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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to return to Cork

Following the hugely successful stopover here in June 2008, Cork has today been confirmed as an entry in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. Royal Cork Yacht Club will also be a host port after the final Atlantic crossing in the 35,000-mile race across the world’s oceans. 

Cork will be one of ten identical, stripped down 68-foot racing yachts competing in the event, each sponsored by an international city, region or country. They include Uniquely Singapore, Qingdao and Hull & Humber, all of whom will be making return appearances, the team sponsors having discovered that the Clipper Race provides a unique platform delivering global market exposure at local market values. Joining them for the first time will be California, whose participation has been endorsed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger following the fleet’s debut visit to the state in the last edition of the biennial race.
The campaign to enter a Cork yacht that will take the spirit of the region to a worldwide audience of more than 300 million people has been jointly backed by Fáilte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork County Council. On board will be a team of normal folk, many of whom who have never sailed before, who are taking on the challenge of a lifetime. Among them will be crew from all over Ireland but it is hoped that the men and women of Cork will also be inspired to get onboard and represent their city and county on a global stage. Housewives, lorry drivers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers and even a vicar are among the former Clipper crews who have demonstrated to the world their unique, inspirational qualities.
In addition to those people with a thirst for adventure who will race around the world representing the region there are opportunities for local businesses to be part of the event. Teams in previous Clipper Races have helped galvanise the community spirit in their sponsoring city, generating a huge sense of ownership and pride in their achievement.
Already Cork’s crew has the support of sporting luminaries. Former Republic of Ireland players David O’Leary and Niall Quinn who, between them, have 160 caps for their country, are backing the team.
David O’Leary says, “My congratulations to Cork for entering the first Irish boat into the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. As a keen sportsman I am delighted to hear that the Cork boat, crewed by local sailing enthusiasts, will be taking part in this incredible challenge and promoting my homeland across the world.”
Niall Quinn adds his support, saying, “I am tremendously proud that Ireland will be represented in this world famous race and I will be following every stage with great interest.”
The Clipper Race was set up by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world, in order to give ordinary people the chance to do something truly extraordinary.
Sir Robin says, “It is fantastic news that Cork will be represented in Clipper 09-10 and, if the welcome the crews received at the Royal Cork Yacht Club at the end of Clipper 07-08 is anything to go by, I am sure the stopover here is going to be one of the highlights of the Clipper Race – they are wonderful hosts.
“We already have six crewmembers from Ireland who have signed up to take part and I am hoping people from Cork will join them in an event which can widen horizons and be a truly life-changing experience. You don’t need any sailing experience at all.
“We want everyone in the region to be part of this so the design of the Cork yacht will be decided by the people of Cork in an open competition, the details of which will be announced later this week. I hope the business community in Cork will also seize the opportunities this event offers.”
Fiona Buckley, General Manager Fáilte Ireland South West says, “Fáilte Ireland South West is delighted to be involved with the introduction of a Cork boat for the first time in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. A Cork boat will bring invaluable publicity and promotional opportunities for Cork during the Clipper 09-10 Race.
“Sailing is central to the development of tourism in the South West and particularly in Cork and is central to the Fáilte Ireland South West Regional development Strategy 2008-2010. Cork has an enviable sailing maritime reputation worldwide, stemming from its unique natural harbour, yacht clubs and maritime history.”
Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Brian Bermingham says, “I’m delighted that Cork will be represented in such a prestigious global event and hope the event will bring worldwide attention to the city which has such a rich maritime history.
“It is a perfect opportunity to showcase the city to a worldwide audience and we expect it will contribute significantly to the local and regional economy. I hope the people of Cork will get behind the team and support them all the way.”
Mayor of County Cork, Councillor Noel Harrington says, “I am delighted that the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will visit Cork again. It was one of my first functions when elected Mayor last July to welcome the fleet then and we eagerly look forward to the participation of the Cork entry in this year’s race and the scheduled stopover in June 2010
“Cork County Council’s Marine Leisure Strategy is aimed at the development of the industry in a coherent and sustainable manner making the best use of existing and planned infrastructure and resources.
“The economic impact of race stopover cannot be overemphasized as sailing is central to the development of tourism along Cork’s unique coastline which is renowned for its rugged beauty and safe harbours.”
Berths are available for people from Cork to compete in Clipper 09-10 and there will be two public presentations at the end of February. In the meantime more information can be found at , by emailing or phoning +44 (0) 2392 52 6000. The minimum age for crew is 18 and there is no upper age limit. No previous sailing experience is required as all crew go through a comprehensive pre-race training programme.

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