Race 8 saw the Clipper Race fleet once again prove that the race is never over until that finish line is crossed as anything is possible. PSP Logistics , which had led for eight successive days and were 25 nautical miles (nm) ahead of the chasing pack, succumbed to a wind hole just 30nm from the finish line, allowing Visit Seattle to sneak up on their eastern side to swoop in and take the race win into the new location of Wanda Marina, Qingdao.

Visit Seattle, led by 24-year-old British Skipper Nikki Henderson, crossed the finish line off the coast of Qingdao at 00:04:11 local time (16:04:11 UTC) to complete the 1,700 nautical mile race stage from Sanya, in 10 days, 9 hours, 34 minutes and 11 seconds.

After her team crossed the finish line, Nikki said: "This reflects the hard work and determination and grit displayed by everyone on this boat - naturally a lot of luck and whilst we do feel for PSP Logistics, we can’t hide our elation."

Arriving within 24 hours of each other, the eleven teams were greeted with a warm welcome from the Qingdao Organising Committee as they berthed into the brand new facility of Wanda Marina in Qingdao’s West Coast New Area.


The seventh consecutive Clipper Race stopover in Qingdao, China, will go down as one to remember with the Clipper Race fleet becoming the first to test out the impressive new Wanda Marina and Yacht Club on Starry Island in the West Coast New Area. Like the former stopover site of the Olympic Sailing Centre, this new location is set to become a key sailing venue which will develop sailing within the sailing city of Qingdao.

In true Qingdao style, the Organising Committee put on a spectacularly warm welcome for the arrival of the fleet as it docked in temperatures close to freezing. Each team was greeted by a cultural display of dancers and drummers as they paraded through the crowd of hundreds onto the arrival stage.

Following a formal welcome on stage, each of the Clipper Race Skippers were given traditional Chinese Brocade hats and capes, representing the Grace of Kings and good fortune, by Madam Zang AiMin, Executive Vice President of Qingdao Olympic Sailing City Development Association/Vice President of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organising Committee. Crew members were also presented with traditional hats and stuffed toy dogs to represent the new lunar year.

The impressive welcome ceremonies set the tone of the entire stopover, with the Qingdao Organising Committee giving Clipper Race Crew and Race Crew Supporters the chance to learn more about the new stopover location of West Coast New Area. In addition to a visit to the ShiMen Temple, there was the opportunity to take part in a host of local cultural experiences such as a local neighborhood and school visits to learn more about local culture, art and dance. There was also a visit to the ShiMen Temple.

In order to increase awareness of this new stopover location, which is set to become a hugely significant Chinese sailing hub, the organisers pulled out all of the stops with a strategic branding campaign which lined the route from Qingdao Airport to Wanda Marina.

Working closely with the Qingdao Organisng Committee, the Clipper Race developed an all-encompassing community engagement programme to help showcase the development of sailing in Qingdao and to support Qingdao’s status as a ’ sailing city’ through the partnership with the Clipper Race. This included a series of school and university visits to engage local children and young adults in the sport. During the visits, students were given private tours of the Clipper70 racing yachts by some of the intrepid Clipper Race crew members to find out what life is like on board.


The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, assisted by the GREAT Britain Campaign, China Yachting Association (CYA) and Royal Yachting Association (RYA), has committed to making China a world sailing force and strengthening the ties between China and the UK, following a meeting of sailing industry leaders in Qingdao.

Hosted by Clipper Race Team Partner GREAT Britain to coincide with the race’s seventh stopover in China’s Sailing City, the event, titled the UK-China Sailing Industry Cooperation Forum, was attended by Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world in 1968-69, Clipper Race Chief Executive Officer William Ward OBE, RYA Training Committee Member Clive Grant, President of the Chinese Yachting Association Zhang Xiaodong, Executive Vice President of Qingdao Olympic Sailing City Development Association and Vice President of the Qingdao Major International Sailing Events Organising Committee Madame Zang AiMin, Vice President of Chinese Yachting Association and President of Qingdao Sailing School Qu Chun, and Martyn Roper, DHM of the British Embassy Beijing.

In his opening remarks, Mr Roper said: “As a country with a proud sailing tradition and history, the UK is at the forefront of the sailing industry in services, manufacturing and events. The UK sailing industry, which has a turnover £420m per year and over 3,600 employees, is globally recognised and I believe there is great potential for the UK and China to work together to develop a sailing industry and to share policy and commercial expertise to take the sailing industry forward.”

After a speech from Madame Zang AiMin to set the scene on China’s existing sailing industry, Qu Chun from the CYA took to the stage and publicly outlined, for the first time in the organisation’s history, its goals and ambitions for the sport.

Through supporting youth engagement, and ensuring that sailing becomes more accessible, Mr Chun explained that it hopes to, with the help and expertise of bodies such as the Clipper Race and the RYA, become a world leading sailing development system, become a leading country in the sport at from junior through to Olympic levels, and to grow participation in sailing across the country.

The forum focused on four key themes of business, sailing as a sport, people, and the future. In his Keynote Address, Clipper Race CEO, William Ward OBE, discussed how sailing and marine industry knowledge and services are a key export of the UK, and how the Clipper Race can help China to achieve its goals.

Mr Ward said: “The Clipper Race works very closely with the RYA, and I am proud that its training is recognised by the body. In the UK, seven per cent of the population sail and if the Clipper Race could help to replicate that in China, there would be approximately 80 million people taking to the water.

“Harnessing this opportunity, the future of sailing between the UK and China for the Clipper Race is to use its expertise to create three Clipper Race training centres here in China, specifically for ocean racing, that are globally recognised and operated to the international standards of the existing bases in the UK and Australia. Thanks to the Clipper Race’s relationships with the Qingdao Organising Committee, I believe that we are well placed to achieve that in the near future.”

The foundation for the creation of Clipper Race Training centres in China is already being laid by the RYA. For the first time in its history, the RYA delivered its training syllabus in a language other than English, with the organisation recently running pilot schemes in Mandarin to better engage with the growth of China’s Sailing Industry.

RYA Training Committee Member Clive Grant said: “Now in China, the RYA has two centres, one of which is in in Beijing and it has another one in Shanghai ready to go. However, until two months ago, all RYA training was delivered in English.

“The introduction of Mandarin tuition was highly successful and will be crucial for China to be able to deliver and maintain RYA training under its own power.”

Although there is some way still to go, Clive explained that the next steps for the RYA was to run Mandarin Instructor Training Schemes to provide enough high quality, RYA qualified instructors in China to deliver training of all levels domestically before looking to grow the number of training centres in the country.

The Clipper Race has already trained over 80 Chinese crew members, the fourth best represented nationality in the current edition, to take part in the biggest round the world yacht race which takes eleven months to complete and spans some 40,000 nautical miles across six oceans.

The GREAT Britain Campaign is the UK Government’s most ambitious marketing initiative which showcases the very best of what the UK has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. For the GREAT Britain campaign, the Clipper 2017-18 Race will be about projecting Britain’s values, as much as opportunities for business.


World leading computer technology company and Clipper Race Fleet Supplier, Dell, leveraged its partnership during the stopover in Qingdao to drive awareness of its Latitude Rugged portfolio to its Asian market.

The Dell Latitude Rugged team in China hosted an experiential event which allowed them to showcase the Latitude Rugged capabilities to press from across the country in an engaging and extreme setting.

Dell Rugged Clipper Race Crew Ambassadors Samantha Harper [ Dare To Lead] and Marek Omilian [Visit Seattle], shared their experiences of using Dell Latitude Rugged products on board during the racing. Press also heard from Clipper Race Chairman and Founder, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who spoke about the benefits of having the Dell products on-board and how technology has evolved throughout the history of the race.

After the event, Dell took the opportunity to showcase the products on-board the Visit Seattle Clipper 70 racing yacht. Attendees had the opportunity to climb on-board to learn about life at an angle and how the super-strong laptops are put through their paces. The tour of the yacht was followed by an immersive sailing day, giving guests the opportunity to experience first-hand what it feels like to sail on board a Clipper70.

Alex Sun, Workstation and Rugged business general manager of Dell Greater China said: “Rugged is designed for extreme environments, which is in line with the sports spirit of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Every one of us can create miracles one after another if we dare to innovate and venture. We also hope that the Clipper Race will be become bigger and better and attract more people to participate.

“Dell is glad to cooperate with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and spread our brand spirit of ‘technology is about enabling human potential’ as Michael Dell said. Dell is cooperating with sports events in China and the world, hoping to make the world, sports and humankind better through our joint efforts.”


Vice Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Gary Millar, joined the Qingdao Clipper Race stopover as he spent an afternoon with the City’s Clipper Race Team Entry, Liverpool 2018, as he strengthens ties in the country as part of a visit that includes attendance to the Clipper Race partner GREAT Britain’s GREAT Festival of Innovation, held in Hong Kong from 21 to 24 March.

Councillor Gary Millar took the opportunity during his visit to Qingdao, which included meetings with key members of the Qingdao Municipal Government, to meet some of the Liverpool 2018 team members and Skipper Lance Shepherd. The team has been representing the city around the globe in Punta del Este, Uruguay; Cape Town, South Africa; Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart and the Whitsundays, Australia; and Sanya and Qingdao, China, since the fleet departed from Albert Dock on 20 August last year.

Speaking during his visit to the brand-new Clipper Race Stopover in Wanda Marina, Qingdao, Councillor Millar said: “Liverpool built its past and future on the blue economy and Qingdao, China’s Sailing City, is a fantastic place to host the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

“Qingdao is a great friend to Liverpool, it has a Liverpool Centre in the West Coast New Area, so we are already growing a blossoming relationship between the two cities.

“To have the opportunity to meet the skipper and crew of the Liverpool 2018 boat is great and the yacht, the ‘Pink Panther’ as it has affectionately been named, looks stunning and is a fantastic way to mark the tenth year from Liverpool being the European Capital of Culture.”

During the visit, Councillor Millar also attended Clipper Connect, a business networking group created to connect like-minded professionals from across the world. The Qingdao event looked into the development of waterfronts, a topic that is at the core of both Liverpool and Qingdao, and Councillor Millar addressed the 50-strong crowd alongside Clipper Race CEO William Ward OBE and Madame Zang AiMin, Executive Vice President of Qingdao Olympic Sailing City Development Association and Vice President of the Qingdao Major International Sailing Events Organising Committee, on the importance and key role of waterfront development in the city.

Councillor Millar also took the opportunity to meet with the team from the China-Britain Innovation Park, which is located within the Qingdao Economic & Technical Development Zone of the West Coast New Area which is home the Liverpool Showcase Exhibition. The Liverpool showcase is an opportunity for the business community of Qingdao to learn about Liverpool’s businesses and exports in order to drive the message of collaborative working between these two great maritime cities. He also visited the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong and prior to arriving in Qingdao, he supported the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson OBE, with his business visit to Surabaya, Indonesia.


As part of the Qingdao stopover, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, along with the Qingdao Organising Committee, hosted a Clipper Connect Business Series event which focused on the benefits of international waterfront development.

The subject of international waterfronts was a poignant one in Qingdao with the Clipper Race yachts berthing at the brand new Wanda Yacht Club in the West Coast New Area, testing the impressive facilities for the first time.

The event was hosted by Clipper Race Head of Partnerships Laura Ayres, who led the conversation of how successful international waterfronts can lead to economic and business growth in both the tourism and maritime sectors.

Attendees also heard from Clipper Race CEO, William Ward OBE, who discussed how the Clipper Race has supported and acted as a catalyst for the development of international waterfronts globally. Mr Ward promoted a number of successful case studies such as the development of the Foyle’s Marina in Derry Londonderry and the Keppel Bay Marina in Singapore.

Joining Mr Ward on the speakers panel we also heard from Mr Zhang Min from the Qingdao Organising Committee. He outlined how Qingdao’s waterfront has developed with the importance of the marine sector being key to the development of the cities economic development. He also discussed how the Clipper Race had supported the development of key waterfront locations such as the International Olympic Sailing Centre and also the Wanda Yacht Club and gave us a snap shot of what the future holds for other waterfront developments around Qingdao.

Closing the event, Vice Mayor of Liverpool, Councilor Gary Millar, shared with the audience Liverpool’s remarkable regeneration of its UNESCO waterfront. Councilor Millar discussed the development of the £7M cruise industry to the city, with the forthcoming expansion to the cities cruise terminal. He also outlined the plans for the Liverpool 2 super port which will increase the cities trade and export sectors before discussing Liverpool’s close relationship with Qingdao, explaining that the two cities are now working together to share best practice and develop business relations.

Councilor Millar closed his presentation to the audience with an outline of the forthcoming International Business Festival which takes place in June 2018. He is excited to host a delegation from Qingdao to the city of Liverpool as part of this and looks forward to hosting the team from the Qingdao Organising Committee for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race finish in July 2018.