Clipper 70s to be introduced for 2013-14 race

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has announced that his Clipper round-the-world fleet will be replaced by 12 new 70-footers in the 2013-14 race.

He has ordered 12 Tony-Castro-designed Clipper 70s, up from the current 10, and the crew capacity on each will increase from 20 to 22.

New features include twin helms, twin rudders and a six-foot bowsprit which allows the inclusion of a large Code Zero sail.

The new sail should increase performance in light airs and deliver higher daily average speeds across the 40,000-mile race. The new boats could top 30 knots in optimum conditions.

Sir Robin said: ‘Racing around the world still remains one of life’s great challenges and I’m extremely proud to have witnessed over the past 15 years how the Clipper Race has changed people’s lives and turned almost 3,000 sailing novices into experienced ocean racers.

‘With the eighth edition of the race, Clipper 11-12, set to start in August 2011, we have commissioned the highly respected naval architect, Tony Castro, to design us a new fleet that will bring the Clipper Race to the next level for Clipper 13-14 and beyond.’

The Clipper 70, which will be built in China and fitted out in the UK, will be the third generation Clipper yacht.

The original Clipper 60 fleet completed four races between 1996 and 2003 before being replaced by the longer, lighter and faster Clipper 68 for the next four races.

Clipper Ventures Plc’s chief executive, William Ward, said: ‘We have amassed huge experience in the last 15 years. The Clipper Race is the only event of its type in the world.

‘We have had to develop robust crew training, race management, international relations and business development expertise. Crew places on the last race sold out well in advance and Clipper 11-12 is set to do the same. We will therefore be using the 2011 London International Boat Show to launch our crew recruitment drive for Clipper 13-14 and beyond.’

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