Once around the world was not enough. The 70-foot racing yacht Visit Seattle –namesake of Seattle’s official destination marketing organization and second-time race sponsor – is setting sail again to compete against 11 teams in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race that leaves Liverpool August 20. The race spans 40,000 nautical miles and includes visits to 13 international ports over the next 11 months.
Following an exciting showing in the 2015-16 race, Visit Seattle is thrilled to once again promote the Emerald City as a sought-after international tourist destination and business hub while cheering on Nicola “Nikki” Henderson, the youngest captain in Clipper Round the World history. Nikki’s crew of amateur sailors includes five from Seattle, including Shannon Dean, a 54-year-old nurse, and Marek Omilian, a 53-year-old consultant, who will sail eight legs over the next 11 months.
Visit Seattle’s sail and hull display Seattle’s destination brand colors and logos from co-sponsor the Seattle Sports Commission, as well as host port partner the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina and hotel partner the Seattle Marriott Waterfront.
“The ongoing partnership between Visit Seattle and Clipper Round the World shines a global spotlight on Seattle as a world-class visitor destination and center of business innovation,” said Tom Norwalk, President & CEO of Visit Seattle. “Each port of call presents an opportunity to connect and engage with potential visitors and business partners. And, as the drama of the race unfolds on the world stage, the Visit Seattle brand flies full sail while our intrepid crew embraces the spirit of adventure.”
“Participating as a sponsor of the Clipper Race is about so much more than logos on a yacht,” said Ralph Morton, Executive Director, Seattle Sports Commission. “It is an authentic platform for our city with its own distinct maritime history to extend a “Visit Seattle” invitation around the globe during this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.”
In April 2018, Seattle will welcome all Clipper Round the World yachts, including Visit Seattle, as they enter the Puget Sound and the Port of Seattle’sBell Harbor Marina from Qingdao, China before heading to Panama.
“The Seattle stopover certainly made its mark on our international race crew, friends, family and business partners during the last race and I am pleased that we will return to the Emerald City once again,” said Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “Like our race crews, the people of Seattlehave a strong sense of adventure and the support received from the city and its residents as the fleet raced around the world was fantastic. The welcome and hospitality provided by locals and businesses during the race’s visit to Seattle was first-class and has put the city firmly on the map as a popular race destination to visit and do business with and we hope to build on the relationships created.”
Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman welcomes the race’s return saying: “The Port of Seattle is a proud sponsor and host of the Clipper Race at our Bell Harbor Marina in April 2018. The Port’s involvement in this unique international maritime competition is to highlight the Port’s contribution to putting Seattle on the world stage – providing global connections by air and sea. Seattle is a world-class destination for the adventure-seeking sailor due to its stunning waterways and cultural richness that has created an ecologically-minded and entrepreneurial community.”
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Approximately 40 percent of the crewmembers are novices and have never sailed prior to completing their comprehensive training program ahead of their adventure. Following the success of the Clipper Race partnership, 14 crew members from Washington State, including five from Seattle, have signed up to participate in the 2017-2018 race edition.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which has UNICEF as the official Charity Partner, is the world’s greatest ocean adventure and regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. The race spans 40,000 nautical miles, beginning in August 2017, takes almost a year to complete and consists of 12 teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of ocean-racing yachts.