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Abell Point Marina to welcome Clipper Fleet in January

By Mark Beale

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the world’s longest ocean race, will stop in the Whitsundays Airlie Beach this January for the first time in its nineteen year history.

The biennial 40,000 mile Clipper Race is regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. It was established in 1996 by British yachting legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world, to allow anyone, regardless of previous experience, the chance to experience the exhilaration of ocean racing.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to Airlie Beach for the first time,” said Sir Robin. “As well as being a stunning location for our crew members and partners, it is also an excellent international platform for the Whitsundays to promote itself and its strengths to our global race community.”

Airlie Beach marks the end of the Australian Coast to Coast Leg which starts in Albany, Western Australia in early December and will also include the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The fleet of twelve matched 70 foot racing yachts, including over 250 international crew and the Clipper Race’s first female Australian Skipper Wendo Tuck from Sydney who leads the Da Nang- Viet Nam team, will arrive in Abell Point Marina between 12 -15 January 2016, after racing from Hobart, and will be berthed there until Monday 18 January.

Paul Darrouzet, owner of newly revitalised Abell Point Marina, commented: “The Clipper Race stopover provides a fantastic opportunity for Abell Point Marina to showcase the beautiful Whitsundays and its picture-perfect sailing playground and experiences to its international audience.

“The Whitsundays look forward to welcoming Clipper Race crew and supporters to Abell Point Marina and sharing some good quality Whitsundays hospitality to all involved.”

Abell Point Marina in partnership with Whitsunday Regional Council, Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce, Whitsundays Marketing and Development, Tourism Events Queensland, the Abell Point Yacht Club and local businesses are planning a fun-filled schedule to celebrate the arrival of the Clipper Race crew and are encouraging the local community and travelling visitors to jump on board with all the action.

The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind in the world which trains amateurs to take on the world’s most challenging oceans under the leadership of professional skippers. Crews come from all walks of life, represent more than 40 different nationalities and are aged 18 to 70 plus. More than a third are female and 40 per cent of crew have no sailing experience before they sign up to take part as full training is provided.

Having started in London, UK, on August 30 this year, the overall circumnavigation is divided into eight individual legs and takes eleven months to complete. Its global series of races crosses six continents and encounters some of Mother Nature’s toughest conditions. Crew can choose to sign up to either the whole circumnavigation or individual legs.

Following the Australian Coast to Coast Leg, the Clipper 2015-16 Race sets sail on its South East Asian Leg to Qingdao, China via Da Nang- Viet Nam. It will then visit Seattle, Panama, New York. After, Derry Londonderry – Northern Ireland and Den Helder – the Netherlands, before its big finish in London on 30 July 2016.

To check out more about the Airlie Beach stopover or to book your piece of the action, go to


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