Seattle joins cities hosting stops on Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
It’s the world’s biggest and longest ocean race and at more than 40,000 nautical miles it’s regarded as the toughest endurance challenge on the planet for “people like you” – where ordinary people can achieve the extraordinary.
Raced by people from all walks of life, the 12 70-foot ocean-racing yachts and 240 novice international crew competing have now all berthed at Bell Harbor Marina to enjoy a stopover after one of the most demanding legs of the grueling circumnavigation.
Seattle has its own team in the race, named Visit Seattle, with American and international crew representing the Emerald City.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race takes 11 months to visit 14 destinations on six continents and, in its 20-year history over 10 biennial races, the organizers have developed strong links with international governments in perfecting a powerful trade and tourism promotional platform.
Seattle is the latest major city to sign up for the race, not only hosting the fleet, and benefiting from the huge economic impact that comes with it, but also taking rights to brand one of twelve identical 70-foot ocean-racing yachts operated by the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The opportunity will showcase the city in major ports of call and generate trade, investment and tourism. This can range from hosting sailing days with media, travel operators and business, to creating trade missions and special events alongside the race.
On welcoming the Visit Seattle team home into the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina at Pier 66, Tom Norwalk, President and CEO at Visit Seattle, says: “We are so excited and proud to be connected to the race. Seattle is the boating capital of America and to be promoting the city on the boat around the world is a dream come true.
“We have a tremendous local economy, global technology and innovation, and we think a lot of that is because of where we are located in the world and the opportunity that many employees like to bring to their lifestyle here in the Northwest …To have the crew, friends and family here to experience our wonderful city is also a real treat for us.”
Research by host ports has revealed a multimillion dollar economic impact from tourism around the race, especially when the fleet visit includes events and entertainment to create a festival feel.
Qingdao, China, which hosted the sailing competitions in 2008 for the Beijing Olympic Games, has been a Clipper Round the World Yacht Race partner for six consecutive races over twelve years; it is the stop prior to Seattle in the 6000-mile, monthlong race from Asia to the USA across the Pacific. Incidentally, the naming rights for this leg saw the race named “The Seattle Pacific Challenge.”
Qingdao has used the race to not only help secure hosting the Olympics but also to build a strong legacy as China’s sailing city, building an annual regatta program, sail training, associated marine research and education, trade in boosting its “blue” economy and other business sectors.
Destinations are spread across Asia, Australia, South Africa, Europe and North and South America. Another new host and team sponsor this year is Da Nang, Vietnam, a fast-growing and ambitious port city strategically located in the center of a country that is enjoying growth of 6.8 percent and sees the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as an innovative part of its new global trade and tourism-development program.
The Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Lam Quang Minh, says, “Because Da Nang is a small city, not many people know about us. We are a very young and dynamic city in the center of Vietnam and now we are trying to attract more and more investors to the city. We also want to promote tourism and attract environmentally friendly industry so we can develop a stable economy.”
The relationship with Da Nang has been developed alongside the U.K. government’s strengthening ties with Vietnam and was announced to coincide with the first visit of a British Prime Minister to the country. David Cameron’s office is one of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race partners through the U.K.’s GREAT campaign, which hosted a high-tech trade mission to Seattle to coincide with the race stop there. Guests from major local industry such as Boeing participated in a live video link with the GREAT Britain team from the deck of their yacht in a strong storm.
For more information on the race, see clipperroundtheworld.com.
To find out about the events planned during the stopover in Seattle, click here.