Iconic Clipper Race is returning to Portsmouth after an absence of more than two decades – bringing a huge boost for the city’s economy.
The city has been chosen for the start and finish of the 2023/24 race - the 12th staging of the event which began in the mid-1990s.
Five days of festivities, beginning on August 30 this year, are planned for Gunwharf Quays, the neighbouring harbour of the sailing company’s operations for almost 20 years.
The only event which trains people from all walks of life to become ocean racers, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will see its fleet depart from Gunwharf on September. 3
A Solent spectacular is planned for Clipper Race crew as they commence the 40,000 nautical miles circumnavigation, a feat that will take 11 months to complete.
This is only the second time that Portsmouth has featured on the Clipper Race route - it was the start and finish city in the 2000/01 event.
This summer’s family friendly week of events is expected to attract large numbers of visitors from both in and out of the city, providing a significant boost to the local economy.
When Liverpool hosted the Clipper 2017-18 Race Start, 220,000 spectators visited the Race Village at its Royal Albert Docks.
It is believed those visitors pumped an estimated £7.5 million into the local economy.
During this event, 31 per cent of total visitors came from elsewhere in the UK and 10 per cent were from overseas.
Local sailing clubs, organisations and boat owners are being invited to join the bon voyage flotilla out on the Solent.
Spectators will wave off hundreds of sailors who will face the intense conditions of six ocean crossings.
Laura Ayres, Clipper Ventures Managing Director, said: ‘Portsmouth is our neighbour and the Solent the honorary home of our international Race Crew when they come to our training base.
‘This is the first time in over 20 years that we have held our Race Start and Finish in Portsmouth.
‘By partnering with Gunwharf Quays, we can create five days of celebration fitting of the incredible challenge our courageous crew are setting out to achieve.
‘We know the welcoming and great waterfront city of Portsmouth puts on a great party.’
Councillor Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, added: ‘Portsmouth is the perfect venue with a track record of hosting major events like the
America’s Cup World Series, and strong links to the maritime and marine sector.
‘Portsmouth is home to the Royal Navy, a key part of the Solent Freeport, and a growing cruise destination. The city offers the perfect backdrop.
‘The event will bring great value for the city, including a boost to our visitor economy.’
Yvonne Clay, Centre Director at Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for Portsmouth.
‘We are looking forward to welcoming the Race Crew and their supporters to our centre and for them to experience all that we have to offer.
‘From restaurants, bars and cafes, to our retail outlets, we know that our businesses will help to create a memorable visitor experience for all.
‘Gunwharf Quays has a vital role in supporting the growth of the city’s wider visitor economy, and we are proud to support Portsmouth by increasing the city’s profile and delivering positive economic impact to the area.
The Clipper Race was founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world.