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Countdown Begins to Welcome Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to Singapore



With the first yachts expected over the coming weekend, first-time host city Singapore is putting the final touches to a rousing welcome for the boats and crew in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Organised by the Singapore Tourism Board and its race partners Sentosa Cove, PSA International, Keppel Corporation and Team Singapore, a showcase of the best of Singapore – a heady blend of modernity and rich cultural traditions – await the race yachts and crew.

Mr Ken Low, Acting Assistant Chief Executive, Brand and Communications at STB, said, “Singapore is one of two Asian cities participating in the Clipper race for the first time. We want to give our international visitors and the international sailing fraternity a Uniquely Singapore experience they will not forget in their journey round the world.”

The beat of an ethnic drum ensemble will usher in the yachts and crew as they sail in to berth at Keppel Bay. In fitting style, champagne will be served to celebrate the end of the fifth race from Fremantle to Singapore.

On January 17, when most of the yachts are expected to cross the finish line, crew members can look forward to a welcome party with hearty local fare hosted by Keppel and graced by Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the President of the Singapore National Olympic Council. Minister Teo will present the Uniquely Singapore Cup to the winning Clipper for the leg from Fremantle and Singapore. That evening, the Singapore Tourism Board will organise a free city tour for the Clipper crew members, with a stop in Chinatown to take in the bustling Chun Jie festivities and dazzling light-up for Chinese New Year.

The main highlight of the Clipper Singapore stopover is the three-day Singapore Festival Village at Sentosa Cove. It will be opened on 20 January at 4pm by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Second Minister for Trade and Industry. He will be involved in a special sail-past of all 10 Clipper yachts during the grand opening celebrations, which is open to the public.

Over the next two days, on 21 and 22 January, the Singapore Festival Village will be a hub of sporting activity, particularly sailing. There will be sailing demonstrations by the Singapore Sailing Federation and opportunities for the public to sail with the federation’s members on Optimist, Pico and Byte water crafts. Also available are tryouts on the first sailing simulator brought into Singapore by the Singapore Sports Council. For the first time, the Sentosa Cove Sail Boat Race will be held. It is the largest scale race in Singapore featuring large-scale remote controlled model boats, which visitors can try out themselves.

Team Singapore athletes, including national sailors, will meet and greet fans and well-wishers. Come up close to the 10 Clipper yachts, including the Uniquely Singapore Clipper, and let the crew members regale all with tales of their adventure so far. A rare treat is the sailing talk by Sir Robin-Knox Johnston, founder and chairman of Clipper Ventures which is behind the Clipper Race. Adding to the festivities are the five-a-side Singapore Festival Village Football Challenge and pavilions devoted to local food, popular brands and sports.

As the Clipper yachts take to the water again for their next race to Qingdao, on 27 January, Singaporeans are being urged to come out in force to join Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong in sending them off from Keppel Bay.

STB’s Mr Low said, “This is an ideal opportunity for all Singaporeans to show their support of the Uniquely Singapore Clipper. Though many are sailing novices, the crew members have put in a good fight in the race so far. The Singaporeans and permanent residents on board have also been Singapore’s roving tourism ambassadors at the various ports of call. We are proud of them and wish them the best.”

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