Clipper Round the World Yacht Race organisers, Clipper Ventures Plc, have today announced at the London Boat Show that it has signed a major sponsorship deal with Qingdao, host of the sailing events of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to continue its participation in the race through to 2016.
Qingdao has fielded an entry and hosted the event since 2005 and has credited the Clipper Race with helping it not only prepare for hosting the Olympics but also in developing its brand as China’s Sailing City. It will now become the first destination in the world to sponsor six editions of the unique biennial event.
Clipper Ventures’ chief executive, William Ward (right), and Qingdao Municipal Government Vice-Mayor, Wang Xiulin, at the signing ceremony in China - Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Clipper Ventures
'This is excellent news,' said William Ward, chief executive of Clipper Ventures. 'I am proud of the role the Clipper Race has played in helping Qingdao to be successful, promoting its sailing achievements and helping to tell its story around the world. It also brings our sponsors together in Qingdao to stimulate international trade between China and the rest of the world.'
Madam Lin Zhiwei, Chairman of Qingdao Sports Federation, said, 'We have decided to continue our collaboration in Clipper 13-14 and Clipper 15-16. It has become an important event to build our brand as the Sailing City of China.'
The construction of an innovative new fleet of 12 Clipper 70 yachts, with an option for a further four, is progressing on schedule in China. It will be the world’s biggest matched fleet of large ocean racing yachts. UK based suppliers of equipment and services are also being signed up for the new fleet and future races.
Speaking on the opening day of the 2012 London Boat Show, Clipper Ventures founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said, 'The manufacture of the Clipper 70s is now well underway and will help us to meet the growing demand from crew and sponsors with a forward programme through to 2020.'
The legendary British yachtsman added, 'The Clipper Race is unique in world business and I believe our own performance demonstrates that the UK marine sector has great potential and needs to be celebrated. Clipper Ventures puts millions of pounds into the local economy around its base in Portsmouth Harbour every year and our high proportion of overseas income makes a positive contribution to Britain’s Balance of Payments.'
The eighth edition of the Clipper Race, Clipper 11-12, is currently halfway through its 40,000-mile circumnavigation en route from the Gold Coast, Australia, to Qingdao via Singapore. The fleet will reach Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore, on 28 January and the yachts are expected to begin arriving at the Qingdao International Marina and Olympic Sailing Center from 22 February. Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website