Home > Clipper Round the World Race 2011-2012 > Ian sails on Geraldton

Ian sails on Geraldton

Australian rivalry heats up with east versus west in the world’s longest global ocean race

For the first time in the history of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Australia will have two entries when the world’s longest ocean race gets underway from Southampton, UK, on 31 July 2011. Gold Coast Australia is the east coast’s debut entry in the biennial event and although competition will be fierce between them and the other nine internationally sponsored teams taking part in the Clipper 11-12 Race, their fiercest contest is sure to be against the west coast’s third entry Geraldton Western Australia.Queensland’s Gold Coast will be represented with a yacht entry as well as acting as a host port when it welcomes the fleet to the east coast of Australia for the first time at the end of a new Australasian leg for Clipper 11-12, taking the teams from the west coast of Australia to the east coast via New Zealand.

Geraldton Western Australiawill represent the City of Greater Geraldton which has also been unveiled as the Western Australian stopover following the city’s popular debut as a host port in Clipper 09-10.The Clipper Race was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world, in order to give ordinary people the chance to do something truly extraordinary. Nearly 40 per cent of the crew have never sailed before training to take part and the crews come from all walks of life representing more than 230 professions and 40 nationalities, including 27 Australians. Each team is headed up by a professional skipper and taking charge of

Gold Coast Australia will be 31-year-old Richard Hewson from Hobart, Tasmania, and skippering

Geraldon Western Australia is 33-year-old Juan Coetzer from Pretoria, South Africa.

Sir Robin says, “Australian entries in the Clipper Race have been up there as our most competitive. This time round, with an entry from each coast, their competitive nature is sure to be heightened and we can look forward to some fierce competition on the water. Both will be keen to keep the Clipper Race Trophy Down Under and only time will tell whether either of them is successful. I for one will be watching with great interest!”

The 40,000-mile Clipper 11-12 Race is contested by ten identical stripped down 68-foot racing yachts, each sponsored by a city, region, country or company. Joining the two Australian entries for Clipper 11-12 are the Keppel Corporation sponsored

Singapore and, representing China’s Olympic sailing city,

Qingdao, both entering the race for the fourth time. Returning for a second time is

Visit Finland, backed by the Finnish Tourist Board and Scottish entry

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital. And making their debut in the race are

Derry-Londonderry, celebrating their status as UK City of Culture 2013, and

De Lage Landen, the global provider of asset-based financing programmes, which will race under the Dutch flag. The names of the remaining two yachts will be revealed in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the race.

Previous Australian entries in the Clipper Race have had strong pedigrees with Western Australia’s inaugural entry in Clipper 05-06 winning overall. Whilst their second team in Clipper 07-08 failed to retain the prestigious Clipper Race Trophy, the yacht named

westernaustralia2011.com helped Perth beat off stiff competition from eight other international cities to secure the ISAF 2011 World Sailing Championships. Currently the title of Clipper Race champion lies with the

Spirit of Australia team which took home the trophy in Clipper 09-10 and it remains to be seen whether either of the Australian entries in Clipper 11-12 can keep it there.  

The international fleet will visit 15 ports on six continents during the 12-month race including Brazil, Cape Town, west and east coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Qingdao, California, New York, Nova Scotia, Derry-Londonderry and the Netherlands before returning to the UK.

The yachts are expected to arrive in Geraldton in late October 2011 at the start of the Australian summer and it will be the second time the city has hosted the fleet.

The yachts provide both Australian cities with a great marketing opportunity to promote their regions as tourist destinations around the world. Equally the stopovers provide them with the chance to showcase what their regions have to offer, as well as allowing them to benefit from the strong economic impact that the race delivers.

Mayor of the City of Greater Geraldton, Cllr Ian Carpenter, said, “I am delighted to welcome the fleet back again for the Clipper 11-12 Race. I am even more delighted that we have a yacht and will have a global presence with our ‘Geraldton Take a Fresh Look’ destination branding. The eye catching branding will be seen around the world with press, television and online audiences.”

Following their departure from Geraldton the yachts will race anticlockwise round the south coast of Australia to Queensland via New Zealand.  The fleet is expected to arrive to an equally warm reception on the Gold Coast in mid December before heading north to Singapore.

Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clarke, said the Gold Coast is thrilled to be a sponsor and the community was looking forward to welcoming the yachts in December.

“We aim to provide memorable local events that capture the spirit of Clipper and the Gold Coast, as well as providing an international presence at stopovers globally,” he said.

The Race Team

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