Clipper 05-06 sets sail from the Albert Dock in Liverpool (UK) on Sunday, 18 September 2005, and returns in the summer of 2006 after some 35,000 miles of intense competition on the high seas.
Designed by Dubois Naval Architects, one of the World's foremost yacht design houses, and built by Shanghai Double Happiness Yachts in China, the ten-strong fleet will be raced by international teams of 17 crew each under the guidance of one professional skipper.
Race title defenders Jersey (Channel Islands) will face strong competition from a formidable international field including Liverpool (UK), Durban (South Africa), Fremantle (Western Australia), Singapore and Glasgow (Scotland).
Representing these cities are:
Tim MAGEE (27) from Cowes, Isle of Wight, will skipper the groundbreaking Liverpool 08 yacht, promoting Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008
Mark TAYLOR (41) from Stoke Flemming in Devon will be defending Jersey Clipper's race title on board the Island's 68-foot yacht, which is backed by UBS AG and Dandara
Craig MILLAR (42) from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa has won the race to skipper Durban Clipper, the port city's ocean racer sponsored by Durban Africa
David PRYCE (34) from Tasmania, Australia, will skipper the Westernaustralia.com Clipper. Western Australia's involvement in the Clipper 05-06 Race has been secured by EventsCorp, a division of Tourism Western Australia
Graeme JOHNSTON (35), Glaswegian born but now living in Hamble on the UK's South Coast, will take the helm of the 'Glasgow: Scotland With Style Clipper' with the backing of Glasgow City Council
Richard FALK (37) from Leichhardt, NSW, Australia, has won the race to skipper the 'Uniquely Singapore Clipper,' the Singapore Tourism Board's ocean racer. Sentosa and PSA International, the first two Race Partners of 'Uniquely Singapore,' will join STB in supporting Singapore's involvement
The remaining four city sponsors will be revealed over the coming months and each yacht will be assigned to one of the following Clipper Ventures skippers:
Jonathan BAILEY (38) from Carlisle, Cumbria
Daniel WATSON (35) from Beckenham, Kent
Conor FOGERTY (33) from Howth, Co Dublin
Ewan HIND (27) from Brixham, Devon
The Clipper 05-06 course starts by following the traditional tea clipper route to Australia via Southern Africa, providing a sleigh ride through the Roaring Forties of the infamous Southern Ocean. After a brief respite to catch their breath, the boats will head for Singapore and mainland China before taking the passage across the northern Pacific to the west coast of Canada and the United States. The Panama Canal follows, then the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast, before the final dash across the northern Atlantic to the Channel Island of Jersey and home to Liverpool.
Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON, Patron of Sea Liverpool, commented: 'Tackling this unique challenge, with its roaring gales and towering seas, as well as the frustrations of tricky calm spells, is no mean feat, but I am confident that the skippers we've selected are very much up for the challenge of competitively racing the new Dubois yachts around the world.
'The individuals must also balance the needs of our city sponsors and official race partners, as well as having the ability to draw the line between competitiveness and safety, whilst also motivating a sometimes exhausted crew into an enthusiastic and committed team.
'Congratulations are due to each of the final 10 skippers, as they have been thoroughly put through their paces in the most demanding skipper selection we have had to date.'
On Saturday 4 June, the Clipper crews will be assigned to the teams in which they will embark on the grueling maritime marathon and will be introduced to their respective skippers at St. George's Hall in Liverpool. This will be the moment, after months of anticipation, that the crews discover which nation they will represent for their participation; it will also be the first time that the crews discover who they will be sharing their ocean racing experience with and have an opportunity to get to know fellow crew members.