Clipper Race and the coronavirus battle

Published on January 28th, 2020

While the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will never be confused with any of the great offshore tests in our sport, it is undeniably successful. Held biennially, it commercially flourishes while the Whitbread/Volvo/The Ocean Race shifts to remain relevant.

Now in its 12th edition, the Clipper Race recipe includes host fees, and for the 2019-20 course there are 15 ports that will welcome the 11 teams at each stopover. It is typical for high profile races to get fees, and the venues see it as an investment toward gaining exposure and commerce.

Big festivities get planned, but bigger than revenue is wellness, and that is the situation as the fleet now races from Australia to China.

The teams will finish in Sanya, known as the Hawaii of China, a go-to beach destination with miles of coastline, tropical climate, and upscale resorts. But once they arrive, there will be no celebrations due to the coronavirus battle in China.

As ground zero for the outbreak, the death toll has risen to 106 in China, with more than 4,565 cases of infection. Other countries are also reporting people infected, nearly all of them a result of travel in China.

Here is the notice from the race management:

“On instruction from government officials, the Sanya organizing committee has informed the Clipper Race that all activities planned for the stopover in its city have been cancelled and it is currently planned that there will be a simple arrival and departure for the fleet. We understand that this decision has not been taken lightly as Sanya was a fantastic host during the 2017-18 edition.

“At present, the fleet is continuing its race towards Sanya. We are continuing to talk with the Chinese authorities and sympathize that this is an issue which is continually developing. We will advise as soon as we have any further official information.”

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