A 12-strong Clipper 13-14 Round World Yacht Race fleet will compete in the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announced, which starts on 26 December 2013.
Having started the 40,000-mile Clipper Race on September first, from London, the 12 new Clipper 70 yachts will arrive in Sydney from Albany, Western Australia, on the fourth of its eight legs in the race.
In announcing the Clipper Race fleet is to take part in CYCA’s world-famous race, Commodore Howard Piggott commented: 'We are very pleased the Clipper Race fleet will be joining our race to Hobart this year. The Clipper 70’s and the crews that sail them will create great interest and dimension to our race.'
This will be a first Rolex Sydney Hobart for the Clipper Race fleet and its 12 matched Clipper 70 yachts, but not so for the race’s originator, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who competed in the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart aboard Titania of Cowes.
'The timing was perfect and the opportunity irresistible,' said Sir Robin, Clipper Race founder and chairman.
Knox-Johnston was the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1968-9, and started the biennial Clipper Race to offer amateurs from all walks of life the opportunity of experiencing the thrill of ocean racing and a circumnavigation of the planet.
'The Clipper Race sailors will have sailed halfway around the world to participate in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, one of the world's great classic ocean races. It will give these amateur crews a chance to test themselves against some tough opposition outside the Clipper Race,' he said.
Clipper 13-14 Fleet shoot, off of St. Katherines Point, Isle of Wight
Amongst the Clipper Race fleet will be a number of Australian crew members and two Australian skippers who have sailed the Rolex Sydney Hobart previously. Sydney-based Chris Hollis (33) has taken part twice. He said: 'I love racing and getting other people excited about it. I’m extremely passionate about it. I competed as a bowman in my first Hobart race, so to lead my crew on the new Clipper 70 will be phenomenal.'
Damian Parnham (48) is the other skipper, having sailed the Hobart aboard Brindabella, the 1991 Hobart line honours victor, in the past. 'I’m really looking forward to taking on the Sydney Hobart on a Clipper 70. While I don’t think winning at any cost is the focus, I hope to raise the team to a competitive level so we can have a good crack,' he said.
The 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Race is the ninth of the biennial global challenge and the Sydney-Hobart will be the sixth of the 16 race series that comprises the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The CYCA is predicting a fleet of approximately 80 yachts for the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart race on Boxing Day at one pm AEDT.
Clipper Round the World
Rolex Sydney Hobart