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Biggest Round-The-World Ocean Race Returns To Whitsundays

June 30, 2017 Sports No Comments Email Email

The international Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the biggest event of its kind on the planet, has today announced it is to return to the Whitsundays’ Airlie Beach, once again making it the final Australian stop in its eleven-month epic circumnavigation.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race fleet will arrive in Airlie Beach in the vibrant World Heritage Listed Whitsunday region in January 2018, with the race’s international crew members and the fleet of twelve 70-foot ocean racing yachts once again being hosted at Abell Point Marina.

Legendary yachtsman and founder of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69, said: “The Whitsundays was an extremely popular stopover port during our last race, for the crew, supporters, and the Clipper Race team alike. A truly stunning location for our crew members and partners, and a perfect place to really relax and unwind in midway through our intense race route.

“Being a Clipper 2017-18 Race Host Port will not only enable the Whitsundays region to host our international crew members but also to continue to promote itself and its beautiful surroundings to our global race community as a leading sailing and tourism destination in the Southern Hemisphere.”

The Clipper 2017-18 Race’s return to the Whitsundays will be organised in partnership between the Whitsunday Regional Council and Tourism and Events Queensland. Together with Abell Point Marina, they will host a Clipper Race Carnival, which is set to include a large scale welcome event, a regional rodeo and a spectacular lunch on the iconic Whitehaven Beach.

The carnival is expected to attract more than 4000 visitors to the Whitsundays and generate upwards of $3 million for the Queensland economy when the fleet docks in January 2018.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the carnival, supported by Tourism and Events Queensland, was a significant addition to the state’s world class events calendar.

“The Whitsundays is a jewel in our tourism crown so for it to be confirmed as a host port for the Clipper Round the World race is another significant achievement,” she said.

“We all know the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie but we also know the resilience and determination of the people and businesses in the Whitsundays.”

“The Whitsunday Clipper Carnival is an ideal way to remind the world that the region is open for business and will continue to be a premiere destination not only for sailing enthusiasts but for all visitors.”

“We look forward to hosting the skippers and their crew, as well as family, friends and supporters of the race in Airlie Beach, providing some welcome respite and showing off the best of what Queensland has to offer.”

Each of the twelve Clipper Race teams are led by a professional skipper but sailed by a total of 700 amateur crew, representing over 40 nationalities from all walks of life. It’s the only event of its kind in the world which trains everyday people to become ocean racers.

Of the 49 Australians taking part in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, eleven call Queensland home. One of the Clipper 2017-18 Race Skippers, Wendy Tuck, who also Skippered a team in the last race, will also be representing Australia once again as she leads the Sanya Serenity Coast team in this edition of the race.

Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays, marks the end of the All Australian Leg, the fourth in the eight leg global route, which starts in Fremantle, Western Australia on Saturday 2 December and will also include the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Wilcox said the Clipper Race Carnival will once again build community pride and highlight the diversity of experiences on offer in the region.

Mayor Wilcox added: “Hosting the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival presents an ideal opportunity for us to highlight and promote the regions many attractions and encourage visitors beyond just the headline locations of Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach for authentic Australian experiences.”

Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of its eight legs, in one of the toughest endurance challenges. It is without doubt the world’s greatest ocean adventure.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race, the biennial events eleventh edition, will start in Liverpool, UK, on Sunday 20 August, and visit six continents with the global route including stopovers in South America (port TBC), Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, the Whitsundays, Sanya and Qingdao in China, Seattle, Panama, New York, and Derry Londonderry.

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