Published: Friday, 17 June 2016

Clipper Ventures Plc, the founder company of Clipper Round the World Yacht Race rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq Stock Market in the morning June 16 to mark the arrival of their fleet into New York in the 20th anniversary year of the business.

Clipper Ventures Rings Nasdaq Stock Market Opening Bell For New York Arrival

(Photos: Clipper Venture - Clipper Venture Chairman Robin Knox-Johnston and CEO William Ward)

Business competitors have come and gone but over the last 20 years, since the first race in 1996, the biennial event has become the world’s biggest and longest ocean race. With crew numbers at record levels and a healthy portfolio of sponsors, it is the most successful ocean racing business of its type in the world today, producing healthy profits with a highly sustainable long-term future.

The arrival of the company’s wholly owned and operated fleet of 12 third-generation identical one-design Clipper 70-foot ocean racing yachts (the world’s biggest fleet of large matched ocean racers) in New York is being celebrated in partnership with the Nasdaq to mark the 10th edition of the Clipper Race now nearing the end of its 2015-16 global series.

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Company founders William Ward, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston rang the opening bell together.

“We have brought the business a long way in the last 20 years,” says Ward. “There is no one else operating a global ocean race like this and it has continued to grow with the latest fleet of 12 70-foot purpose-built yachts creating expanded capacity with over 700 participants representing more than 40 nationalities in the latest edition of the race. Add to our impressive portfolio of sponsorship partners representing consumer and business brands, as well as some of the world’s leading destinations, and you can see what a successful formula it is.”

Clipper Venture Chairman Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail around the world solo and non-stop in 1968-69. The company has created a network of thousands of crew, business and government leaders around the world.

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“We have created a powerful business event integrated into the adventure of ocean racing, a floating trade mission where partners activate in their most relevant markets,” Knox-Johnston says.“I am very pleased with what we have achieved over the last 20 years, transforming thousands of crew through their experience and boosting trade and tourism, among many other important objectives, for our partners. I think it is very symbolic to be marking our arrival in New York during our 20th anniversary year by being invited to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market opening bell. Thank you Nasdaq.”

Clipper Ventures is heralded by the UK Government as a GREAT British success story. The race is featuring in the GREAT campaign promoting the UK around the globe for business, investment, tourism and more. Clipper Ventures works directly with the Prime Minister’s office in London, which coordinates the GREAT campaign and uses the Clipper Race to promote Britain. Prime Minister Cameron recently appointed Chief Executive William Ward as a GREAT ambassador.

The current race started from London August 30 last year and will return there July 30 – it has visited Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Vietnam, China, Panama as well as both US coasts. From New York it will go to Northern Ireland and the Netherlands before returning to London. 

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The race has developed a strong global network of destinations over the last 20 years with well-established government and business links that are of value to race partners. (The race was originally named after the19th Century tea Clippers that raced each other back to London). Olympic sailing venue Qingdao in China has the longest partnership with the race spanning six editions over 12 years and has been key in developing the city’s status as China’s ‘sailing city’ as well as promoting the wider economy and international trade. 

During partner activation in New York, brand sponsors which share the team's names such as Garmin and UK FinTech company LMAX Exchange, or destinations such as GREAT Britain, Visit Seattle and Da Nang - Viet Nam, will hold a wide range of events on and off the water. It is so much more than a floating billboard and although the crew is very diverse, there are also many executives and business owners aboard too.

The Clipper Race shared its global perspective, with specially invited guests in the afternoon at the Nasdaq Market Site, on market trends and opportunities observed in its engagement with businesses and countries on the race route and also shared leadership lessons that can be translated from winning teams in tough conditions on the water in the Clipper Race back into companies facing challenging business environments in global markets.