Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011-12 starts in August 2011 and is the world’s longest global ocean challenge.
More than 360 adventurers travelled from all over the globe to Southampton on Saturday 30 April to discover which of the ten teams competing in the race they will represent. Three-quarters of the 489 men and women who will be taking part in this gruelling challenge of a lifetime came together to meet their skippers and new team mates, travelling from as far afield as Singapore, Queensland in Australia, Scotland, Finland, New York and Chile to the event at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only global competition where people from all walks of life can step out of their comfort zones and sign up to race 40,000 miles around the world. They come from backgrounds as varied as marketing executives, nurses, bankers, carpenters, IT specialists, engineers and chief executives who represent more than 40 nationalities. Almost half of them have never sailed before embarking on their training for the race.
The Crew Allocation event is much-anticipated among those who have signed up to take part in this race around the globe. This is where the reality of their participation in the race truly begins to kick in; with a skipper in place, team strategies start to take shape, roles are assigned to the crew and, with 92 days to go until the race start, the countdown is on.
The race is contested by ten identical stripped down 68-foot racing yachts, each sponsored by a city, region or country. Already confirmed for Clipper 2011-12 are the Keppel Corporation sponsored Singapore and, representing China’s Olympic sailing city, Qingdao, both entering the race for the fourth time. Returning for a second time is Visit Finland, backed by the Finnish Tourist Board. And making their debut in the race are Derry-Londonderry, celebrating their status as UK City of Culture 2013, and De Lage Landen, sponsored by the global provider of asset-based financing programmes of the same name and which will race under the Dutch flag. The names of the remaining five yachts will be revealed in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the race on 31 July 2011.
The Clipper Race was founded by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world, and this will be the eighth time his teams of amateur sailors will circumnavigate the planet, taking the number of people who have taken part to almost 3,000.
Addressing the massed crews Sir Robin said, 'It’s a big day for you today because you’re going to find out who you’re going to share your life with for the next year. And it’s not just sharing your life, it’s sharing an adventure. Your lives are going to be dependent on your fellow crew members. Today you’ll know what team you’re going to be in and these are the people you have to live with and work with for the next year. These are the people you have to trust. It’s the team that will be all important in this race.
'Also know that you’ve only got one life so why not paint it in bright colours? Don’t use pastel shades. Make the most of it – get out there, throw yourselves into it! You will come away from this with friends for life.' Event website