Marlow Ropes and AST use Fremantle as hub for Australian activity


Two Official Suppliers chose Fremantle to leverage their partnerships by engaging local clients through the Clipper Race platform. Marlow Ropes are the longest-standing supplier of the race to date, working collaboratively for 17 years, with this being the first year that their Blue Ocean Dockline (made from 100% recycled plastic) is in use on every Clipper Race yacht. In addition, AST are a new partner providing the satellite technology system used across all 11 yachts for communication between Race Crew, their families and Race Officials. Frédérique Gerard, Marketing Director for AST, explains: “What we are already getting from this partnership is global visibility of our capabilities to other organisations”. These Partner relationships go much further than just the product/service being supplied however, and the Fremantle stopover provided a great opportunity for AST and Marlow Ropes to showcase the wider scale of what they are involved in.

The Clipper Race allows AST to further promote their business in the maritime industry, confirming in the realest way possible that they truly can deliver effective communication in the most remote circumstances. During the Fremantle stopover, AST hosted a combination of partners, customers and employees at the Sailing Club for a networking event, comprising a presentation from their Australian Managing Director, Richard Coston, and a speech from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Frédérique discussed this static event as “A great opportunity to engage with our global offices around the world. It’s a unique chance to get our people together and meet with customers around a unique experience.” The inspiration behind the Clipper Race was briefly discussed by Sir Robin, with the ethos aligning to partners as well; Frédérique believes AST’s partnership with the race can “Show ordinary people that you can get out of your comfort zone and achieve extraordinary things” through the effective promotion their communication channels allow. Through the event, AST effectively demonstrated to their clients how their brand contributes to the positive outcome of the race.

In the latter part of the event, guests boarded Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam for a yacht tour and a chance to see the AST technology in place whilst chatting to the Skipper, AQP and Race Crew. Testimonials from those who use AST’s product so frequently, in such extreme conditions, were gathered by those who will inevitably value it. Guests were thankful for the experience and positive feedback was received on the attention given to the afternoon by Clipper Race representatives. Frédérique commented that, “It was good to hear the Skippers talk about what it [the AST technology] provides them with - the ability to communicate with shore for the safety aspect, the communication to loved ones from a crew perspective and of course for the media team to get all the images and storytelling that the Clipper Race offers.”

Later in the stopover, a sail day was arranged for one of Marlow Ropes’ key local distributors, a company selling their products for outdoor climbing/height safety purposes, with no presence in the marine industry. All guests therefore partook in the sail day event with no prior sailing experience. The Clipper Race is delighted to be giving more non-experienced sailors the chance to try their hand at the sport and simultaneously demonstrate the variable use of Marlow Ropes’ product. Guests enjoyed a morning out on the water onboard Imagine your Korea – with one of the crew members partaking being Marlow Ropes’ dedicated brand ambassador who keeps them in the loop of his circumnavigation journey – connecting their brand more personally to the race.

In line with this activation, Marlow Ropes formally named the race from Cape Town into Fremantle as the ‘Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride’ and provided branded trophies for the top-performing teams at the Prizegiving Ceremony, engaging their brand with Race Crew. Marlow Ropes’ Leisure Marine Sales Director, Paul Honess, commented that “In line with our brand mission to manufacture high performing rope solutions, we are excited to see which team performs to the max in its round the world challenge”. He also placed particular emphasis on the Southern Ocean being the ‘Everest of Oceans’, putting their product to the ultimate test and welcoming the challenge to promote how their rope prevails. Marlow Ropes also used the naming opportunity to run weekly social media competitions with Clipper Race themed prizes up for grabs, making Fremantle a more in-depth multi-channel marketing campaign that began before the boats even arrived into port.

These two partner stories highlight the benefits of offering either a sail, on-the-water event, or a static, off-the-water event, to a local audience. They proved to be an ideal way for both AST and Marlow Ropes to physically showcase their product/service, in action on the race, and the great feedback proves the value of these opportunities to all involved. Fremantle continues to provide a brilliantly varied stopover location that proves beneficial for partners from a commercial perspective, and Race Crew members for tourism alike.