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Finland Joins Clipper Yacht RaceSeptember 9, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox
Finland has been confirmed as an entry in the Clipper 2009-2010 Round-the-World Yacht Race, a debut for the Scandinavian country in the biennial event. The yacht, named Team Finland, will compete against nine identical stripped-down 68-foot racing yachts in the 35,000-mile race around the world, beginning September 13 and ending July 17, 2010.
Team Finland’s nine competitors are each sponsored by an international city, region or country, including Uniquely Singapore, Qingdao, Jamaica, and Hull Humber, all of whom will be making return appearances. Joining the race for the first time will be California, whose participation has been endorsed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger following the Clipper fleet’s inaugural visit to the state in the last edition of the race. Cape Breton Island, Spirit of Australia and Cork are also making their debuts and are joined by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital whose recent announcement was endorsed by a visit from His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The 2009-2010 race will start from the Humber on the east coast of England.
Endorsed by the Finnish Tourist Board, the country’s entry will act as a floating billboard during the course of the 10-month race, promoting the region as a tourist destination and reaching an audience of more than 200 million.
The Clipper Race was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed and non-sop around the world in 1969. He wanted others to be able to follow in his footsteps regardless of previous sailing ability; more than 40 percent of those taking part in the Clipper Race have never sailed before embarking on their pre-race training.
The crew for Clipper 2009-2010 come from all walks of life, representing more than 230 professions and 33 nationalities. A professional skipper leads each of the teams, with Team Finland led by Eero Lehtinen from Helsinki.