Qingdao signs two-race deal with the Clipper Race, marking historic 20-year partnership


Following Qingdao’s victory in the 2019-20 edition, the Chinese Sailing City is set to return as a Host Port and Team Partner for the next two editions of the Clipper Race.  

The Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau today signed two-race deal with the global sailing event, and on the same day concluded its Ambassador Race Crew Selection. The partnership was announced at a signing ceremony in Qingdao, Vice Mayor of Qingdao Municipal People's Government, Vice President of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organizing Committee Zhao Shengcun, Executive Vice President of Qingdao Olympic Sailing Development Association, Vice President of the Organizing Committee Zang Aimin, Secretary of CPC Party Committee of Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau Cai Quanji, Deputy Director General of Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau Tan Peng, Deputy Director General of Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau, Executive Secretary General of the Organizing Committee Liu Yu, Director of Qingdao Sports Development Centre (Qingdao Administration Centre of Sailing Sport), Executive Secretary General of the Organizing Committee Zhang Min, and Clipper Ventures Managing Director Laura Ayres were present at a special event to mark the occasion.Image: The Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau today signed a two-race deal with the Clipper Race.

 A key feature of the Qingdao partnership is its Ambassador Programme that has developed the skills of dozens of Chinese sailors, many of whom have gone on to sail professionally or work in the sailing industry. The first Chinese sailor to join the Clipper Race on board Qingdao in the 2005-06 edition was Guo Chuan, who went on to become the first Chinese person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 2013. In the Clipper 2013-14 Race, Qingdao Ambassador Vicky Song became the first Chinese woman to sail around the world. The Ambassador Selection for the 2023-24 race edition has concluded, with a strong performance from the candidates, and the successful applicants will be announced over the coming days.  

Qingdao will be a stopover port on Leg 6, the Mighty North Pacific leg, with the fleet scheduled to arrive in the city in March 2024. The Sailing City is a highly anticipated stopover, with the fleet visiting Qingdao during seven editions of the Clipper Race. On each of these stopovers, the spectacle in welcoming the Clipper Race fleet gets bigger and bigger. Teams can expect a warm welcoming ceremony- the first of many highlights. A coastal city located on the Shandong peninsula in Jiaozhou Bay, Qingdao is steeped in history and culture, and visitors have a wealth of opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, drinking and dining- Qingdao is not only famous for its Tsingtao beer, but for its abundance of fresh seafood, and there’s no better place to enjoy local cuisine than on the seafront.

Image: Qingdao during the 2017-18 edition stopover

Laura Ayres, Managing Director at Clipper Ventures said: “This two-race partnership takes us to the Clipper 2025-26 Race, marking a historic partnership spanning ten consecutive race editions across 20 years.  Qingdao is a partner that continues to maximise the opportunities for growth and development that the Clipper Race offers. 

“We have just concluded the Ambassador Selection for the upcoming race edition, where nine individuals will have the chance to become ocean racers, representing the Sailing City of Qingdao as they race around the world. Without a doubt, the calibre of candidates for this Ambassador role has increased race on race, which is testament to the success of the development and legacy of Qingdao as China’s sailing city, but also as a sporting centre of excellence. 

“We look forward to building on the success of the last race and bringing our event back to our friends in the city of Qingdao.” 

China’s Sailing City has a longstanding legacy with the Clipper Race since its debut year of partnership in 2005, where Qingdao used the event as a key proponent of its drive to host the Beijing Olympic sailing events in 2008. It was also a key objective for Qingdao to put the city on the map as the leading location in China and Asia for international sailing competitions, and the city has proudly hosted a wealth of global sailing events, such as the Ocean Race and ISAF Sailing World Cup. Not only has the Clipper Race encouraged extensive tourism to the region, but it has also provided a unique platform for businesses to connect, which in turn has boosted trade development and created a strong economic impact in the city and surrounding region. 

Zhao Shengcun, Vice Mayor of Qingdao Municipal People’s Government and Vice President of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organizing Committee at Qingdao Organising Committee said: “Congratulations on the signing of the partnership agreement between Qingdao and Clipper Ventures Plc for more editions of Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

“The renewal of the agreement between Qingdao and Clipper Ventures Plc marks that the two sides have embarked on a new journey of sincere cooperation. Since 2005, the two sides have become close and trusted partners achieving mutual benefits. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has witnessed the continuous development of sailing in China and made concrete contributions to Qingdao’s efforts in establishing the city as a Sailing City.

“The Qingdao yacht has sailed around the world, and weathered winds and waves to chase dreams, showing the world Qingdao’s charm as a vibrant ocean city and a liveable and lovable city. As the stopover city that has the longest partnership with the Clipper Race, Qingdao will continue to closely communicate and cooperate with Clipper Ventures Plc and leverage the race to build the Sailing City brand and boost the development of the sports industry in Qingdao. I wish the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race more success, and the two sides fruitful cooperation in the future!”

Image: The Qingdao yacht in the 2019-20 edition

The Clipper Race fleet will sail into Qingdao in March 2024 as part of the Mighty Pacific Leg. Following the stopover, the eleven teams will race from the Sailing City across the North Pacific Ocean to the USA.