And they’re off – the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is well under way after launching from Liverpool, UK, last Sunday.
Once again Airlie Beach will be the final stop out of the four Australian ports to feature in the 40,000-nautical mile race, before continuing on to race seven in Sanya, China.
The Whitsundays will come alive with festivities and fun when the 12 identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts sail into Abell Point Marina in January 2018 for the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.
The carnival is set to include a large-scale welcome event, a regional rodeo and a lunch on Whitehaven Beach.
The 11-month race is the biggest event of its kind on the planet and trains non-professional sailors to complete a circumnavigation.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival was an ideal way to remind the world that the region is a favourite destination for sailing enthusiasts from all over the world, as well as promote the whole region, including key attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef, Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach.
“We look forward to hosting the skippers and their crew, as well as family, friends and supporters of the race, and showing off the best the Whitsundays has to offer,” said Mr Turner.
“Hosting the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival is an ideal opportunity to highlight and promote the region’s many attractions and encourage visitors from all over the world to visit.”
The Whitsunday carnival was secured through a partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Whitsundays, Whitsunday Regional Council and Abell Point Marina.
The global route will also include Cape Town, Sanya, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama, New York, and Derry-Londonderry.
Seven hundred and twelve non-professional crew, including 12 Australians, representing 41 different nationalities will return to Liverpool’s Albert Dock after crossing six oceans and visiting 13 stopover ports on six continents, almost a year later for the race finish on July 18, 2018.
This opening leg of the 11-month series will take approximately 35 days to complete and is the longest ever in the race’s 21-year history.
The race is open to anyone, aged 18 and over, with no upper age limit.
Source: Whitsunday Times.