SPORT - New fleet for world's longest race

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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 11-12 starts August

SPORT - New fleet for world's longest race
SPORT — New fleet for world’s longest race

British sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, is celebrating 15 years as chairman of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race by announcing a brand new fleet of 12 70-foot racing yachts for his global ocean challenge.

"Racing around the world still remains one of life’s great challenges and I’m extremely proud to have witnessed over the past 15 years how the Clipper Race has changed people’s lives and turned almost 3000 sailing novices into experienced ocean racers," said Sir Robin.

"With the eighth edition of the race, Clipper 11-12, set to start in August 2011, we have commissioned the highly respected naval architect, Tony Castro, to design us a new fleet that will bring the Clipper Race to the next level for Clipper 13-14 and beyond," he said.

Organisers said Castro’s Clipper 70 will form the third generation of Clipper racing yachts and his design is an exciting one, perfectly suited for this particularly gruelling sailing event.

The new yachts will be built in China and fitted out by UK and international suppliers, the fleet also increasing from 10 to 12 yachts, with an option for a further four. The crew capacity of each yacht has also increased from 20 to 22.

The original Clipper 60 fleet completed four races between 1996 and 2003 before being replaced by the longer, lighter and faster Clipper 68 for the next four races. For the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race, the introduction of the Clipper 70 steps things up a gear once more, organisers added.

The inclusion of state-of-the-art features in the new hull design are expected to provide better performance and, when surfing on big following seas, the Clipper 70 is likely to set new speed records compared to the previous fleets. Crews can expect to top 30kts when conditions suit.

New features include twin helms, twin rudders and a six-foot bowsprit, which allows the inclusion of a huge Code Zero
sail to complement a suite of Yankee headsails, staysail and main. This new sail is hoped to increase performance in light airs and deliver higher daily average speeds across the 40,000nm race. The mainsail will have three reefing points and will be set from a 92-foot mast.

Clipper Ventures Plc’s chief executive, William Ward believes the race has carved a unique niche in the market, which has given the UK-based company the confidence to commit to a multi-million-pound (GBP) investment in a new fleet in order to meet the growing demand from crews and sponsors.

"We have amassed huge experience in the last 15 years. The Clipper Race is the only event of its type in the world," said Ward.

"We have had to develop robust crew training, race management, international relations and business development expertise. Crew places on the last race sold out well in advance and Clipper 11-12 is set to do the same. We will therefore be using the 2011 London International Boat Show to launch our crew recruitment drive for Clipper 13-14 and beyond," he said.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only event of its kind for people from all walks of life regardless of previous sailing experience.

The next edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race starts in August and, at 40,000nm, is the world’s longest global ocean challenge.

Crew taking part in this unique event represent more than 40 nationalities and in Clipper 09-10 were drawn from more than 230 professions. They can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs. The overall race is divided into individual stages and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.

For more information, visit

Renderings: The Clipper 70 is the third generation of racing yachts to come into service for the Clipper 13-14 Race.

Photo: The crew of Clipper 68 Spirit of Australia, skippered by Brendan Hall, celebrate winning the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race last June.


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