Sports\Team China

Two Chinese teams set sail in biggest Round the World Yacht Race | Updated: 2017-08-21 17:08

The 40,000-nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, one of the world's toughest endurance challenges, involving everyday people, got underway from Liverpool, England, today in front of thousands of spectators, marking the start of its eleventh and largest edition yet.

Two Chinese teams set sail in biggest Round the World Yacht Race

For the first time in the 21-year history of the Clipper Race there will are two boats. Qingdao has returned as a Team and Host Port Partner for a seventh consecutive time, while Sanya Serenity Coast is making its debut.

Both boats will have Ambassadors on board during each leg of the race, with Yi ‘Frankie' Zhen and Liu ‘Lisa' Jingqiu to represent Qingdao, while Yongqiang ‘Young' Xie, and Yanli ‘Alice' Zhai, will be the inaugural Leg 1 Ambassadors for Sanya Serenity Coast.

Qingdao Ambassador Yi ‘Frankie' Zhen, who also lives in Qingdao, said: "The first time I saw any sailing was when the Clipper Race came to China in 2005. So, I am very, very happy to be on the Clipper Race because this is my dream."

The Ambassadors are four of the 712 non-professional crew taking part in the Clipper Race. Coming from all walks of life and including many who had no previous sailing experience, the Crew will face Mother Nature in this ultimate ocean challenge, representing 41 different nationalities.

Two Chinese teams set sail in biggest Round the World Yacht Race

Legendary sailor and Clipper Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the planet almost 50 years ago, founded the race to allow anyone, regardless of experience, the chance to experience ocean racing. He added: "Over the next eleven months, our crew and Skippers will get to face everything Mother Nature can throw at them. Upon their return, they will have crossed the world's major oceans. Very few people get to say that."

After heading out of the River Mersey and into the Irish Sea, the twelve-strong Clipper Race fleet is heading south through the Atlantic Ocean towards Punta del Este, Uruguay.

With the eleven-month circumnavigation divided into eight legs, this opening Atlantic Trade Winds Leg covers over 6,400 nautical miles and is expected to take around 35 days to complete, making it the longest opening leg in the 21-year history of the race.

Two Chinese teams set sail in biggest Round the World Yacht Race

The race is open to anyone, aged 18 and over with no upper age limit, who has a thirst for adventure and a desire to challenge themselves. The oldest competitor to date was 76. Each crew is led by a professional Skipper.

The Clipper Race fleet will arrive in Sanya and Qingdao in February and March respectively as part of the Asian Pacific Leg 5. The global route will also include stopovers in Punta del Este, Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, The Whitsundays, Sanya, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama, and New York, before a final crossing of the Atlantic Ocean towards Derry-Londonderry.

After crossing six oceans and visiting thirteen stopover ports on six continents, the fleet will return to Liverpool's Albert Dock almost a year later for Race Finish on Saturday 28 July 2018, where one of the twelve teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy. ​


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