The Clipper Connect Business Series was established to act as a catalyst for conversation and collaboration. By connecting diverse Race Crew, Race Partners and other leading businesses and government bodies, the events aim to inspire courageous leadership and build a global community of like-minded people.

The first event in the Clipper Connect Business Series for the 2019-20 edition took place on Thursday 29th August at St. Katharine Docks, just a few days before the fleet’s departure for its 40,000nm race around the world. It was centred on a theme of Global Connectivity, something that is relevant to all our Race Partners, business, the race itself and life in general. The event was a great success, engaging our Race Partners and other guests in a couple of networking sessions either side of a considered and thought-provoking panel discussion that covered many aspects of Global Connectivity. The panel was well represented by the Clipper Race and its Race Partners, with representatives from AST, Unicef, Clipper Ventures and Clipper Race Crew all participating.

Chris Schonhut, Broadband Maritime Sales Manager, EMEA, AST, discussed why AST are involved in the race and how it connects to AST’s every day business. Chris also touched upon the importance of the AST hardware and software that the fleet will use from a safety perspective, as well as the importance it plays in communicating with home and a storytelling perspective for Race Partners. Global Connectivity and AST’s Satellite Communications functionality also provided a good opportunity to discuss how technology has evolved and improved connectivity capability since Sir Robin completed his solo circumnavigation of the globe 50 years ago.

Daniel Walden, Senior Programme Specialist, Unicef, talked about how Unicef utilise connectivity to facilitate emergency response work and how mass communication and wrong information spread can cause complications in the case of an emergency. Dan also discussed whether advances in technology have created a greater digital divide with some people unable to access vital information or services that have moved to digital platforms.

Karla Graves, Head of Communications, Clipper Ventures, looked at Global Connectivity from storytelling perspective for the Clipper Race and how the emotion of the race is conveyed to its audience. Karla discussed how diverse the race’s audience is and the challenges that presents from a communications perspective to find a common voice that resonates. The future of storytelling for the race and technology that will enable that process was also on Karla’s agenda.

Finally, Andrew Cowen, Managing Director of Blue Spark Strategy and GoToBermuda Race Crew, provided unique insight as a participant in the race on the importance of being able to use connectivity when at sea to be able to communicate with home. Andrew also discussed the challenges of connection, and lack of connection, between himself and his fellow crew members, as well as how important it is to have engaged sponsor such as GoToBermuda can be beneficial to the team.

The next event in the Clipper Connect Business Series is scheduled to take place at the Marina de Portimão on 12th September, focussing on the theme of Nautical Tourism.


The Partner Forum was established to bring together the Clipper Race Partner base in an informal environment to allow the Clipper Race and its Partners to engage ahead of the Race Start. The purpose of the forum is to explain how partners can leverage their partnership package, generate ideas for creative activation, understand effective ways of working, outline campaign objectives and provide an opportunity for collaboration identification.

The 2019-20 edition sees the largest partner database in Clipper Race history, enabling further networking opportunities on a global scale for all Clipper Race Partners. Laura Ayres, Head of Partnerships, talked through various case studies of previous race editions, and drew upon representatives from Dell, Marlow Ropes, Visit Sanya and Derry~Londonderry to talk about their involvement in the race and previous activations that worked well for them in prior race editions in the hope to inspire and educate new stakeholders.

The event concluded with a media and communications session which explored storytelling through the race and the authentic voices of our crew, what digital content can be captured and utilised from the yachts. Finally, the group talked through evaluating campaigns and how to harness the brand and media monitoring insights service provided by SMG YouGov to support their partnerships.