New fleet for Clipper
The initiative is part a five year development strategy which includes plans to build a fleet of 12 new boats costing an estimated £6m, with each of these boats to be sponsored by an international city, each from a different country.
"This will pit city against city, nation against nation and give the race a fresh competitive edge," said Sir Robin. There will also be a new route for the race, which will take in all the major business regions of the world.
It was this international vision that sparked the interest of Fast Track, the leading sports marketing agency, to enter into a strategic alliance with Clipper. Fast Track will market the whole deal on a worldwide basis.
Fast Track, whose board members include Alan Pascoe and Sebastian Coe, operate across the sporting spectrum and have developed a first-class reputation for successfully promoting sailing events, having worked on the America’s Cup, Cowes Week and Volvo Ocean Race 2001. Fast Track will receive a fixed commission of the new sponsorship money they bring in. Both sides see the deal as a good fit between businesses.
Edward Leask, co-founder of Fast Track and himself a double Olympic yachtsman, said: "We are delighted by this alliance with Clipper Ventures. The company has really ambitious plans and we look forward to playing a significant part in growing further this outstanding race."
Sir Robin, record breaking sailor and chairman of Clipper, added: "This is a very exciting deal for Clipper. Fast Track are experts in the sports marketing field and provide a great fit with our business. They will be able to build on the success we have achieved while at the same time adding new focus in the drive to win sponsorship.
"Fast Track have a great team and an enviable network of contacts around the world. Their senior management share our vision for the future of the races and have a common view of how to develop them for the good of the business.
"The tie-up also blends well with the developments we are planning for the next five years. The new theme of the race, pitting nation against nation, will give the race new global appeal. The new route and bigger fleet will allow us to improve profitability on the back of what will be a unique yachting offering."
Twelve 68ft, 18 berth Ed Dubois designed boats, which will all be built from a single mould and take two years to complete, will be ready in time for the 2005 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. They will replace the current fleet of eight Clipper 60s which will have been around the world four times.
The Clipper Race is one of two round the world yacht races run by Clipper Ventures. Crew members pay a fee of up to £26,500 to join the 11 month race. The new boats will allow Clipper to sell nearly double the number of berths. The next race sets sail from Liverpool on 27 October 2002.
The second race in the Clipper Ventures stable is the Around Alone, a solo grand prix challenge for the world’s leading sailors. The 2002 race leaves from New York on September 15 as part of the ‘Sail for America’ commemorative event. Fast Track will undertake a similar role on the 2006 Around Alone, which will be subject to further significant announcements later this year.
Clipper Ventures has secured three new race partners for this year’s Around Alone. Raymarine are providing the race management system, which plots the position and performance of boats, Tiscali has designed the new race website - www.aroundalone.com which launches this week - and Stratos are supplying the ship-to-shore satellite communications.