Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet have completed race six, from New Zealand to Gold Coast Australia. The fleet will set sail for Singapore in race seven of the 15-race series on Christmas Eve.
Gold Coast Australia, one of the ten yachts competing in the race, now has another, very special message to carry around the world after the 2018 Commonwealth Games logo was unveiled for the first time this morning on the hull of the 68-foot ocean racer.
In addition to spreading the word that the Gold Coast is ‘Famous for fun’, the yacht is now carrying the logo of the 2018 Commonwealth Games which the city has recently won the right to host.
The design was unveiled for the first time this morning by Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clarke, and Queensland’s Acting Minister for Sport, Simon Finn.
Mayor Clarke said having the yacht, which is sponsored by Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Tourism, carry the logo around the world for the remaining seven months of the race is a fantastic opportunity.
After leaving the Gold Coast on Christmas Eve, the Clipper Race fleet will travel to Singapore, China, the USA, Canada, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands before arriving back in Southampton on the south coast of England one week before the start of the 2012 London Olympics.
Minister Finn said, while the Commonwealth Games was still a long way off, showcasing the Gold Coast as the 2018 host city had significant benefits.
'Promoting the Gold Coast as a Commonwealth Games host city is not just about ensuring the success of the event in 2018, it is about showcasing the Gold Coast to the world, attracting interest in the city as an exciting visitor destination and luring business investment in the lead up,' he said.
'2018 will not only be a Gold Coast Games, it will also be a Queensland and Australian Games and there is no doubt in my mind that all Australians will feel a strong sense of pride when they see the Games logo on Gold Coast Australia.
'The yacht and her crew epitomise the wonderful excitement and spirit of adventure the Gold Coast is renowned for and it’s this spirit that will ensure our Games in 2018 is one of the most unique and successful ever.'
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid CEO, Mark Peters, said having the logo on the yacht was a unique opportunity to initiate promotion of the 2018 Games around the world.
It is not the first time a city has leveraged its partnership with the Clipper Race to prove its credentials in the international sporting arena.
Qingdao’s participation in the race helped the Chinese city win the right to stage the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and its continued presence in the race – this is the fourth consecutive appearance – has helped establish it as one of China’s premier sailing venues, while Perth’s bid to host this year’s 2011 ISAF World Sailing Championships was supported by its hosting of the Clipper Race fleet in 2005 and 2007. In addition, Glasgow, which will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games fielded an entry, Glasgow: Scotland with style, in four consecutive editions of the race from 2000 to 2008.
British sailing legend, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69, is celebrating 15 years as chairman of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the unique event which has created the opportunity for almost 3,000 people from all walks of life to experience the thrills of ocean racing.
Sir Robin says, 'Fewer people have raced around the world than have climbed Mount Everest; it remains one of life’s great challenges and experiences. Over the last 15 years we have discovered the power of the race to change not only the lives of our crews, but we have also seen it transform perceptions and prospects for the participating global cities, regions and countries. The Clipper Race creates a powerful platform at ports of call around the world where our destination sponsors and their partners can network together to develop international trade, promote tourism and celebrate culture.'
In the eighth edition of the biennial Clipper Race which set out from Southampton on the south coast of the UK on 31 July, trade, tourism and cultural programmes have been established to build on successful pilot initiatives which have seen deals done, trade agreements signed, tourism enquiries generated, universities promoted, knowledge exchanged, cultures shared and powerful economic impact generated on top of extensive international media attention.
'We have learned a lot in 15 years and for Clipper 11-12 have brought this all together in a programme which helps our destination sponsors to be even more successful,' added Sir Robin.