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Vietnam announces new team entry in Clipper 2019-20 Race

by Kathryn Pridie 5 Aug 13:46 PDT
Quang Ninh Province, in northeast Vietnam © Clipper Ventures

Following a high profile signing ceremony this morning, it has been revealed that the Quang Ninh Province, in northeast Vietnam, has signed a two edition deal with the Clipper Race.

The Quang Ninh Province is home to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage site Ha Long Bay and it's this natural wonder that will be a team entry, named "Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam", in the Clipper 2019-20 Race and then return as both a Team and Host Port Partner in 2021-22.

Clipper Race CEO, William Ward OBE, visited Ha Long City to meet with the senior members of the Quang Ninh People's Committee and its Tourism Department with the partnership agreed at a ceremony in the city. This will be the first time the Clipper Race has had a team entry from Ha Long Bay and the global sailing event will be making its debut visit in 2022.

Recognised twice as a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is a stunning destination and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam's number one-tourism hub. Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. These are what attract millions of tourists every year to take to the water and discover the region by taking overnight boat trips.

The name "Ha Long" means "descending dragons". The legend says that after fighting against the invaders, Mother Dragon and the children decided to stay in the mortal world forever and landed in Ha Long for the love with the beauty of this land. They turned into thousands of islands scattered on the Bay, protecting this sacred land.

Visitors can take cruises to lazily sail the emerald green waters among thousands of rugged islands and islets, stopping at some of the most spectacular caves, viewing impressive and centuries-old formations. Ha Long Bay's mystical beauty has made it a bucket list attraction within the country, but it's still possible to find secluded corners to call your own.

On its partnership with the Clipper Race, Pham Ngoc Thuy, Director of Quang Ninh Tourism Department says, "It is an honour for Quang Ninh Province - Viet Nam to be a Team Partner for the 2019-20 Edition and then both Team and Host Port Partner for 2021-22 Edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

"This is a special opportunity for Quang Ninh Province to promote, on a global stage, our destination of Ha Long Bay - the World Natural Heritage and Wonder with hundreds of beautiful landscapes, cultural and historical relics as well as friendly people.

"Quang Ninh Province is making our best endeavour to prepare for the event. We expect to achieve great success and encouragement from friends all over the world."

Says William Ward OBE, Clipper Race CEO, "It has been an honour to visit the Quang Ninh Province. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and I welcome Ha Long Bay to the Clipper Race as a Team entry for the 2019-20 Edition and then as both Team and Host Port Partner in 2021-22. From September, when our race begins, The Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team will fly the flag of this beautiful Vietnamese destination as they race around the world. And crew in the Clipper 2021-22 Edition will visit this stunning UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site to discover the bay's iconic islands.

"We have 23 years' experience in successful collaboration with worldwide destinations. And our partnership with the Quang Ninh Tourism Department, supported by the Sun Group and Vin Group, will enhance its promotion of Ha Long Bay on the global stage."

For the upcoming edition, the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team will be skippered by 31 year old British Skipper, Josh Stickland. Josh, from Southampton, UK, brings a wealth of sailing experience and over 100,000 nautical miles to his role as Skipper and first started sailing when he was ten years old. Since then, Josh's sailing career has taken him all over the globe where he has worked on yachts and superyachts up to 110m in length but for Josh, leading a non-professional team in the Clipper Race will be his career highlight.

In addition to his Clipper Race yacht knowledge, thanks to a previous job as Skipper of a private sailing yacht in Asia, Josh already has lots of experience in navigating the vast fishing fleets. This is a skill which will be essential when the race approaches the halfway mark of the circumnavigation.

Fifteen nationalities will be represented on the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team with crew ranging from 27 to 73 years old. There will be eight circumnavigators onboard, taking part in the full 40,000 nautical mile adventure.

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