Clipper Race to restart in February 2022

Published on June 29th, 2021

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.

Held biennially, the 2019-20 Clipper Race got underway September 1 for the fleet of eleven identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. As the most subscribed round the world race, the 12th edition had attracted 688 crew representing 43 nationalities for the 41,000+ nm course.

The plan was for the race to finish in 2020 on August 8 in London, but while on course from Australia to China, the Clipper Race Organizing Committee found themselves facing a global pandemic.

Expected to arrive by mid-February 2020, the coronavirus outbreak forced a series of course revisions to avoid Sanya, Zhuhai, and Qindao. But a month later, locked down in the Philippines with nowhere to go, the committee was forced to make an unprecedented decision and postpone the balance of the race.

With the race half way done but stuck in place, the crew eventually was released from quarantine, with the Clipper 70s waiting for the next move. But now over a year later, that next move has yet to come. With hopes of restarting in August 2021, the plan now is to extend the postponement to nearly two years.

“When the next wave of COVID-19 hit the world hard, its effect on global travel made a restart this year untenable,” noted Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “On account of the unpredictable restrictions caused by the pandemic, the current edition will now restart from Subic Bay in February 2022.

With the Clipper 2019-20 Race now proposed to finish in August 2022, the 2022-23 edition has had to move back a year and become the Clipper 2023-24 Race, starting in late summer 2023. This also means that the 2024-25 edition will now become the Clipper 2025-26 Race, starting in late summer 2025.

“We have spent considerable time working through the complex issues that now face an international event such as ours and we strongly believe that restarting in February 2022 will enable us to have the best possible chance of delivering the Clipper Race as it is intended,” noted Knox-Johnston.

“It is important to us that we do our best to deliver the Clipper Race that our crew signed up for, with their safety, as well as the Clipper Race Team and Race Partners, as always, at the forefront. We are working hard to achieve this and are confident that global travel will be in a much better place from early next year.”

The remaining host ports on the course after the Philippines are Sanya, China; Zhuhai, China; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York City, USA; Bermuda; Derry~Londonderry, N. Ireland; and London, UK.

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