A spectacularly close finish to the longest ever leg of the Clipper Race from Liverpool, UK, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, saw nine of the twelve Clipper Race teams complete the 6,400 nautical mile race within almost 22 hours.

After 33 days racing, Sanya Serenity Coast, PSP Logistics, GREAT Britain, Qingdao, Dare To Lead,, Garmin, Liverpool 2018 and Unicef arrived in very close succession between 16:46 UTC on Thursday 21 September and 13:55UTC on Friday 22 September with Visit Seattle arriving at 00:57UTC on Saturday 23 September.

Greenings crossed the finish line at 18:03UTC on Saturday 23 September, claiming first place overall after the 58 hr 44 min 51 sec redress was applied for the diversion to Porto, Portugal, following the medevac of Skipper David Hartshorn. Twelfth placed Nasdaq completed the Leg 1 arrivals, on Monday morning, crossing the line at 07:39 UTC.

Welcoming teams throughout the day and night was Juan Etcheverrito, Commodore of Yacht Club Punta del Este, and Mayor of Maldonado, Enrique Antia.

Speaking during a press conference held at Yacht Club Punta del Este, to mark the fleet’s arrival, the Commodore said: “We feel incredibly proud to be hosting the Clipper Race for the first time, and we hope very much that you enjoy your experience here so much that you want to return in the future.”

Leg 1, the Atlantic Trade Winds Leg, was the first of thirteen races that makes up the Clipper Race. It was a race of many twists which made for intense competitiveness on the water and nail biting viewing from home.

With all twelve teams safely alongside in Punta del Este, with Nasdaq completing the arrivals, the Mayor officially opened the stopover experience by inviting Clipper Race crew, supporters and Skippers to an Asado, a typical Uruguayan BBQ, with a live Tango singer and orchestra, in the beautiful setting of the Foundation Pablo Atchugarry sculpture park. View the official Race Leaderboard, with Race 1 bonus points and GREAT Britain’s Joker Card applied.


Dubbed the St Tropez of South America, Punta del Este was formally announced as the newest South American port to make its debut on the Clipper Race earlier this year.

For Clipper Race CEO, William Ward, the decision to bring the 2017-18 edition to Punta del Este as a new South American Host Port was an easy one to make. He said: “It's absolutely a hidden jewel. The people here have been so incredibly warm and welcoming, and it’s fair to say our stopover here far exceeded all expectations.”

As soon as the teams arrived safely into port, attention turned to onshore activities with a host of cultural and tourist activities organised by the Host Port and local authorities. Over two days, crew members were treated to a full itinerary including traditional Uruguayan Asados (BBQs), fishing trips, a Punta del Este city tour and visits to local landmarks including a local vineyard, La Barra, Rambla Brava and the opportunity for a stunning sunset moment at top beauty spot, Casapueblo.

Visitor engagement remained high throughout the stopover. During an average weekend day, some 10,200 visitors came to the marina to see the new arrivals and some 3,151 people (not including eleven school groups) visited the teams over four open boat days, talking to crew members about life and experiences on board a Clipper 70 ocean racing yacht.

The Clipper Race sparked interest throughout South America and during the stopover. Some 72 people attended a crew recruitment event held at Yacht Club Punta del Este. Future crew member race enquiries were also strong, with 11 from Brazil, 19 from Argentina and 63 from Uruguay.

It wasn’t just the Clipper Race and crew that found the stopover to be such a positive experience. Demonstrating the mutual value of this new partnership, Uruguay’s Tourism Minister, Lilliam Kechichian, hailed the Clipper Race stopover a huge success, commenting: “The Clipper Race has been the biggest sailing event to ever visit Uruguay.

“Not only have the international crew members been a huge economic boost to the city in this traditionally quieter pre-summer season, but the event has also given Uruguay an incredible opportunity to demonstrate our fantastic hospitality, and also positioned us firmly on the map alongside top global destinations on the route, such as Cape Town, Sydney, New York and Liverpool, UK.”

Supporting Lilliam Kechichian’s thoughts on economic impact, early research suggests that some 319 visiting crew members (253 on board and 66 flying in for the crew changeover day) spent nearly US$500,000 during the stopover with an average stay of 10.07 days per person. Crew hotel occupancy was also high, with an estimated 3,030 bed nights over 9.5 days.


South America was not an existing market for UK based PSP Logistics however following the announcement that Punta del Este would debut as a Clipper Race Host Port the company took the decision to attend the stopover in order to explore potential business development opportunities in the region.

In preparation for his trip, Darron Strange, Finance Director, spent time researching and exploring key target businesses, and ended up meeting a number of South American agents and buyers based in Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

During the stopover Darron also hosted a static networking event on board the PSP Logistics team yacht in Punta del Este. The objectives of this event were to enable a number of local agents and buyers to network in a unique environment, developing South American relationships and business opportunities. The PSP Logistics team Skipper and a number of race crew were also on hand to share their race experiences, offering an exciting twist to everyday corporate networking events.

As a direct result of the networking event and business development trip for PSP Logistics’ relationship with Schandy has developed greatly and as a result of this they are now looking at future business opportunities together. Of the three companies that Darron met with, there is the potential £500K worth of new business to PSP Logistics. In addition to the networking event, Darron was able to invite all his new business contacts to a VIP reception as part of the race re-start, once again offering a unique corporate hospitality experience.


The UK will be forging and developing new trading relationships with the rest of the world beyond Brexit. The Clipper Race provides a unique platform for these relationships to be nurtured, and in Uruguay, International Trade Minister Mark Garnier arranged a trip to coincide with the Clipper Race’s arrival, where he hosted successful meetings with Uruguayan Ministers for Finance, Agriculture and Foreign Affairs.

During this trip, the GREAT Britain campaign hosted a series of three activations:

  • Use of the GREAT Britain yacht to provide a sailing experience for contacts from British companies operating in Uruguay, and afternoon sail with senior Uruguayan government authorities with the aim to build new future partnerships. Participants included representatives from JCB, PwC, HSBC and Deloitte.
  • To promote the UK’s global reach to a Uruguayan audience and help project the UK as a globally facing, enterprising and welcoming nation. GREAT Britain hosted an evening reception for 80 guests, including government authorities, business contacts and influencers, with the goal of reaffirming UK/Uruguay relationships, connecting investors with government ministers, and to thank local authorities for their support.
  • To provide support to British Council in its efforts to secure renewal of its contract with Plan Ceibal (Government Education Agency) for providing online English learning lessons for state primary schools, the GREAT Campaign organised an education focused day with public school children and government authorities, including the Education Minister and the President of Plan Ceibal, along with British Council Country Director.

Fifty Children had the chance to board the GREAT Britain yacht and hear about teamwork and the spirit of the race from the crew, providing a further opportunity to promote UK values on respect and diversity to an under privileged audience. A video of this activity can be seen here - video

With the yachts safely in port after the event’s longest ever single race, from Liverpool, the British government announced it was increasing UK Export Finance (UKEF) support for Uruguay from £2.25bn to £4bn.

UKEF, a department that works closely with the GREAT Britain campaign, supports British exporters, and overseas buyers sourcing from the UK, by guaranteeing loans or directly providing finance – often with long repayment terms – for projects in areas such as infrastructure. The British Embassy in Uruguay says it has helped finance the construction of bridges, airports, refineries, buses and hospitals.


Punta del Este, Uruguay, and Sanya, China, are both world class tourist destinations famous for its beaches and food as well as hosting a range of sailing events, however both destinations were little known to each-other.

To explore the opportunities in Uruguay, Sanya Municipal Government used the Clipper Race stopover as a reason for sending a delegation to develop relationships.

Utilising the Clipper Race business network during the delegations 7-day visit, the Sanya delegation:

  • Met the Intendencia of Maldonado [Mayor of the region] Enrique Antia, where discussions focused on how Sanya could become involved in the CHINA-LAC conference being hosted in Punta del Este later this year. CHINA-LAC Summit is a yearly event organised by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), that brings together five hundred companies from different sectors and industries in China, Latin America and the Caribbean, with the objective of strengthening business relations through commercial exchange.
  • Met Commodore Juan Etcheverrito, the visionary behind the success of Yacht Club Punta del Este. The Commodore travels all over the world to yacht clubs, building relationships and encouraging ‘twin’ status to develop sailing links. He also looks to develop sailing races – an objective both cities share.
  • Held a sailing experience for media outlets on board the Sanya Serenity Coast yacht. Outlets included participants from: national TV Channel 10, Channel 11, Channel 12, Punta Cable and national newspapers El Pais and Observador.
  • Hosted a traditional meal in celebration of China’s National Day, where they engaged crew members and encouraged them to learn more about the city and its culture. They also recorded various Clipper Race personalities saying “Happy National Day” in Chinese, creating a video which was use across social media and local TV channels achieving over 1 million views.


Think of Latin America, and Uruguay might not be the first country that springs to mind.

With a population of 3.3 million and a GDP of just under $55bn – roughly 10% of its larger neighbour, Argentina – it’s a relatively small market for trade. But as a stable country with strong institutions, Uruguay performs well on all major transparency and ease of doing business indexes.

Hosting the Clipper Race has opened up Uruguay to the global business platform that runs alongside the sailing race, and with international delegations from the UK and China descending on Punta del Este, it also provided a unique promotional opportunity.

As well as international guests, the city hosted events that drew national representatives , including LiliamKechichi, Uruguayan Minister for Tourism, and LarissaPerdomo, Country Brand Manager, Uruguay XXI, to engage with Clipper Race business partners and events.

The Clipper Race’s visit also enabled Uruguay to showcase itself as a world class tourism destination capable of hosting major sporting events, which impressed a delegation from the World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] that included Zurab Pololikashvili, who has just been appointed as Secretary General for 2018-2021.

With the media spotlight firmly on Punta del Este, the stopover achieved in excess of 120 media articles across local and national TV, Radio, print, and online, and also generated articles in Argentina, the UK, Australia, China, Canada, France, Russia and more.

Highlights included multiple news articles in the national Uruguay papers El Pais and Observador, including a business profile interview with Clipper Race CEO, William Ward; and a front cover profile on Sir Robin and the race in the country’s most popular weekly magazine; La Galeria, plus an online article in La Nacion, Argentina’s national paper.

Regular TV coverage appeared on Canal 4, 10, 12 and ESPN South America, with radio coverage in Radio Cera, Carve 850, Radio Nacional, Radio Montecarlo, Radio El Espectador, Oceano FM, Milenium 106.7FM.

There was also high media attendance for race arrivals, a specific Press Conference, and the race re-start. Attendees even included one of The Times’ correspondents in South America.

Final media figures are yet to be confirmed as we await full evaluations.