BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT ON: SEATTLE
After completing the toughest stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race so far, Leg 6: The Mighty Pacific Leg, which included hurricane strength winds and Phenomenal sea states of over 14m in height, Qingdao came out on top to secure its first race win after some 5,600 nautical miles of racing across the North Pacific.
It was truly a race of extremes with the teams facing light wind patches at either end of the race course and second to seventh position came right down to the wire. Sanya Serenity Coast, led by Australian Skipper Wendy Tuck, navigated the light winds brilliantly to cross the finish line in second place to claim its fifth podium of the Clipper 2017-18 Race and maintain its lead in the overall standings. The team was followed by Unicef, which took its second podium so far.
Summarising the race, and praising each of the teams, Clipper Race Chairman and Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "Oceans do not distinguish between professional and non-professional seafarers. The conditions faced in this North Pacific leg would test the most experienced of sailors. They have seen nature in the raw and given themselves an experience that most people on this planet can only ever visualise.
“I am immensely proud, both of our Skippers and crew's outstanding seamanship skills, which kept everyone safe in the extreme conditions, and also that after almost a month of racing, the action came right down to the final miles. They can really call themselves sailors now.”
Seattle being a city proud of its local food and drink, each team was greeted on arrival with much welcomed cold beers from three local brewing companies: The Pike, Elysian and Fremonts, along with famous chowder from Ivars and sweet treats from Top Pot Donuts before a weeklong stopover timetable full of activities for crew, partners and supporters.
Pioneering environmental research enabled through race partnership
The Port of Seattle, a Team Supporter of the Visit Seattle yacht entry, has engaged in pioneering scientific research using the Visit Seattle yacht as the test bed.
With the environment being one of the Port of Seattle’s key focuses, the port has teamed up with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - an agency within the US Department of Commerce – as well as the University of Washington, Sunburst Sensors, Visit Seattle and the Clipper Race to raise public awareness of its Ocean Acidification Program, which studies changes in ocean chemistry in response to increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, associated with climate change.
In order to conduct the research, the Visit Seattle yacht has been fitted with a special sensor for monitoring the effects of ocean acidification as the yacht makes its journey around the USA coastline from Seattle to New York via the Panama Canal. This Sunburst Sensor, the recent winner of a $2 million XPRIZE ocean health award will monitor ocean acidification during the 6,000nm US Coast-to-Coast leg of the race.
Port of Seattle Commissioner, Fred Felleman, has spoken about the importance of monitoring the waters around the North American coast, saying: “Pacific Northwest waters are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification - impacting numerous species of ecological and economic importance, from plankton to pollock, oysters to orcas.”
Dr Richard Feely, Senior Scientist from NOAA, explains: “Ocean acidification is occurring because our ocean is absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, leading to lower pH in the surface and subsurface waters. This is causing fundamental change in the chemistry of the ocean from pole to pole. It poses a threat for the oceans and the marine organisms that live within it; from the smallest, single celled algae to the largest whales.”
Not only does ocean acidification endanger ocean and marine life, the wider affect is the interference of a global seafood ecosystem which provides the primary protein source for two billion people around the world and is an industry which generates billions of dollars for businesses around the US Coast.
Readings will be taken every 30mins through the Sunburst Sensor, which will enable researchers to access unique data around the ocean acidity levels in the water surrounding the USA coastline and holds great hope for the future of addressing environmental change in the USA and further afield.
British Ambassador to the USA uses the race to promote UK business opportunities
Clipper Race Team Partners GREAT Britain and Liverpool 2018 put their sporting rivalry aside and joined forces, at an event held on Seattle’s iconic waterfront. The evening, hosted by British Ambassador to the USA, Sir Kim Darroch, and International Business Festival Director Ian McCarthy, brought together senior executives from State of Washington based companies to celebrate and showcase what the UK has to offer in trade and business.
Sir Kim opened the event to attendees from many different business sectors, saying: “Two of the partners to the Clipper Race are the GREAT Britain Campaign and Liverpool 2018. Their involvement provides a huge opportunity to promote the UK as a place to visit, study and do business.
“The UK has a huge amount to offer, including some of the very best universities, ground-breaking research and cutting-edge tech start-ups. We are global leaders in creative industries such as music, fashion and design. These underpin much of the exceptional trade relationship between the UK and the USA, which is worth $200bn annually in two-way trade and generates one million jobs on each side of the Atlantic.
“Seattle is one of the centres of UK/USA trade. In this city, we have nearly 200 UK companies that provide almost 20,000 jobs in the State of Washington and the UK is its largest export destination, making over $5bn in goods and services.”
The reception was part of a special programme of events ahead of the International Business Festival, which is one of Liverpool 2018’s programme of events and is also supported by the GREAT Britain campaign.
Other highlights included a sailing experience on board one of the Clipper Race’s 70-foot purpose-built ocean racing yachts, hosted by Sir Kim with guests from Boeing and Amazon, along with Chef and Astronaut Neil Patrick.
On the sail day, Sir Kim said: “It is a heaven-sent, informal opportunity to bond with prospects and understand just what they are doing, and in this case not only bond with them, but explain to them just what the UK can offer for them as businesses, and just what we in the US network can do to help. It has been fantastic. I would quite like to do it every day for a week!”
The UK Government Office in Seattle also hosted a Round Table business discussion on the Life Science sector, led by Leg 7 crew member John McClennan, Vice Consul, Trade and Investment Officer, Boston and USA sector lead for the Pharmaceutical and Biotech market sectors. This was followed by an interactive tour of the GREAT Britain yacht, which John is racing on.
Liverpool International Business Festival Director, Ian McCarthy, encouraged Seattle based businesses to attend this year’s event. He said: “Liverpool hosts the International Business Festival on behalf of the UK in June this year. It will provide businesses with inspiration, information and a place for benchmarking their companies with the best in the world. But it is also a place for money-can’t-buy connections to stimulate creativity across creative, life science and tech sectors.”
Clipper Connect Business Series: An insight into Women as Leaders
The seventh event in the Clipper Connect Business Series was a collaboration between the Clipper Race and the Seattle Sports Commission, centred around the theme of Women in Leadership. Nikki Henderson, Visit Seattle skipper was the impetus of the event and was joined with an impressive panel from the international world of business and sport to provide a thought-provoking insight into women as leaders.
The event opened with the opportunity for guests to network, before being seated to listen to the panel discussion hosted by Kevin Ticen, Director Marketing and Communications at the Seattle Sports Commission.
Nikki Henderson, Visit Seattle skipper was joined on the panel by Kati Quigley, Senior Director, Partner Community Marketing at Microsoft, Carrianne Smith, Area Director, Sales WA, OR and UT at the Marriott International and Dirk van Daele, Chairman of Fyber, Board Member of Track Group and Founder of Dare To Lead.
The panel discussion kicked off with an introduction from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Clipper Race who provided a unique insight into the Clipper Race and Visit Seattle as a Host Port and Team Partner. From here the focus shifted onto the panel speakers who were asked a number of questions relating to their experience as leaders in their field. Nikki Henderson, Visit Seattle skipper provided a humble insight into how at the age of just 24 she skippers a crew of approx. 20 people around the world. She reflected on how gender, age, nationality and culture do not have an impact into successfully leading a crew around the world and that it’s okay to make mistakes as they only make you stronger.
Kati Quigley, Microsoft and Carrianne Smith, Marriott International provided thought provoking insight around key learnings which they have recognised through being leaders within globally recognised brands. Carrianne Smith also paralleled key leadership qualities she has developed from her experience in the business world and in the sporting arena. Both speakers wrapped up their panel talks by providing rational advice to future leaders, as well as key references such as reading material for others to learn from.
Having a male voice speak on the panel around women’s leadership completed the panel. Dirk van Daele is a recognised business leader within the financial sector and more recently has used that expertise as a board member in the tech space. Dirk is also the Founder of Dare To Lead, an inspirational concept and CSR initiative enabling underprivileged youths to learn to sail, enabling them to develop leadership qualities which they can then take on and utilise in all aspects of their lives. Dirk championed the ambassadors who, after taking part in the Dare To Lead programme and sailing on board a Clipper Race yacht, have used their new leadership skills to enable them to achieve remarkable things.
Ahead of the business networking event, key guests of Visit Seattle and the Seattle Sports Commission were invited out for an afternoon sailing on board three of the Clipper Race yachts. Seattle provided favourable sailing conditions which saw the likes of professional sports players, business leaders and media enjoy this unique experience brought to them in their home city.
Research and development focus for Official Suppliers
Clipper Race Official Suppliers made the most of Seattle’s thriving marine industry to utilise the partnership through product testing/feedback and corporate sail days.
Cordage Partner, Marlow Ropes toured a Clipper Race yacht with Fleet Rigger Greg North to evaluate how its product is performing after 6 legs and 30,000 nautical miles. They used this time to gather invaluable insight on product performance to aid research and development of its products.
Marlow Ropes and its Clipper Race Brand Ambassador, crew member Simon Dubois took the opportunity to invite key retailers to sail on a Clipper 70, showcasing how 15,620 metres of rope travels 40,000 nautical miles around the globe as part of one of the toughest endurance races in the world.
Leisure Marine Sales Director, Paul Honess explains “Marlow always activate in one of the US stopovers as we have a new office in the US and see the Clipper Race stopovers as a good opportunity to show off our products and endorse the fact that they can go around the world and handle the punishment this entails.
Seattle is perfect timing for us as by the time the yachts have got here they have been across the Atlantic, through the Southern Ocean, and crossed the Pacific and the ropes are still going strong.
It is also the ideal time to discuss with the maintenance team, Race Skippers and the Race Crew on board the current specification of ropes and come up with ideas for upgrading or changing the specs for the next edition of the race as soon as possible.”
Representatives of Official Navigation Software Supplier, TIMEZERO also took advantage of its time in Seattle to gather feedback and further train skippers and crew on how to maximise the performance of its product. Having spent time on board with Fleet Electrician Blake Street, West Coast Regional Sales Manager Daniel Joram joined Marlow Ropes in addressing skippers, inviting consultation, feedback and offering training to ensure that the fleet is maximising its product, helping them to race to their limits.
TIMEZERO engaged key retailers and suppliers by inviting them to join a sailing experience on the Liverpool 2018 team yacht. It provided an opportunity to demonstrate the TIMEZERO product in use and also four hours of captive time for relationship building.
Daniel said: “Working with the Skippers was a great opportunity to see firsthand how some the hardest working offshore Skippers in the world are using TIMEZERO to safely circumnavigate the globe and how they are using our Weather Routing Module to improve their position on the course. For those that were new to the Weather Routing Module and polar files, it was a great opportunity to offer up a few pointers enabling them take full advantage of TZ Professional.”
Hotels and media awareness driven in Seattle by HotelPlanner.com
With a strong presence in the US, HotelPlanner.com utilised its partnership with the Clipper Race to engage key customers and media outlets, with its key objective to raise awareness of the Clipper Race partnership, as well as driving brand association with their existing customers.
HotelPlanner.com utilised its partnership to activate in a number of different ways, which started by securing three live media spots on local channel Seattle FOX Q13. HotelPlanner.com COO Bruce Rosenberg was interviewed with a backdrop of the Clipper Race fleet at Bell Harbor Marina, followed by an interview with HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison on the race to date and the team’s 4 th place achievement into Seattle. HotelPlanner.com generated local media exposure securing approx. 150k views through the morning broadcast. In addition, the Seattle Times' Christine Willemson wrote a story on the Clipper Race in Seattle which rated as one of the top stories of the day with an estimated viewership of 40-70k.
Following the live broadcasts from Bell Harbor Marina, HotelPlanner.com invited 12 guests for a morning sail experience. Guests consisted of HotelPlanner.com partners IHG, Choice Hotel brand, Hilton, Red Lion Corp, The Washington Athletic Club and Expedia as well as Splash and Amazon. Guests enjoyed a unique opportunity to sail in Seattle harbour on a Clipper 70 racing yacht with HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison and the crew.
Following the morning sail, the HotelPlanner.com yacht was opened up for private tours to business guests. HotelPlanner.com sent out invites to its key customer database providing the opportunity to tour a Clipper 70 and meet the crew on board.
All guests of HotelPlanner.com including media, HotelPlanner.com business partners and Race Crew were then invited for a reception at the Edgewater Hotel where guests had the opportunity to interact with each other and relax in a beautiful setting overlooking Elliott Bay.
Bruce Rosenburg, COO at HotelPlanner.com said “Being able to host key customers on a morning sail on board the HotelPlanner.com yacht was a unique experience that we saw real value in. The local media market we engaged also took great interest in the Clipper Race due to its visual and adventurous ethos. Due to the HotelPlanner.com yacht having clear branding and the nature of HotelPlanner.com being a travel-associated company, we were able to merge our talking points and brand with the Clipper Race really well. Having access to film on and around the boat and with our skipper allowed us to offer local TV stations a very unique segment for their viewers.”
PSP Logistics strengthens relationships in key market
Seattle was an important stopover for Team Partner PSP Logistics, which uses the race to build its profile on a global platform. With many key clients and customers calling Seattle home, PSP Logistics used the race’s second consecutive visit to the Emerald City to build on existing relationships.
During the stopover, PSP Logistics, along with its local freight agent Sprint Forwarders, hosted a number of key clients for a sail day in Seattle’s Elliot Bay. PSP Logistics targeted businesses that ship goods and products internationally, this included representatives from regional businesses such as Boeing, Water Line Boats, Nippon Paper, Aquacare, Sunset, and owners from Seattle based Sumerian Brewery.
Shaun Parsons, PSP Logistics Director, said: “It was a fabulous day. The sun was shining and everyone embraced the opportunity to get stuck into the grinding of winches and hauling of sails on board our Clipper 70. It was a memorable experience allowing us to have dedicated time with each business prospect to further develop and nature relationships.”
Whilst in Seattle, Shaun Parsons and Alex Dixie, PSP Logistics Director, had three days of meetings with clients in the region and also attended two networking events organised by the Clipper Race, one being a reception hosted by British Ambassador to the USA Sir Kim Darroch which provided another opportunity to network within this key market.