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23 March 2005, 05:39 pm
KNOX-JOHNSTON To Champion Sea Liverpool 2005
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2005-2006
Liverpool, Great Britain

Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON, ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1994 has been appointed patron of Liverpool's Capital of Culture themed year - Sea Liverpool 2005.
Sir Robin, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69, will champion the city's pledge to involve every child in a maritime activity during 2005.

Knighted in 1995, Sir Robin founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to encourage people who have never sailed before to take to the seas.

Liverpool's relationship with Sir Robin has developed since the city entered The Times Clipper 2000 Race; the city then became host port for the Clipper 2002-2003 Race and will be host port for the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 races.

The Clipper 2005-2006 Race leaves Liverpool at noon on Sunday 18 September. An estimated crowd of 100,000 people are expected to line the banks of the Mersey to wave off the 10 strong international fleet, which also features the 68-foot Liverpool '08 Clipper.

Sir Robin said: 'I am truly honoured to be patron of Sea Liverpool and to be part of the city's celebration of the sea… I believe the city's Sea Liverpool 2005 campaign is most admirable, for it assists children in gaining an understanding and appreciation of our oceans. The Clipper 05-06 race education programme will further acquaint them to the joy of supporting their local team in a competitive global arena.'

''The Clipper racing fleet, including the Liverpool '08 yacht, will join the Royal Navy's spectacular International Fleet Review in June - the biggest of its kind seen in the UK for a quarter century. The start of the Clipper 05-06 Race will also play an important part in the Sea Liverpool programme and we are overjoyed to be supporting this tremendous initiative.'

The Sea Liverpool pledge will see more than 1,000 nautical events staged in 2005, with the intention of giving the city's school children a taste of life at sea.

As part of the pledge, the city council is supporting Clipper Ventures' web-based educational programme for children to track the progress of the Clipper 2005-2006 Round the World Yacht Race.

Schools will chart the course of the Clipper 2005-2006 fleet as it sets sail from Liverpool's Albert Dock and races round the world, not only gaining a wealth of knowledge about sailing and travel, but also learning about the environment and cultures in other countries

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Mike STOREY, said: ''Sir Robin is an inspiration to sailors all over the world, and through the Clipper Race continues to bring sailing to new generations and new audiences. I can't think of a better person to have as Patron of Sea Liverpool 2005. Liverpool is lucky to have such an ambassador to promote our aims nationally and internationally… Our entire year is aimed at encouraging young people to participate in maritime activities. That is a pledge I know Sir Robin holds dearly and one which he will help us to achieve.''

This year's Capital of Culture theme corresponds with a national series of events, SeaBritain 2005, held to celebrate Britain's maritime heritage, centred on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Loretta Spridgeon (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© Event Media
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