|Getting ready: Australian professional skipper Wendy Tuck will lead the Da Nang-Viet Nam yacht team racing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for 2015-16. Da Nang will host the team as a home port next February. — Photo courtesy Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
DA NANG (VNS) — The central city and Clipper Ventures, the UK-based operator of the Clipper Race, yesterday officially signed a sponsorship agreement for the Da Nang-Viet Nam team.
The yacht team will be competing in the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, which is the longest ocean race in the world, spanning a distance of more than 40,000 nautical miles.
As scheduled, Da Nang is the only official Southeast Asian host port for the famous worldwide yacht race.
"Da Nang is the first Vietnamese city to join the race. The city's images will be promoted in many countries, focusing on famous cities and destinations, such as New York, Cape Town, Rio De Janeiro, Sydney and London," David Cusworth, the company's crew recruitment and development director, said.
"The race will be broadcast on global television to millions of viewers around the world. The race also brings in more than 240 crew members and their families, who will arrive at Da Nang's ports next year. They will then go home to share many stories of the city," he said, adding that he was impressed with the city during his second visit.
"I know the race will showcase Da Nang to the world through the Clipper Race, and our crew will be very excited to learn they are coming to this beautiful part of Viet Nam."
David said many business partners wanted to build a relationship with the city through the race.
Vice chairman of the city's people's committee Dang Viet Dung said Da Nang is extremely proud to be the Southeast Asian host port and team sponsor of the Clipper Race.
"We hope to promote Da Nang's culture and its potential for tourism as well as promote investment opportunities," he said.
Australian professional skipper Wendy Tuck, 50, from Sydney, who is currently participating in a training course with her crew in the English Channel, will lead the Da Nang-Viet Nam team during the race, with 20 crew members.
She sent a message: "On behalf of myself and my crew, I feel very honoured to be leading the first ever Da Nang-Viet Nam team entry.
"We look forward to a great reception on arrival at our home port of Da Nang and to learning more about Vietnamese culture and traditions, which we will do our best to promote as we race around the world."
Following the signing of the sponsorship agreement, Da Nang will provide funds of 500,000 pounds (more than US$775,000) to the team.
Deputy director of the city's Foreign Affairs Department Nguyen Cong Tien said the city will select either a symbol of the Ngu Hanh Son Mountains (Marble Mountain) or the city's tourism logo, Fantastic City, to promote the city's image on the yacht.
He said the organising committee will conduct a survey to determine which of the city's ports in Son Tra or on the Han River should be used as the starting port of the race.
Tien said the city will host a series of cultural and investment forums when the race participants are docked at the city's port in mid-February next year.
The Da Nang-Viet Nam team will also recruit a Vietnamese crew member to take part in a section of the race from Australia to Qingdao, China.
The city will also send a representative to take part in the launch of the race in London on August 30.
Legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, also welcomed the sponsorship announcement.
"We are thrilled to be taking the Clipper Race to the Vietnamese city of Da Nang for the first time. Da Nang will discover that we provide a powerful platform for boosting international trade, investment, economic impact and tourism, together with enhanced social, cultural and diplomatic relations."
The central city will likely serve as the checkpoint for the Vietnamese leg in Race 8, the Asia Pacific Challenge.
The 2015-16 Clipper Race will start from London's St Katharine Docks, parade down the River Thames and start the 40,000-mile round-the-world yacht race in late August before crossing 138 countries and territories and international ports.
It's expected that 700 people from more than 40 countries will take part, and 3,000 novice sailors have been transformed into ocean racers throughout Clipper Race history so far. — VNS