LIVERPOOL 2018, Liverpool City Council’s newest international destination campaign, will be a team entry in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, which starts in just under a month, on August 20, from the city’s Albert Dock. Taking advantage of the race’s global platform, the Liverpool 2018 team will visit twelve international destinations on six different continents throughout the eleven-month Clipper 2017-18 Race and will reach many more via the event’s international crew who represent over 40 nationalities, as the city once again looks to promote itself as one of Europe’s leading visitor destinations. Making the announcement, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “We’re delighted to be a Clipper Race team partner – not only are we part of the action, but it means that, once again, Liverpool is going to be seen across the globe by millions of people. “As host port for the start and finish of this prestigious race, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to have a city-dedicated vessel as part of the competition. “Maintaining an international profile is vital to us – we want this city to be at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to choosing a destination to visit, invest in, study in, or move to, and having such a prominent presence as part of the Clipper Race will help us achieve this. “I’d like to take this opportunity to wish the Liverpool 2018 crew and Skipper all the very best as they help us take this incredible city around the world.” Liverpool 2018 aims to attract audiences of millions of people, create significant economic impact and push Liverpool to the top of the ‘must-visit’ cities in 2018. Liverpool’s decision to become both a team entry and the Start and Finish Partner for the Clipper 2017-18 Race also marks ten years since it last hosted the event, in which it also entered a Liverpool 08 team to mark its European City of Culture status. The Clipper Race is the world’s greatest ocean challenge and is unique as it’s raced by everyday people from all walks of life. More than 700 non-professional sailors, representing over 40 nationalities, will compete for eleven months on a fleet of twelve identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts, each led by a professional skipper. Leading the Liverpool 2018 team will be Clipper Race Skipper Lance Shepherd, from Blackpool. A former Royal Marine, Lance began sailing aged fourteen and has extensive experience in ocean crossings, yacht racing, deliveries, team building, leadership and teaching of the RYA sailing syllabus. Speaking on board the Liverpool 2018 team yacht, which reveals the campaign’s brightly coloured branding, Lance said: “It is my absolute honour to be taking the reins of Liverpool 2018 for the 2017-18 edition of the Clipper Race” “Being from the North West, with lots of personal connections to the city, I was thrilled when it was announced that the Clipper Race was returning to Liverpool and I have always made it very clear I would love the opportunity to lead a Liverpool team. “I feel very proud to be representing the Liverpool 2018 vision, and in turn I hope the people of Liverpool really get behind our team and feel similarly about us as we will certainly do our best to make them feel proud throughout the race.” The Clipper Race fleet will arrive in Liverpool on Monday, 14 August where a Race Village will be open in Albert Dock, allowing members of the public to come and have a closer look at the yachts and meet the crew ahead of their epic journey. After bidding farewell to the crowds in a departure ceremony in Albert Dock in Liverpool on 20 August, crew will start their opening 6,400 nautical miles race on the River Mersey before making their way across the Atlantic Ocean to the first stopover port, Ponte del Este, Uruguay. The fleet will then continue on to Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart, the Whitsundays, Sanya and Qingdao in China, Seattle, Panama, New York, and Derry-Londonderry, before completing the circumnavigation in Liverpool on July 28, 2018.