Clipper Ventures signs £427,000 rights deal with Durban for Clipper 2005 Round the World Yacht Race stopover

Clipper Ventures Plc, the AIM listed ocean racing company, has today announced that the port city of Durban will represent South Africa in the Clipper 2005 Round the World Yacht Race, joining the UK city of Liverpool and the State of Western Australia in a highly competitive international line-up.

In a £427,000 ($5m Rand) deal, the city of Durban will provide a cash rights fee and event hosting infrastructure and services during a high profile race stopover in November 2005. The Clipper fleet’s stay in Durban Bay will be hosted by its main marina, served by the Point Yacht Club and Royal Natal Yacht Club.

Clipper Venture’s Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, said: “Durban’s expedient location and excellent yachting facilities make it a natural stopover. With the return of South Africa to the international yachting fold, more sailors than ever are experiencing first hand this country’s many attractions.

“As a nation, South Africa has a close affinity with round-the-world racing and its predisposition towards competitive sport stands the Durban entry in good stead. The port city plays an important role in the country’s sporting arena; it boasts a thriving yachting fraternity and the national sailing scene is also immensely competitive.”

The rugged east coast of South Africa is one of the most notorious coastlines in the world; powerful winds and huge seas are more the norm than the exception. With large Southern Ocean rollers meeting the strong flowing Agulhas current, sailing conditions can be very lively on the approach to South Africa and will test the Clipper crews to their limits.

The hunt is now on for a complement of South African men and women to crew the Durban yacht, as well as a professional South African skipper to take the helm. Many of the crews will cut their offshore teeth for the first time on the Clipper 2005 Race, as no sailing experience is required prior to joining the intense Clipper training.