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Scotland’s First Minister names Edinburgh Inspiring Capital at colourful welcome ceremony

posted 8 Aug 2009, 03:33 by myEdinburgh Admin
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, will today officially welcome Edinburgh’s entry in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital will showcase the Scottish capital to a global audience of more than 200 million people when she embarks on the 35,000-mile race next month.

The First Minister said, “I’m delighted to name the race yacht, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and to meet some of the young people who will be taking part in the competition.


“The crew of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital will take the Homecoming message to ports across the world and encourage visitors to come to Scotland long after the year’s celebrations.


“I’ve no doubt that they will be tremendous ambassadors for Scotland as well as an inspiration to others who are striving to overcome personal challenges or to achieve their ambitions.


“The Scottish Government is proud to be supporting this fine venture and I wish the crew the very best of luck for what should be a tremendous competition.”

The First Minister will officially name the yacht and toast her with a dram of Benromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky, the Official Whisky of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race and Race Partner of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital.

The Edinburgh entry is one of ten stripped down 68-foot racing yachts competing in the event. All of the yachts are sponsored by cities and countries around the world and each is crewed by people from all walks of life who are taking on the challenge of a lifetime. The 44-strong Edinburgh Inspiring Capital crew is led by professional skipper, Matt Pike, who will be at the helm as the yacht arrives in the Port of Leith for this afternoon’s naming ceremony.

The Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Jenny Dawe, will join the crew for the journey down the Firth of Forth into the Port of Leith, along with the founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world. They plan to arrive in style, flying their Saltire spinnaker – a huge sail with an area larger than a tennis court – as they pass under the Forth Bridge.

Councillor Jenny Dawe said, “The Clipper Race is a fantastic and unique opportunity for the city to be seen on a global scale over a prolonged period. I am truly honoured to have been asked to join the crew onboard Edinburgh Inspiring Capital as she makes her maiden voyage into her home port.”

Among the crew of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital is a team of seven young people from across the city who have been selected as Capital Crew. They come from a variety of backgrounds but are all currently unemployed despite actively seeking work. They were chosen by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Access to Employment team in partnership with the Joined up for Jobs network. These remarkable young people will each take part in a leg of the race, working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and a special challenge to showcase Edinburgh’s rich literary connections to the destinations they visit.

The participation of the Capital Crew has been made possible through the generosity of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and its Chairman of Trustees, Sir Tom Farmer, who will also be attending this afternoon’s event. 

As well as VIP guests, crew and their friends and families lining the quayside outside Ocean Terminal, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be on hand to pipe the crew into the city. The bagpipe trio has been in great demand since their victory on When Will I Be Famous and they are taking time out of a hectic schedule of performances to welcome Edinburgh Inspiring Capital.

The yacht will be moored in Leith until Monday 17 August and will be open to the public from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 August so people from Edinburgh can get on board, meet the crew and get a taste of what life will be like for them during the ten-month race across the world’s oceans.

It’s the only race in the world where taxi drivers rub shoulders with chief executives, vicars mix with housewives, students work alongside bankers, nurses work with vets and doctors team with rugby players.

While the crews may be amateur, no one has told the oceans that! The sea does not distinguish between Olympians or novices and if the Southern Ocean, the Pacific or the South Atlantic decides to throw down its gauntlet, the Clipper crews need to be ready to face exactly the same challenges as those experienced by the professional racer.

The race was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who earlier this year celebrated the 40th anniversary of his historic solo circumnavigation.

Sir Robin says, “I’m sure the people of Edinburgh are going to give the crew a wonderful reception as they arrive in the Port of Leith today. And in turn, I’m sure the crew of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital will be excellent ambassadors for the city and indeed the whole country.

I’m thrilled that Scotland will continue to be represented in the Clipper Race which continues to go from strength to strength as crews recognise there is more to life than the day to day routine. It’s by achieving the tough things in life that gain you respect and a sense of personal fulfillment.”

The entry of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital in the Clipper 09-10 Race has been made possible through a partnership of Scottish businesses coming together to sponsor the yacht, including Benromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky and Tomorrow’s People, a national charity that has been working in Scotland with long term unemployed people for 25 years. Their focus is marginalised young people, helping them into employment and training, to break the cycle of unemployment so that people can take positive control of their lives and build a brighter future.

Together with the Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance they are now finalising plans to promote the Edinburgh Inspiring Capital brand around the world, showcasing the Scottish capital as an exciting and vibrant city in which to visit, invest, live, work and study.

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and the other nine yachts, including Hull & Humber, Cork, Uniquely Singapore, Qingdao, Cape Breton Island and California, will begin their 35,000-mile odyssey when the starting gun fires across the Humber on the east coast of England on 13 September.