Round-world race gets curtain-raiser

The 68ft Hull & Humber cutter was given a St George’s Day launch at London’s Tower Bridge today as Hull prepares to host a global race start and finish for the first time.

The distinctive orange livery of the 68-foot Hull & Humber yacht will herald the return of this English entry in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race.

This will be the second time the UK region has competed in the 35,000 mile global race as part of a two race sponsorship deal with race organisers Clipper Ventures Plc by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward. In Clipper 07-08 Hull & Humber came a close second behind the US entry, New York, in the world’s leading event for non-professional sailors with ten identical 68-foot yachts sponsored by international cities, states and countries from across the globe.

With six out of the ten yachts announced to date for Clipper 09-10, Hull & Humber remains the only UK entry so far. It will be competing against new contenders from California, endorsed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cork (Republic of Ireland) and Cape Breton Island – Nova Scotia (Canada); plus two other return entries from Singapore and Qingdao (China).

In a double celebration Hull and Humber is also looking forward to hosting the race start and finish on 13 September 2009 and 17 July 2010, the first time a global yacht race has departed from and returned to the UK east coast.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race was created by legendary yachtsman and record-breaking circumnavigator Sir Robin Knox-Johnston more than thirteen years ago – he is now chairman of Clipper Ventures.

Clipper 09-10 will be the seventh edition of the race which is crewed by non-professionals from all walks of life, many of whom have never sailed before training for this challenging race. Each yacht can accommodate up to 18 crew under the command of a professional skipper: around a quarter sign up for the full race with the remainder joining for one or more of seven legs. And this is no cruise, Mother Nature doesn’t take it easy on the Clipper crews, they endure many of the same routes and conditions faced by the professionals.