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London to host world's longest ocean race

Clipper Race to start and finish in capital with fleet based in St Katharine Docks
Clipper Race Launch

London is to host the start and finish of the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, leaving the capital on 1 September 2013 and not returning until July 2014 after racing 40,000 miles visiting 14 ports on six continents in the world’s longest ocean race.

The announcement was made at St Katharine Docks in front of Tower Bridge by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Clipper Race founder and chairman, the legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Sir Robin became the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69 and established the Clipper Race in 1996 to offer amateurs from all walks of life the opportunity to experience the thrill of ocean racing and a circumnavigation of the planet.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“Playing host to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will once again see London showcasing why it is the best big city on earth in which to hold major sporting events. It’s a fantastic honour for the capital to mark the beginning and end of this feat of human endeavour, which will not only provide an awesome spectacle for hordes of sailing fans, but also give a huge boost to the wider London economy.

“Those who take part are an inspiration to us all and exhibit the very best of the human spirit. As they battle through everything the elements can throw at them, I wish everyone on board these stunning vessels the very best of luck."

The event will see the debut of the third generation Clipper 70 ocean racing yacht. The twelve-strong matched fleet will be hosted in a race village at St Katharine Docks, central London’s only marina and the official Clipper Race start and finish port. The boats will begin and end their global journey in the Thames in front of Tower Bridge.

Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said:

“This will be the ninth edition of the biennial Clipper Race, a unique global event, and what better place to host the start and finish than London, in front of one of the best known landmarks in the world. This will be the first time the capital has hosted a global yacht race start and finish.

“We have a huge following and I’m proud that this will showcase London to our fans and partners around the world as well as making a significant economic impact in the local economy as crew, officials, sponsors and guests visit and stay in the area to participate in the event.

“Out of the 650 international crew participating in the race more than 80 live in the Greater London area, so it will be especially exciting for them. Our crew come from all walks of life, are aged from 18 into their early seventies, and over a third are women.”

Over 3000 people have participated in the Clipper Race over the last 17 years in what has become the world’s premier ocean race for non-professional and novice sailors. The new enlarged fleet has been commissioned in response to the growing demand for crew places and will serve the event through to 2020. The Clipper 70s will make a big impact in St Katharine Docks and on the Thames.

Ben Walford, Project Director, St Katharine Docks said:

“We are extremely proud to continue our historic relationship with the Clipper Race and to host this prestigious event.  Over the past twelve months, St Katharine Docks has been privileged to be involved in some of London’s most iconic public events, from the Olympics to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The Dock’s unique and stunning backdrop provides the perfect setting for the start and finish of the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race.”

The Clipper Race fleet is expected to start arriving at St Katharine Docks from 24th August.

London is GREAT Britain

The Clipper Race has been a partner of the GREAT Britain campaign supported by the Mayor’s promotional organisation London & Partners, flying the flag for UK trade, tourism, culture and sport last year, capitalising on the Diamond Jubilee, Royal Wedding and London 2012 Olympics, and helping to deliver legacy through a London start and finish and an international campaign in 2013-14. The race will showcase London and the UK to its international participants, host ports and partners. It forms part of London & Partners’ programme of world-class major events for the capital as a legacy from the Games.

The GREAT Britain campaign is the Government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

For the duration of the race, the organisers Clipper Ventures will be working with the FCO, Visit Britain and UKTI to deliver events promoting the UK and its business in all ports of call along its circumnavigation. The race will be promoting distinct areas of GREAT Britain: London as a unique city to host international events; Britain as a country to visit for Adventure tourism; Britain’s companies for exporting and investment opportunities.

Ends

Notes to Editors

For further information please visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com

About Clipper Ventures Plc

Clipper Ventures Plc was established in 1995 by legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.  Sir Robin founded the company on the premise that sailing should be made available to everyone, regardless of age or experience. So he launched the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 1996. The company owns and operates its own matched fleet of ocean racing yachts and so far more than 3,000 people have competed in the eight editions of the Clipper Race to date. The company also owns the rights to the professional solo round the world VELUX 5 OCEANS race and runs a successful events division offering corporate sailing and development programmes. Today Clipper Ventures is recognised as a leading international marine events company which is focused on developing and promoting major global events such as the Clipper Race.

Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race will start in summer 2013 and return almost a year later after completing the 40,000 miles route, making it the world’s longest ocean race. The event was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to discover the exhilaration of ocean racing. 650 people representing more than 40 nations will compete in the Clipper 13-14 Race on twelve brand new 70-foot yachts designed by renowned naval architect Tony Castro. It’s the largest race ever. Crew members can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs. The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 (there is no upper age limit) plus a thirst for adventure. The overall race is divided into individual stages and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total points at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

It’s 45 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston set off on his record breaking solo and non-stop circumnavigation on 14 June 1968. Now, as Executive Chairman and founding Director of Clipper Ventures Plc, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Sir Robin has been involved in sailing all his life and holds a Department of Transport Master’s Certificate. He set the record for the fastest circumnavigation with Sir Peter Blake. In 2007; he completed his second solo circumnavigation when he competed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race. Sir Robin has considerable experience of the administration of round the world races having served on the Whitbread Race committee from 1990 to 1994 and having organised the BOC Challenge Round the World Race in 1982 and 1986. He has been named RYA/YJA Yachtsman of the Year an unprecedented three times and participated in the 2010 Sydney-Hobart race.

About London & Partners

London & Partners is the official promotional organisation for London. Our company attracts and delivers value to business, students and visitors. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and a network of commercial partners.

Our remit is to drive leisure and business visitors as well as bidding to secure major events in London, to unlock the city for overseas businesses who want to set up or expand in London and to promote the capital’s world class universities to international students.

Our intention is to work in partnership with organisations in London and across the world to deliver our goal - that London be globally recognised as the best big city on earth.

For more information visit www.londonandpartners.com  

Contact

For media information or interview or image and video requests please contact:

Adriana Wright, PR Manager

UK mobile: +44 (0)7793 417751

Office: +44 (0)2392 526000

Email: awright@clipper-ventures.com