Clipper Race to resume in March 2022

Published on November 15th, 2021

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which has been on hold in Asia due to COVID-19 restrictions, will resume its 2019-20 edition in March 2022 after receiving a Special Event Permit from the Philippines.

After sailing halfway around the world, and unable to reach the planned ports in China, the sailing event was suspended 18 months ago in Subic Bay, Philippines. This new permission will enable Clipper Race organizers and Race Crew to return to the country for the restart.

The eleven Clipper 70 ocean racing yachts had raced over 20,000 nautical miles from London, with stops in Portimão (Portugal), Punta del Este (Uruguay), Cape Town (South Africa), Fremantle and The Whitsundays (Australia), but have remained in Subic Bay Yacht Club since March 2020 after organizers and Race Crew had to return home.

Before the current edition was postponed, Clipper Race crew had crossed the Atlantic Ocean (North and South) and Indian Ocean, raced towards the Roaring Forties, and sailed around the Australian coast. They have also crossed the equator twice, experienced tropical heat and frigid cold and faced huge seas and flat calm.

The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind which trains people from all walks of life to become ocean racers. Participants sign up to compete in one or multiple legs, or the full eleven month and 40,000nm circumnavigation. Founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the sailing event recently celebrated 25 years since its first edition in 1996.

“We couldn’t be happier that the Philippines has recognized the Clipper Race as a special sporting event and we are very grateful for their support in allowing us to return to the country next year,” said Knox-Johnston. “We also extend our thanks to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the British Embassy in Manilla for their support in our application.

“This will have been the longest edition in our 25 year history. We appreciate it has been a long wait for our Race Crew competing in the outstanding stages of this circumnavigation. We are looking forward to getting back to our yachts in Subic Bay and continuing the Clipper 2019-20 Race.”

The Clipper Race sought to gain special event status from the Philippines’ national and regional government organizations, with support from the Embassy of the Philippines in London, to enable the restart of its 2019-20 edition.

Preventative COVID-19 controls will be in place to mitigate risk to Race Crew, staff and the Philippines community and to ensure the safe and successful restart of the race. These will involve a quarantine and testing program on arrival in the country, whilst staying in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Area and during the remainder of the circumnavigation.

Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Philippines Department of Tourism hope for the upcoming Clipper Race in Subic Bay to be a confidence booster for the Philippines as they prepare for the country’s reopening to international leisure travellers.

“The event will also benefit a number of sectors within our tourism industry, including our hotels, with the requirement of approximately 3,000 room nights, along with transport and yacht provisions for the crew,” noted Romulo-Puyat.

However, due to government restrictions, Chinese Host Ports Sanya and Zhuhai were unable to secure the required permission to allow their cities to host the Clipper Race as planned. The Qingdao Organizing Committee is still exploring options for its stopover in the sailing city of Qingdao.

Once the fleet departs the Philippines, the expected route is across the North Pacific Ocean to the USA where teams are expected to arrive by mid-April in Seattle, WA.

Editor’s note: We are trying to confirm the remaining route after Seattle but suspect it will include Panama; New York City, USA; Bermuda; Derry~Londonderry, N. Ireland; and finish in London, UK.

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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.

However, when the fleet arrived in Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic blocked the fleet from the planned routes in China. The 11 Clipper 70s have remained at Subic Bay Yacht Club in the Phillipines since March 2020 after organizers and Race Crew were forced to return home due to pandemic restrictions, with the restart now to take place in March 2022.

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