Delegates from the tropical destination of Sanya, the Clipper Race’s newest Chinese Host Port and Team Partner, have visited leading sailing organisations in the UK in a bid to develop its international sailing presence.
A programme of meetings set up through the Clipper Race organising committee included formal discussions with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), Royal Yachting Association (RYA), and World Sailing.
Mr Chou Chen, General Manager of the Hainan Ocean Race Co, and Dante Zhu, VP of Hainan Sailing Association, joined the Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, to meet with Eddie Warden Owen, CEO, RORC, and Janet Grosvenor, Consultant, RORC to talk about the RORC’s requirements with a view to including the Round Hainan Regatta (RHN), one of the biggest offshore race in South East Asia, which starts and finishes in Sanya.
The delegation also met with the RYA, the UK national governing body for sailing, to discuss the possibility of establishing a RYA accredited training centre in Sanya, and with World Sailing to discuss the upcoming Junior Youth World Championships which will be held in the city this November.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “To be in a position to help Sanya, our newest Clipper Race Host Port and Team Partner, create strong connections with leading organisations such as the RORC, the RYA and World Sailing is precisely one of the outcomes our global event aims to deliver for partners.
“Sanya boasts world-class sailing facilities and leveraging its Clipper Race partnership to grow the international presence of sailing in the city is testament to the strength of these partnerships.”
The official visit coincided with the start of Clipper Race training for the city’s 16 Sanya Ambassador crew, who were selected during a gruelling week of trials in April, and will represent the city when they take part, in pairs, in one of the eight legs of the Clipper 2017-18 Race.
Speaking about the Ambassador programme, Sir Robin added: “The Sanya Ambassador programme is a fantastic boost for the city, not only to help promote Sanya during the Clipper 2017-18 Race, but to generate a team of ocean racing sailors to begin an international sailing legacy.”
Mr Chou Chen said: “Sanya has fantastic sailing facilities and great sailing conditions for the world to enjoy.
“The recent visit to the UK has been a great opportunity to work with the Clipper Race who have enabled us to connect with RORC, the RYA and World Sailing to start conversations around raising international sailing presence in Sanya.”
The visit concluded with a trip on the water to observe the Clipper Race teams practice a race start during Level 4 training, the final stage of the crew’s rigorous pre-race programme in the Solent.
The City of Sanya, located in the South of China on Hainan Island, is making its debut as a Host Port and Team Partner for the 2017-18 and 2019-20 editions of the Clipper Race.
Sanya will use the Clipper Race as an influential business platform to build its reputation as an international sailing destination and further enhance the City’s long-term development strategy of combining sports and tourism.
Around 710 crew are expected to compete in the Clipper Race, from all walks of life and from all around the world, with over 40 different nationalities represented. Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of its eight challenging legs. Approximately 40 per cent of crew have no previous sailing experience before they start their intensive race training programme.
The Clipper 2017-18 Race, the biennial event’s eleventh edition, starts in Liverpool, UK on 20 August and will visit six continents. After racing across the Atlantic Ocean to the first stopover port, Punta del Este, Uruguay, the fleet will continue on to Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, the Whitsundays, Sanya and Qingdao in China, Seattle, Panama, New York, and Derry-Londonderry, before completing the circumnavigation in Liverpool on July 28, 2018.