Round-the-world race worth £5m to local economy

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THE Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is worth £5m each year to the south’s economy, its organiser has revealed.

Gosport-based Clipper Ventures announced the race’s financial success at the London Boat Show.

The company has revealed it plans to host the 40,000-mile race until at least 2020, with a brand new fleet and new sponsors signed up until 2016.

The race was established by its chairman, British sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 17 years ago to create an opportunity for people from all walks of life and ages to circumnavigate the world in a fleet of ocean racing yachts owned and operated by Clipper Ventures.

The new fleet of 12 yachts is being built in China, and will become the world’s biggest matched fleet of large ocean-going racing yachts.

He said: ‘The manufacture of the new fleet of Clipper 70s is now well under way and will help us to meet the growing demand from crew and sponsors with a programme through to 2020.

‘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 more than £5m 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.’

Clipper Ventures announced 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 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race until 2016.

The current race, Clipper 11-12, started from Qingdao’s sister city, Southampton, last July and the fleet will return to the south coast port on July 22 this year, five days before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The fleet is currently racing from Australia’s Gold Coast to Qingdao via Singapore. Among the competitors is Ian Geraghty, from Southsea, in Geraldton Western Australia.

The 10 yachts will reach Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore, on January 28 and they are expected to begin arriving at the Qingdao International Marina and Olympic Sailing Center from February 22.

Recruitment is starting for the Clipper race of 2013-14, so those interested in taking part should think about signing up now. For information visit clipperroundtheworld.com