Hong Kong is playing host to the eight yachts and their crews of the Clipper 2002 Round the World Yacht Race. The first yacht sailed into Victoria Harbour Friday 28 March after successfully completing the Sinotrans Race from Shanghai to Hong Kong.
A press conference held today, 31 March 2003, at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club officially welcomed the Clippers for their three-week stopover in Hong Kong.
The Clipper 2002 Race Director, Colin de Mowbray, expressed his delight about the arrival of the yachts in Hong Kong. He said: "Hong Kong has always been a special place for the Clipper Race. It marks not only the halfway stage but also one of the most exciting and dramatic places for any seafarer to visit. The memories these 120 crew members will have as they sail up Victoria Harbour will be with them for life."
"This visit will be especially exciting, as we have 'Hong Kong Clipper' as one of our eight yachts. Skipper Justin Taylor and his crew have been proudly representing and promoting Hong Kong around the world and the yacht has received a very warm welcome to her mother port,"
he added. The Invest Hong Kong-sponsored yacht clinched victory in the first race from Liverpool to Cascais in Portugal last November and also won the Hawaii to Yokohama race in early March.
The Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong, John Wan, also extended his warm welcome. He said: "We commend everyone involved for an extraordinary performance. Of course, we are especially proud of the 'Hong Kong Clipper,' which has represented Asia's World City so successfully."
He added: "Invest Hong Kong's sponsorship of the 'Hong Kong Clipper' gives us an opportunity to associate our city's unique competitive advantages with a highly demanding and challenging sporting event. Team spirit and the dedication are attributes that the crew shares with the people of Hong Kong."
Justin Taylor also commented: "My crew and I feel extremely proud to be representing Hong Kong whilst racing around the world. We have been very well received in all the ports we have visited and I have been amazed by the interest and enthusiasm the name of this yacht has created. This visit is going to be one of the great highlights of this marathon race for everyone, not just the lucky ones in Hong Kong Clipper!"
After the stopover in Hong Kong, the Clipper fleet will join the San Fernando Race 2003 organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
The Commodore of the Yacht Club, Dr Alan Lau, said: "For the second year, the Clipper fleet will be racing with us to San Fernando in the Philippines. We hope to share in their stories ashore and join in friendly competition on the water.
"We hope everyone from the Clipper fleet is enjoying our accommodation and services here at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. My sincere thanks to the Clipper Ventures and Invest Hong Kong for bringing the Clipper fleet here."
CLIPPER 2002 OVERALL RACE ORDER:
(Provisional after 8 races)