Clipper Round the World Yacht Race starts in August 2011 and, at 40,000 miles, it is the world’s longest global ocean challenge.
Following a hugely successful campaign in the Clipper 2009-10 Round the World Yacht Race and an overall position of second place, Finland has confirmed it will return to the race track with an entry in Clipper 2011-12. This year’s entry, named Visit Finland, will once again battle it out against nine other internationally sponsored, stripped down 68-foot racing yachts.
Endorsed by the Finnish Tourist Board, Visit Finland will act as a floating billboard as she races around the world, promoting the region as a tourist destination to an audience of more than half a billion people who visit the race stopovers or follow it in the media, over the course of eleven months.
Jaakko Lehtonen, Director General of the Finnish Tourist Board, says: 'We are happy and proud to see Visit Finland sailing in this magnificent race, and look forward to tremendous publicity, and hope to be at least as successful as last year.'
The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind for people from all walks of life regardless of previous sailing experience, offering them a challenge of a lifetime and the opportunity to take on the thrills and spills of ocean racing. More than 250 professions and 40 different nationalities, including 12 Finns, are represented by those taking part. Heading up each team is the only professional on board, the skipper, and taking charge of Visit Finland, is 30-year-old Olly Osborne a highly experienced Clipper Race Training skipper from the UK.
Olly says, 'After watching the boats leave for the last two races I’m ready to take my place as one of the race skippers and lead my crew through an experience none of us will ever forget. I know it’s going to be tough, I expect it to be and I know there will also be so many amazing highs.
'I’m delighted to be chosen as the skipper of Visit Finland,' he adds. 'The Finnish entry in Clipper 2009-10 proved to be a highly competitive team and I hope that we can follow suit and win some pennants on the way round. They were also a crew who were immensely proud of the country they were representing and I intend to instil that sense of pride in my team so we can be worthy ambassadors for the Nordic country.'
The biennial Clipper Race celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, the first edition having been run in 1996. It was established by legendary yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who, in 1969, became the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world. He wanted to make ocean racing available to everyone, regardless of nationality or background, and since that first race almost 3,000 ordinary people have taken the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and do something truly extraordinary by taking on nature in the raw and racing around the world under sail.
Sir Robin says, 'Finland’s Clipper 2009-10 campaign was extremely successful and having recognised the global marketing potential of our event I am pleased to welcome them back for Clipper 2011-12. This enables them to build on their success as well as offering local businesses an opportunity to get on board and take advantage of the international brand exposure and trade development the race delivers.' Clipper Round the World website