​A show-stopping Punta del Este stopover


Hosting the Clipper Race for the third time as a Host Port Partner, Punta del Este shone as a stopover destination on the race circuit. From the minute that the teams arrived, the true Uruguayan hospitality and energy was captivating. This electric atmosphere was only made greater by the fact that Nano Antia, hailing from the city, led his team Yacht Club Punta del Este to victory by winning the race into his hometown, marking an unbelievable start to the Yacht Club’s iconic 100th anniversary celebrations.

From tango shows to caviar tasting, business networking to engaging with local schools, the Punta del Este stopover featured a diverse programme of events for crew, locals, tourists and supporters to discover the region, engage with the community and make an impact.

Fleet Arrivals

The Yacht Club Punta del Este team received nothing short of a heroes’ welcome as they sailed across the line into their home port in first place. The marina was flooded with spectators, local officials, press and supporters from all over the globe, welcoming the team after a victorious race.

Congratulating the team on its win, Juan Etcheverrito, Commodore of Yacht Club Punta Del Este said “We couldn’t ask for more! What an entrance, a 100 years one! We are so happy; we are lost for words. VAMOS!”

Crew arriving into port after crossing an ocean could not have asked for a warmer welcome. Crowds of over 3,000 passionate supporters packed the marina to cheer the teams into port. Members of the Yacht Club Punta del Este were on the dock day and night to greet the teams with a well-earned welcome drink and plenty of local goods donated by the Yacht Club’s Team Supporters.

Celebrating success with a true fiesta

The Race 2: Hundred Years Cup Prizegiving was nothing short of a real fiesta. Following the intense first ocean crossing of the competition, the Yacht Club Punta del Este put on a brilliant event where the teams could celebrate this huge achievement. There were huge cheers and well-deserved celebrations as the podium teams took to the stage on stage, with additional awards such as the UNICEF Charity Champion and the inaugural Impact Prize recognising the incredible work that crew and Race Partners carry out.

To carry on the celebrations, all Leg 1 and 2 Race Crew and Clipper Race Officials were invited to a huge traditional Uruguayan barbecue, or ‘asado,’ in the picturesque grounds of MACA (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry) alongside members of the YCPE and kindly hosted by the Municipality of Maldonado.

Making waves in the local community

During the Clipper Race stopover in Punta del Este, over 1,900 people experienced a public and community yacht tour, with over 700 school children stepping on board a Clipper 70 as part of a comprehensive schools programme to see how the Race Crew live whilst racing around the world. The Race Village was buzzing with over 20,000 visitors to the fleet over the two weekends, of which approximately 25% were international and over half (52%) citing the Clipper Race being their primary reason for visiting the city.

Additionally, Race Crew got involved in working with local schools and community groups to clean up Playa Brava, where the plastic collected will be used by the YCPE Sailing School to make buoys.

On the same day, an Eco Kermesse– a fete with the theme of sustainability - was hosted by children from the YCPE sailing school and local area, in aid of the Clipper Race Charity Partner UNICEF. The fete featured a number of stalls and games created by the children over the past few weeks, which included a bake sale, games made out of recycled materials, raffles, sail doodling and upcycling of old Clipper Race sails into bags that were sold to raise funds for the charity, raising over $1,800 USD for UNICEF.

Clipper Race crew inspire local school children

A number of crew visited local schools to inspire the students with tales of their adventures. Alfie Butler, who raced on Leg 1 as a Team Archie bursary recipient on board Zhuhai, was one of the Race Crew who visited Woodside School. Back in the UK, Alfie teaches children from inner-city London to sail on the River Thames and is keen to inspire those that he teaches to dream big. Speaking about the visit to Woodside School he said: “It’s amazing to see! There were a few great questions. Hopefully the kids take away from today that they can do something like this too. There’s no reason why they can’t, they need to just go sailing! There will be lots of people willing to support them so they should go for it!”

India Leigh, Clipper Race Partnerships Manager, sums up the impact that a Clipper Race can have on a local community: “It’s been an amazing experience for both sides. The local children got to learn all about the race, what the crew have experienced, what their future could look like, and what they can aspire to do when they grow up. And the crew has had the opportunity to engage with the local community and share their stories.”

The YCPE’s efforts in hosting such a diverse programme of events during the Clipper Race stopover was rewarded at Prizegiving, as its programme brings so much to the local community and schools.

Exploring the region

A diverse programme of tourism events was created by the Yacht Club Punta del Este to give the Clipper Race crew a true flavour of the culture and surrounding areas. Activities included bus tours around the local area which visited key landmarks and sculptures, open water fishing trips, wine tasting and art gallery visits.

Building global connections

Clipper Race Partners and other key stakeholders from Uruguay spent an insightful evening at Yacht Club Punta del Este taking part in the second Clipper Connect Business Series event of the 2023-24edition, focusing on the changing role technology plays in yacht racing. In addition to this, there were several networking opportunities, including a talk from UNICEF Uruguay and corporate sailing days to experience being on the water on board a Clipper 70.

Daniel Sielecki, Vice Commodore of the Yacht Club Punta del Este said: “This is the third time that we have hosted the Clipper Race, and the event gets bigger each time. The YCPE is 100 years old, and we have always been involved in the community. Being a yacht club, sailing is our heritage, so when the Clipper Race comes, it shows the dream that we all have: who wouldn’t want to sail around the world!

“Putting our name on a global yacht race, we feel so proud to know that our club’s name is racing around the world, into different ports. We are a small town at the end of the world! It means a lot that people who don’t know a lot about Punta del Este then want to discover it.”

Laura Ayres, Managing Director of Clipper Ventures added: “This stopover has offered our Race Crew, Supporters and Race Partners a fantastic and diverse experience. It’s amazing to see such a longstanding legacy between Punta del Este and the Clipper Race. This partnership is one of the most successful in our history, and we hope that it will continue to grow long into the future.”