The global event 'captures the great British spirit of adventure', says Minister

Sports and Tourism Minister Hugh Robertson stepped aboard a 70ft ocean racing yacht in London’s Trafalgar Square today and declared: ‘This is a remarkable endeavour.’

As he helped to officially name the Clipper Race yacht GREAT Britain, the Minister said the Clipper Race ‘captures the great British spirit of adventure perfectly by opening up the opportunity of ocean racing to so many people.’

The Minister added: ‘The GREAT Britain yacht brings together our sporting legacy with some of the strongest and most vibrant British brands in a unique global promotion that will reach out to international markets on six continents over the course of the next year.

‘I wish the crew and partners of GREAT Britain fair winds and great success in winning races, trade and tourism for the UK.’

Clipper Race chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston also attended the event at London’s famous landmark.

He said: ‘I can’t think of a more fitting place to launch a GREAT Britain yacht than in Trafalgar Square.

‘This is a unique project and I am very proud that the Clipper Race can provide a powerful platform to promote GREAT Britain to a global audience.

‘We have helped to train over 3,000 people how to sail and introduced scores of businesses and destinations to new opportunities as we follow in the spirit of the original Clipper ships which plied the trade winds to make Britain a great maritime trading nation.

‘We look forward to working with GREAT British brand partners and the UK Government, through the Prime Minister’s office, to deliver a highly effective international marketing campaign.’

GREAT British brands sign up as team partners

The project is bringing together a cross-section of partners from the private sector to sponsor the GREAT Britain yacht over the next 16 months and participate in an international campaign that will link up with UK trade and tourism global marketing initiatives.

The first GREAT Britain Team Partners were revealed as automotive brand Land Rover, the international hi tech company ARM Holdings and independent London hotel group Grange Hotels.

The GREAT Britain yacht crew

London born professional skipper Simon Talbot, aged 44, will lead an amateur crew that has been trained in preparation for the round-the-world race which will take 11 months to visit 15 ports on six continents over the eight leg series in a matched fleet of 12 ocean racing yachts.

He will take a break from training with his team to view their yacht in Trafalgar Square this Saturday, 3 August, at 10am.

The GREAT Britain yacht will remain in Trafalgar Square on the North Terrace in front of the National Gallery until Sunday evening, 4 August. The public can view it daily from 8am to 10pm.

It will sail back into the capital with the rest of the Clipper Race fleet over the August Bank Holiday weekend to spend a week in St Katharine Docks prior to departing from Tower Bridge on the Thames on Sunday 1 September on its 40,000 miles race around the world; the fleet will return to London almost 11 months later in July 2014.

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Sports Minister Hugh Robertson (left) and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston christen the yacht ‘Great Britain’ at a launch event in Trafalgar Square, London. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston( (left) and Sport Minister Hugh Robertson prepare to christen the yacht called Great Britain in Trafalgar Square, London. Credit: John Walton/PA Wire