Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest ocean race at 40,000 miles. It will begin from Southampton on 31 July 2011.
Western Australia has returned to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race with the third entry from the state in the 15-year history of the event that is ‘Raced by People Like You’. The yacht will represent the City of Greater Geraldton (formerly Geraldton-Greenough which will amalgamate with neighbouring Shire of Mullewa on 1 July 2011) which has also been unveiled as the Western Australian stopover following the city’s popular debut as a host port in Clipper 09-10.
The entry will be named Geraldton Western Australia and will line up alongside nine other international teams when the event gets underway from Southampton on the south coast of England.
The City of Geraldton-Greenough and Tourism Western Australia have joined forces to sponsor a yacht which will splash their branding around the world and sail majestically into its home port at Champion Bay at the end of October this year. Funding for Western Australia’s entry in the prestigious race was made possible through the $40 million Royalties for Regions Regional Events Program, administered by EventsCorp.
City of Geraldton-Greenough Mayor, Cllr Ian Carpenter, said this is great news and he is proud to host the visitors once again.
'I am delighted to welcome the fleet back again for the Clipper 11-12 Race,' he said. 'I am even more delighted that we have a yacht and will have a global presence with our ‘Geraldton Take a Fresh Look’ destination branding. The eye catching branding will be seen around the world with press, television and online audiences.
'The Australian yacht Spirit of Australia took line honours last year, so I hope we can emulate that performance. We received such positive feedback for our hospitality from race participants and their friends and families last time that I am sure this year’s visit will be just as, if not more, successful,' said Cllr Carpenter.
The race was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world, in order to give ordinary people the chance to do something truly extraordinary. More people have climbed Everest than have raced around the world under sail.
Sir Robin says, 'Based on the fantastic performance by Australian entries in previous Clipper Races I am certain the team on board Geraldton Western Australia will fight hard to hold their position at the top of the leader board and I will be following them with great interest.
'The City of Geraldton-Greenough proved to be a favourite of the crews in Clipper 09-10. The warm hospitality and generous nature of the people of Geraldton was demonstrated when they opened their doors to the crews on Christmas Day. The teams are sure to receive an equally warm reception this time round which will be most welcome after they have tackled the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean leg from Cape Town.'
Clipper 11-12 is contested by ten identical stripped down 68-foot racing yachts, each sponsored by a city, region, country or company. Already confirmed for Clipper 11-12 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 Scottish entry Edinburgh Inspiring Capital. And making their debut in the race are Derry-Londonderry, celebrating their status as UK City of Culture 2013, and De Lage Landen, the global provider of asset-based financing programmes, which will race under the Dutch flag. The names of the remaining three yachts will be revealed in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the race.
Previous Australian entries in the Clipper Race have had strong pedigrees with Western Australia’s inaugural entry in Clipper 05-06 winning overall. Whilst their second team in Clipper 07-08 failed to retain the prestigious Clipper Race Trophy, the yacht named westernaustralia2011.com helped Perth beat off fierce competition from eight other international cities to secure the ISAF 2011 World Sailing Championships. With Spirit of Australia taking home the trophy in Clipper 09-10 it remains to be seen whether Geraldton Western Australia can sail to victory once more and keep the title Down Under.
The international fleet will visit 14 ports on six continents during the 12-month race including Brazil, Cape Town, west and east coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Qingdao, California, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry-Londonderry and the Netherlands before returning to the UK.
The City of Geraldton-Greenough, which made its debut as a host port in Clipper 09-10 and proved to be one of the most popular stopovers with the crews, will welcome the fleet in November 2011. The yacht provides the city and state with a great marketing opportunity to promote Geraldton-Greenough and Western Australia as a tourist destination around the world. Equally the stopover provides Geraldton with the chance to showcase what the region has to offer, as well as benefiting from the strong economic impact that the race delivers. Clipper Round the World website