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The Clipper fleet sets sail on Whitsundays

THE CLIPPER 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet departs Hobart bound for the Whitsundays tomorrow on the last race of its All-Australian Leg.

Expected to take between eight and 10 days, the 'Wondrous Whitsundays Race' - so-called to reflect the wonder and beauty of the Whitsundays - will see the Clipper Race yachts arrive into Airlie Beach between January 13 and 15.

The region is ready to roll out the red carpet for its guests, with an action-packed, two-week Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival planned from January 13 to 29, 2018.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Clipper Race Carnival, supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, would provide a boost to tourism and the local economy.

"Visitors to the Whitsundays during the two week carnival are expected to spend millions, with multiple events to experience in this spectacular region.

"The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is both an adventure, and a gruelling test of strength and skill, and competitors will welcome the break in the idyllic Whitsundays.

"The Carnival is a collection of events that will showcase the Whitsundays stunning scenery and reaffirm the region's reputation as one of the world's premier sailing destinations.”

Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said he was looking forward arriving in the Whitsundays later this month.

"In addition to excellent sailing conditions and a stunning location for crew to enjoy, the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival will make for a fantastic two week celebration of sailing and it is great to have the Clipper Race at the heart of it.”

During the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival there will be a raft of free events on offer for sailing enthusiasts including tours of the ocean racing yachts, public talks by the skippers and opportunities to meet the crews.

There will also be an opportunity to race around the Whitsunday Islands on one of the Clipper yachts in the Clipper Race Day.

There are events planned right around the region as part of the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival including the Bendigo Bank Clipper Welcome Party, the Fish D'Vine White on Whitehaven Long Lunch and the Whitsunday Foodservice Progressive Cruise Lunch.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only race of its kind, pairing novice crews with experienced skippers on the adventure of a lifetime.