Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Great Britain to be flagship

2013 Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race.
Julia Wall-Clarke
On 1st September 2013, the ninth edition of the unique Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which will depart from Tower Bridge in London ,will feature a UK team aboard a Great Britain livery yacht in an innovative global campaign partnership between the race organisers, UK Government and British brands.

The large 70 foot state-of-the-art ocean racing yacht will be launched in land locked Trafalgar Square by Sports Minister Hugh Robertson on Wednesday 31 July.

GreatBritain Team Partners from the private sector will engage with a comprehensive set of branding and activation opportunities alongside an exceptional human adventure with crew of all ages and from all walks of life: ‘ordinary’ people doing something extraordinary, participating to take on the challenge of ocean racing to achieve something remarkable.

As the centre of the British business capital, London’s Trafalgar Square provides a fitting setting to showcase the Great Britain yacht. Positioned in front of the iconic National Gallery, on the North Terrace, the yacht will remain under the watchful gaze of Lord Nelson, Britain’s greatest ever sailor, from 31 July to 4th August where it can be viewed by the public.

Clipper Race chairman and founder, the legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in 1968-9, launched the biennial race for amateur sailors 17 years ago; the unique global event has also grown into a successful platform to promote trade and tourism along the way. The event attracts large global media audiences with a cumulative reach in excess of two billion people in more than 200 countries. (Source: Kantar Media Precis)

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Sir Robin said: 'The is a unique project and I am very proud that the Clipper Race can provide a powerful platform to promote Great Britain trade and tourism to a global audience. We look forward to working with Great British brand partners and the UK Government, through the Prime Minister’s office, to deliver a highly effective international marketing campaign.'

The project is bringing together a cross-section of partners from the private sector to sponsor the Great Britain yacht over the next 16 months and participate in an international campaign that will link up with UK trade and tourism global marketing initiatives. The first partners will be unveiled at the launch.

The project has been endorsed by the Sports and Tourism Minister, the Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, who will join Sir Robin to name the yacht in Trafalgar Square. He stated: 'For 17 years the Clipper Race has played a leading role in promoting British sailing and is now a core asset for British business internationally. We have experienced a truly memorable 2012, and it is organisations like this that will continue to push our sporting prowess.

'This is a unique opportunity, bringing together our sporting legacy with some of the strongest and most vibrant British brands. I look forward to the Great Britain yacht launch in Trafalgar Square.'

London born professional skipper Simon Talbot (44) will lead an amateur crew that has been trained in preparation for the 40,000 mile race which will take 11 months to visit 15 ports on six continents over the eight leg series in a matched fleet of twelve 70 foot ocean racing yachts. He will take a break from training with his team to view their yacht in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 3rd August.

Skipper Talbot visited Downing Street to be briefed by Great Britain campaign officials. He said: 'This is a very proud moment for me to learn I will be representing my country as skipper of the Great Britain team in the Clipper Race. The crew are very excited to hear the news. We look forward to meeting our brand partners over the coming weeks and flying the flag for the UK around the world.'

Inspired by the books of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Peter Blake, Simon has always found himself close to if not on the water. After pottering around in boats from around age five, he started more formal lessons whilst attending Watford Grammar School for Boys at around age twelve.

'In ocean racing terms, the Clipper Race is the ultimate one design race and it is the only race which is sailed by Corinthian sailors,' explained Talbot. 'The task of keeping a large group of people working together as a happy, well motivated team, in a confined and potentially stressful environment for an extended period of time will be a challenge unique in my experience, but it has the potential to be extremely rewarding.'

Great Britain will sail back into the capital with the rest of the 12-strong Clipper Race fleet over the August Bank Holiday weekend to spend a week in St Katharine Docks, central London’s only marina, prior to departing from Tower Bridge on the Thames on Sunday 1st September on its 40,000 mile race around the world; the fleet will return to London almost 11 months later in July 2014.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race