Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015

16 amateur sailors will represent China’s sailing city of Qingdao in the 2015-2016 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which sets sail from London on August 30.

16 Amateur Sailors Represent Qingdao In Clipper Race

This is the largest contingent of Chinese crew to participate in a single edition of the race and also marks the sixth time Qingdao has entered the biennial race, making it the longest consecutive team partnership in the event's history.

The 40,000-mile Clipper Race is the world's longest ocean race and is uniquely for amateur sailors under the command of professional skippers.

“The Qingdao ambassadors have impressed me greatly with their professionalism, eagerness and positive attitudes,” says Qingdao Team Skipper Igor Gotlibovych. “The Clipper Race training is notoriously tough but they have fully embraced the experience and I¹m looking forward to welcoming them back on board during the race.”

16 Amateur Sailors Represent Qingdao In Clipper Race 3

The 16 crewmembers, selected during a tough application process and trial in Qingdao, have been split into two groups of eight to receive their intensive four-week training programme at the Clipper Race headquarters in Gosport, Portsmouth Harbour, UK.

“I have really enjoyed the Clipper Race training. From Levels one to four, the offshore training has been excellent and we've had great skippers leading us and crew to train alongside,” says crewmember Chen Jie.  “Sailing is not only about enjoying the sport, but also to learn and understand how you get on with other people and nature, and learning to respect others.”

16 Amateur Sailors Represent Qingdao In Clipper Race 4

(Photo: Martin Pickles/Qingdao Race Team) 

Each level of training is physically and mentally challenging and aims to develop seamanship, competence and build an individual's confidence in an authentic race-style setting to prepare them ahead of the unique challenge.

The Clipper Race fleet consists of 12 identically matched 70-foot ocean racing yachts which were built in Qingdao, China in 2012 and participated for the first time in the 2013-14 edition.

16 Amateur Sailors Will Represent Qingdao In Clipper Race

(Dan 'The Outlaw' Hardy)

Joining team Great Britain in the Clipper Race is British UFC legend and commentator Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy. He will join the London to Rio de Janerio opening leg of the race. Hardy is the first of a team of UK athletes and personalities who will also join the British team.

16 Amateur Sailors Represent Qingdao In Clipper Race 2

The Clipper 2015-16 Race sets sail from London and takes almost a year to complete. The 12-strong race fleet of Clipper 70 yachts will arrive to a spectacular welcome in Qingdao at the end of the Asia Pacific Leg from Australia, in March 2016.