By Christine Lavelle
A BID to bring the world famous Clipper Race to Edinburgh for the first time has been backed by one of Britain’s top yachtsmen.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo around the world without stopping, in 1969, said that hosting the event would put a global focus on Edinburgh.
The Clipper round-the-world yacht race takes place every two years and consists of eight legs covering 35,000 miles.
Sir Robin, chairman of Clipper Ventures, which hosts the race, said: “We are delighted that the city of Edinburgh is keen to field another entry to the Clipper Race and is working with us, its partners and city businesses to make it happen.
“The Clipper Race is a proven global platform for trade and investment.
“It would also be a real first for Scotland, to bring an international round-the-world yachts race and its influential sponsors to the Capital.”
City business leaders and council members met earlier this week to discuss making Edinburgh one of race’s stopovers for the 2011-12 event.
Inspiring Capital, Edinburgh’s bid in this year’s 10-boat race, has already media exposure for the city worth close to £1m during the first six months of its voyage.
Council leader Jenny Dawe said: “I support Clipper in efforts to not only continue Edinburgh’s participation but also to explore the possibility of bringing the race here.”
The most recent race, which ended this week with Spirit of Australia taking gold, left from the Humber River in England on September 13 2009 – attracting 150,000 people, a global media audience and brought an estimated £9.3m to the region.
The Inspiring Capital crew will return home this week after completing their challenge of 10 months at sea, covering 14 races and visiting six continents.
On Saturday the 40-strong crew will sail back down the Humber River to attend a prize giving ceremony at the Hull Marina.
Since the first event in 1996, almost 2,000 people have taken part, racing stripped down, 68ft yachts for months at a time.