A Singapore welcome greeted the international fleet of 10 in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race as they sailed into Marina at Keppel Bay over the weekend to rousing cheers from Singaporeans, families and residents of Keppel Bay. Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of Keppel Corporation, ignited the ‘Torch of Passion', starting the welcome celebrations for the fleet which had just completed Race 7, a 4,600-mile race from Gold Coast, Australia, to Singapore.
At the ceremony, Guest-of-Honor Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, presented the Keppel-sponsored Singapore Cup to the winning team from Gold Coast Australia, who came in 79 minutes ahead of Derry-Londonderry while Geraldton Western Australia claimed third position. The Singapore yacht, sponsored by Keppel, returned home in fifth position.
Speaking at the welcome celebrations for the Clipper Race fleet, Dr Lee said, "This is the fourth time Keppel is playing host to the ten-strong international Clipper Race fleet and sponsoring the Singapore yacht.
"The Clipper Race has been an excellent platform to showcase Singapore and Keppel round the world. And with the world following the Clipper Race fleet to our island in the sun this morning, it will present Singapore as a regional sailing hub and a destination for world sporting events such as the Southeast Asian Games, which Singapore will host also for the fourth time in 2015."
Keppel Corporation is Team Sponsor for the Singapore yacht and Official Host Port for the Singapore stopover. The Singapore Tourism Board is Supporting Partner for the Singapore stopover. Keppel Bay Sailing Academy (KBSA) is also the only accredited training centre for the Clipper Race outside of the UK. KBSA is the first sailing academy in Singapore to provide sailing courses that are accredited by internationally recognised Royal Yachting Association (RYA) from the UK.
As part of the Group's commitment to nurture talents, three Keppel Ambassadors - Darryl Tai, Celina Chan and Karel Vandegehuchte - are sponsored to crew onboard the Singapore yacht on different race legs. They join more than 50 others from 11 nationalities between the ages of 18 to 67 years old to represent Singapore in the race.
Dr Lee added, "The Clipper Race has enabled us to build on our people development initiatives through which we challenge Keppelites as we call ourselves, to have a global mindset and a Can-Do! spirit to grow beyond. We have sponsored a total of 12 employees to date to crew onboard Singapore and our Keppel Ambassadors have flown both the Singapore and Keppel flag high around the world."
The 40,000-mile Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, the world's longest ocean race, started from Southampton, UK, on 31 July 2011. An all inclusive race, crew members come from all walks of life, many of whom have no prior sailing experience.
The race was founded by legendary yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world.
Sir Robin, who is in Singapore for the stopover, said, "This is the fourth time that there has been a Singapore entry in the Clipper Race and over the eight years we have witnessed the Caribbean and Reflections at Keppel Bay developments around the marina rise from the ground. But it's not only the growth of Keppel's premium developments that impresses, every race we return to see their award-winning marina fill and grow. Of course, with the race we visit a huge number of impressive marinas around the world, but it is rare to find a marina which manages to combine efficiency and style whilst caring for its environment, so it was great to hear that Keppel was awarded the Green Maritime Company 2011 award.
"It's not only Marina at Keppel Bay and its residences that have grown over the span of our partnership with Keppel. The Clipper Race has also grown, with more than 40 nationalities represented among the crews and we have a growing number of international partners with a variety of marketing and business aims. Each race sees our sponsors using our platform in new ways to achieve return on their objectives.
"In addition to our crews, I am pleased to welcome a number of our international yacht and race sponsors here today who have travelled to Singapore from
England, the Netherlands, Korea, Australia, and Scotland to establish and develop business relationships during the race stopover."
The yachts will be open to the public between 10am and 2pm on Sunday, 29 January and Tuesday, 31 January 2012. Race organiser, Clipper Ventures
, will also be holding two recruitment talks at The Island Suite, Marina at Keppel Bay, on Sunday, 29 January and 7pm on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 for those wishing to get on board for Clipper 13-14 Race and beyond. For more information, please visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com.
The Clipper Race fleet will continue on Race 8 from Keppel Bay, Singapore, to Qingdao, China, on Saturday, 4 February 2012.