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The Chinese yachts Zhuhai, Qingdao, and Sanya will set sail from London's St. Katherine Dock on Sept 1 after a week's preparation for an 11-month 40,000-nautical-mile global adventure in the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
For the first time in the event's 23-year history, three Chinese yachts are taking part at the same time. They will arrive at the marina on Aug 24 along with other eight identical Clipper 70 yachts and stay a week.
British yachtsman Chris Brooks in front of the yacht Qingdao
The fleet will cross the Atlantic to South America, the South Atlantic to South Africa, and the Southern Ocean's Roaring Forties to West Coast Australia. It will sail on to East Coast Australia, and back into the Northern Hemisphere for three China legs: Sanya, Zhuhai, and Qingdao. The Pacific Ocean will then be crossed to West Coast USA before going through the Panama Canal to East Coast USA. After a final Atlantic crossing, the fleet will be back in the UK as fully proven ocean racers.
Zhuhai, a newcomer to the event, will have Nick Leggatt from Cape Town, South Africa, as its skipper. The 52-year-old has circumnavigated the globe three times and set five world speed sailing records.
Nick Leggatt on the yacht Zhuhai
Qingdao, having been part of the race eight consecutive times, is the longest serving Chinese city. It finished in a record-breaking third place last year and is seeking further success under the leadership of Chris Brooks, a 32-year-old British yachtsman.
Reigning champion Sanya will have at the helm 26-year-old Seumas Kellock from Scotland, the youngest skipper in this edition.
Each yacht will have 16 selected Ambassador Crews to promote their cities in the world tour. The Zhuhai yacht will include international crews from 11 countries and regions, while Sanya and Qingdao will also each comprise international crews from 10 countries and regions.
Seumas Kellock with the yacht Sanya [Photos courtesy clipperroundtheworld.com]
Its stature rising as a yachting city, Zhuhai will debut next year as a Team Partner and Host Port in the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Eighteen Zhuhai Ambassadors selected on March 15 include Wu Kefu, who recently graduated as a research assistant from an unnamed Zhuhai university campus.
Nick Leggatt, a 52-year-old seasoned yachtsman from Cape Town, South Africa, will skipper the yacht Zhuhai during the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.