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Start Venue:  London, UK

Finish Venue:  TBC, UK

Title Sponsor:  Rotary Auaspeed

Start Date:  01 September 2013

This is the only race in the world where the organisers supply the fleet of 12 identical, 70-foot, stripped down racing yachts – each sponsored by a city, a region or a country – and man each with a fully-qualified skipper, employed to lead the crews safely around the globe.

Ten identical Clipper 68 yachts have been used for the last four editions of the Clipper Round the World race and in January 2011 a new fleet of boats was commissioned by Sir Robin Knox- Johnston. The third generation of Clipper yachts, 12 70-foot, Clipper 70 boats are currently being built in the Chinese port city of Qingdao. Designed by Tony Castro, the boats will feature twin helms and have extra crew capacity. Ward says the challenge of building an entirely new set of boats has “not been without hiccups”, adding: “It was at times immensely frustrating and difficult. We had to rethink how we did it; it changed timescales, it changed production lines but to be honest that’s what we do, that’s our expertise. We’ve got a good team for that. We’ve come through.” As for the existing fleet, Ward says: “Because everything is changed on a regular basis they’re worth near-on what they [originally] cost, although they cost an awful lot to maintain. That’s all written off within the year of the race. I’ll put two in Australia and set up a training school and corporate sailing and recruitment. We’ll keep four for corporate sailing, training, etc, and what’s left we will sell but we’re in no rush to sell them from a cash-flow perspective.”

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