Clipper Race adds new Chinese host in long-term deal

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has entered into a multi-million pound partnership with Zhuhai, through which the Chinese city will become a host port and team partner of the sailing event.

Under the agreement, Zhuhai and Jiuzhou Holdings will work with race organisers to stage legs during the 2019-20, 2021-22 and 2023-24 editions of the event.

The deal has been signed by Li Hongbin, vice-general manager of Zhuhai Jiuzhou Holdings, and Clipper Race chief executive William Ward. Zhuhai Jiuzhou Holdings already has experience of hosting major sailing events, such as the 2016 and 2017 China National Sailing Regatta and its own Jiuzhou Cup.

Ward said: “I’ve visited Zhuhai a number of times over the past few months and have been very impressed for a variety of reasons. Located close to Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao, Zhuhai is a place with strong geographic advantages, beautiful islands and coastline, excellent wind conditions for sailing, convenient transportation, and a comfortable climate, which are all crucial for water sports and tourism development.

“The Clipper Race’s three-race partnership with Zhuhai will not only provide a memorable and enriching cultural experience for our crew and race spectators, but the city of Zhuhai, will also greatly benefit from projecting its brand message around the world via our unique global sports and business platform.”

Zhuhai will join Sanya and Qingdao as one of the three Chinese stopovers on the 2019-20 Clipper Race schedule. The rest of the race route will be announced over the coming months, but Zhuhai is expected to host its first leg in early 2020.

The new team, which will include international crew members as well as selected Zhuhai Ambassador crew, will be named after Zhuhai.

Hu Tao, brand director of Zhuhai Jiuzhou Holdings Group, added: “The Clipper Race’s inclusive and human-spirited approach to life and adventure perfectly matches with Zhuhai’s green environment strategy.

“Zhuhai is also a city of rich leisure and tourism, with its beautiful island surroundings. Our water sports are in an important development stage and we believe that a partnership with such a noted global event as the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will help speed up our sailing development as we promote our ‘Islands and Sails’ capabilities to the world.”