Clipper Ventures, the UK-based international marine events company behind the famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - the longest around the planet at 40,000 miles, is to create a base in Sydney to launch an Australian division as the first stage of a global expansion plan.
Clipper Ventures CEO, William Ward, commented: 'Our first international division is a highly exciting development and will be a significant asset for Clipper Ventures. Our relationship with Australia and the Southern Hemisphere has strengthened steadily and we have major future growth plans for the region.'
'Clipper Ventures Australia will utilise its new training and recruitment facilities to double national crew recruitment in the 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Race and beyond; in addition it will identify and generate new sponsorship and business opportunities within Asia-Pacific.'
Australia is a key market for Clipper Ventures, with a strong competitive track record of Australian boats and skippers having won the last two Clipper Races.
It is the only global race to train amateur crew from all walks of life and Australians make up the second-highest crew contingent after Britons. The new base will mean two out of the three stages of Clipper Race training will be on offer in the country, removing the need to travel to the UK for courses. The whole Clipper 2013-14 Race fleet will debut in the classic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the end of the year.
The new division will be led by a team with extensive Clipper Race experience: Sydney-based Kirsty Whyte will lead as Managing Director – she’s a circumnavigator having crewed the winning entry in the Clipper 2009-10 Race. Kirsty holds a Masters in Business Administration and has worked in the Australian business and finance sector for the past 15 years.
Jim Dobie, a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, is currently Senior Training Skipper for Clipper Ventures in the UK and will take up the same role in Australia. He will lead crew training and development and participate in local sailing events with Piers Dudin, who skippered a UK entry in the Clipper 2009-10 Race. Jim previously lived in Sydney where he ran sailing schools prior to skippering Singapore in the Clipper 2009-10 Race. The team plan to recruit locally for further office support and sailing staff.
Managing Director for Clipper Ventures Australia, Kirsty Whyte said: 'I am very pleased to be opening Clipper Ventures’ first international office. Australia is a vast nation with a keen interest in sailing and water sports and I see many strong opportunities for the new division and the Clipper Race within Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.'
Two Clipper 68 yachts, which have each completed four global circumnavigations for the Clipper Race, are currently en route to Sydney. They will berth there and be used by Clipper Ventures Australia for crew training and development purposes plus corporate sailing and events. They are estimated to arrive in Sydney in early November.
Australia has been a regular Clipper Race destination since the 2005-06 edition, with past stopovers including Freemantle, Geraldton and the Gold Coast. The 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Race, which departed London on September 1st, includes the inaugural Australian host ports of Albany, Sydney, entry of the twelve-strong fleet into the prestigious Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race and Brisbane.
There are two entries led by Australian skippers vying for victory in the Clipper 2013-14 Race. PSP Logistics is skippered by Chris Hollis from Sydney and Team Garmin is led by Queensland-based Damian Parnham.
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, and UK businessman William Ward. The company was founded on the premise that sailing should be made available to everyone, regardless of age or experience.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest ocean race and is the only event of its kind that owns and operates its own matched fleet of ocean racing yachts and provides professional skippers to lead teams of amateur sailors. So far the event has turned more than 3,500 novices into ocean racers. Its third generation fleet of twelve one-design Clipper 70 yachts has just come into service and forms the world’s biggest matched fleet of large ocean racers.
by Marina Thomas
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9:19 AM Mon 30 Sep 2013GMT
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