|At 40,000 nautical miles in length, the Clipper Race takes eleven months to complete. It is the only event of its kind that trains amateur sailors to race around the world, with 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew having never sailed before they start their extensive training. — Photo VNS Hoai Nam
DA NANG (VNS) — With less than two weeks to go until the world famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race arrives in Viet Nam on February 17, Da Nang is counting down to its hosting the international crew and showing itself off to a global audience.
The Clipper Race, including a Da Nang-Viet Nam team with city resident and crew member Nguyen Tran Minh An on board, arrives in Da Nang shortly after the Tet Lunar New Year Festival. The stopover, running from February 17 to 27, marks the end of the 7th of 14 global stages that make up the world's longest ocean race, the only event of its kind that enables amateur sailors to circumnavigatethe world.
World famous yachtsman and Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the worldin 1968-69, who is also making his first visit to Viet Nam, said, "Clipper Race crews and supporters have been looking forward to the Da Nang stopover with huge anticipation ever since we announced the news last summer, so to be just days away now is very exciting for all involved, including myself.
"As our international crew members become fully immersed in Vietnamese culture and make a positive impact on local tourism, we also invite the people of Da Nang and its surrounding communities to join us to celebrate the Clipper Race spirit of adventure and discovery. This is a unique journey and there will be plenty of great opportunities to get very close and experience these colourful boats and meet the remarkable crews that are competing in this tough challenge."
After arriving for a special Vietnamese welcoming ceremony in Han River Port, more than 200 international crew members, who come from all walks of life and represent over 20 different nationalities, will have the chance to participate in many different cultural activities in Da Nang.
Such events include the Cau Ngu (The worshipping of the whale) Festival, barefoot beach runs, kayaking, basket shaking and mesh making demonstrations, as well as a visit to a local Unicef Day Care Centre for Children, the chance to enjoy traditional musical performances and, of course, try local culinary delights.
In turn, members of the community are invited to come to the Han River Port daily between February 23 to 25 to take tours of the race yachts and meet the crews at local events to better understand what life is like on board one of the toughest endurance challenges that exists on the planet.
There is also an opportunity to see the Clipper Race fleet parade, as it sails through the Han Bridge, which will swing open to allow the yachts to sail down the river as far as the fire and water breathing Rong (Dragon) Bridge on the evening of February 25.
Huynh Duc Tho, Chairman of the Da Nang city's People's Committee, noted, "We have followed the Da Nang-Viet Nam team proudly since the Clipper Race departed London last summer,
and with the race fleet now just days away, we look forward to welcoming all the crews to Da Nang."
"We have an action packed stopover planned for the crews, who have travelled over half way round the world to get here. We want to ensure that our long sandy beaches, rich culture and warm hospitality creates a memorable experience in our fantastic city, making a return visit for crew members and Clipper Race supporters inevitable."
A first-time Host Port and Team Sponsor of the Clipper Race, the city of Da Nang is using its partnership as an opportunity to boost trade, investment and tourism, along with improving its social and diplomatic relations.
As a fast-growing, tourism-friendly city, gifted by nature with a beautiful river, mountains and beaches, Da Nang is striving to become a world-class destination for tourists. It has been named Number One in the Tripadvisor 2015 Top 10 World's Destinations on the Rise.
At 40,000 nautical miles in length, the Clipper Race takes eleven months to complete. It is the only event of its kind that trains amateur sailors to race around the world, with 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew having never sailed before they start their extensive training.
Before arriving in Da Nang, the Clipper Race has already visited London, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Albany, Sydney and the Whitsundays in Australia. Da Nang is the first South East Asian stopover on the Clipper 2015-16 Race circuit.
The Clipper Race departs Da Nang on February 27 to sail to Qingdao, China, then continues on to Seattle, Panama, New York, Derry Londonderry – Northern Ireland and Den Helder – the Netherlands, before returning in a victorious homecoming parade in London on July 30, 2016. — VNS