in the Atlanta, USA, it was a first-time visit to China. He said: “Sanya is amazing, there is so much I did not know about so it has been very interesting to meet local people, experience the culture. I will certainly be taking fond memories back home with me and will be recommending Sanya to friends and family. The local government has done lots to promote and develop the local region and I think it is definitely a place to come and experience again.”

IMAGE: The Clipper Race crew posing for the cameras

As the stopover came to its conclusion with an impressive departure ceremony, First Deputy Mayor Xu, took the chance to wish the crews well as they complete the remaining races of the circuit. She said: “I hope that everyone leaves with very warm memories of the Sanya Stopover. Best wishes for all of the crews, and the Sanya Government looks forward to welcoming the Clipper Race back to Sanya in the future.”

The Clipper Race will return to the forever tropical paradise of Sanya for the second consecutive edition in two years’ time during its twelfth edition. Already promising to be bigger and better, it will be a real highlight of the race route.

IMAGE: The incredible Guanyin of Nanshan statue and the departing Clipper Race fleet

Race 8 of the 13-stage Clipper Race departed Sanya on 4 March and the fleet is currently racing to Qingdao, in the north of China. The race’s longest standing Team Partner and Host Port, Qingdao is currently featuring in its seventh consecutive race edition.

Want to discover Sanya for yourself? Applications for the 2019-20 edition of the Race are now open.

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