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Preparations are in full swing for the arrival of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for its first stopover in Europe since it departed the UK last September. This will take place from 02-07 July at Kinsale and 07-09 July at Cork City. The project is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland with the principle objective of building Cork brand awareness internationally.

Kinsale has developed a very exciting programme which highlights what Kinsale does best – arts, cultural, cuisine and good craic. The yachts are expected to arrive sometime over 02/03 July but the festival will kick off on 02 July to ensure that there will be a warm welcome for the 180 crew when they arrive. An artisan food and craft fair will run for the whole weekend and Kinsale Arts Week will run STOPOVER an exhibition of an artwork from each of the regions participating in the Clipper Race in the Mill which has been renovated by Cork County Council and Kinsale Town Council and will be a lasting legacy from the event as it will provide long term exhibition space in the town.
Other activities that Kinsale will host include national and international performers and music acts, Adventures of the Seven Seas Parade on Sunday and a unique Clipper book project which will be held in Kinsale Town Library whereby everyone who visits can make an entry in the book.

Speaking at today’s launch Cork County Mayor, Cllr Derry Canty stated: ‘When I participated in the start of the Clipper Race in Hull last September, I was amazed at the courage of the crew taking on this challenge and now we are looking forward to welcoming them back safely to Kinsale after an incredible 10 month journey. They have been fantastic ambassadors for the Cork region and we will ensure that we will have a true Cead Míle Fáilte for all the crews and sponsors when they arrive in July’

On Wednesday 07 July the fleet will make its way in a parade of sail to Cork City. To celebrate the Cork Clipper’s homecoming in style Albert Quay beside the Custom House will be transformed into a Race Village for three days from 10am to 10pm daily with food, drinks and crafts stalls and a large stage for musical acts such as Cork favourites John Spillane and Fred. Each day there will be street entertainment and a vintage carousel and amusements for all the family.

The Clipper fleet will be moored at the new Cork City pontoons at the Custom House Quay, pictured here today (Tues), with the pile driving being carried out. The pontoons are being provided by the Port of Cork with assistance from the City Council.

‘The Cork Clipper Festival will be a fun event for all the family celebrating our participation in this wonderful Round the World Race. The festival adds to the packed summer programme in Cork including the Midsummer Festival, Live at the Marquee with its world class acts, the Ocean to City rowing race and The Cork Marathon. Cork is the place to be this summer and I encourage everyone to visit over the summer months to enjoy our wonderful city centre with its vibrant streets and excellent shopping’ stated Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill.

The festival website <> has just been launched which details all free events over the 8 day period which will see over 200 performers participate in the two different venues.
‘We are expecting over 3000 people from overseas to travel to the event and many more tens of thousands domestic visitors’ said Fiona Buckley, Head of Operations,  Fáilte Ireland at today’s launch. The national media campaign for the Cork Clipper Festival will run in June in the lead up to the event and as there is an increase in attendance for free festivals  we expect strong numbers and a positive outcome for the tourism trade in the region’ she continued

Cork is the first ever Irish entry in Clipper Round the World Yacht Race however, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the Cork Clipper crew in this year’s race. In January the ten boat Clipper Race was cut to nine when the original Cork Clipper hit a reef in the Java Sea leaving it unsalvageable forcing the Cork Crew to join other teams.

“However onshore the news has been better according to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder of Clipper Ventures. ‘We sourced a replacement racing yacht at our own cost within days of the incident so that Cork’s participation in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race could continue. Independent research has recorded a cumulative global audience of more than 360 million people following the race to the end of February, already a significant increase over previous Clipper Races, and delivering an important return on investment to our sponsors.”

In conjunction with Tourism Ireland the Cork Clipper has been a valiant promoter of Cork and Ireland in destinations which so far have included Hull, La Rochelle, Rio de Janeiro and South Africa.

An independent economic and media study has been undertaken by students in the UCC MBS Management & Marketing Programme and the project will release full results in Autumn 2010.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only global event raced by people from all walks of life; from teachers to accountants anyone can take part, no experience necessary. In fact 40% of the crew had never stepped aboard a boat before. The Clipper Race consists of a 10-month-long, 35,000 mile course that has taken the race from England to France before crossing to Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, China, California, Panama, Jamaica, New York, Cape Breton Island, before arriving into Kinsale and Cork and then to the Netherlands. The Race will make its triumphant return to the Humber on July 17 2010.

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