Home-town welcome for Lightning Bolt
Named for the fastest man on earth, Jamaica Lightning Bolt, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)-sponsored boat in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, is set to arrive in Port Antonio on Saturday, May 22.
The crew of the boat will receive a home-town welcome for flying the Jamaican flag high throughout the 35,000-mile race.
The arrival of the competing yachts is expected to result in an economic boom for residents of Port Antonio, especially hoteliers, food, drink and craft traders. In addition to the crews of the nine racing vessels, race coordinators, family and friends of the crew, plus international media, will be visiting the town for several days.
Residents of the resort town have been busily preparing for the arrival of the yachts, with many retooling and restocking their businesses.
"Having a named boat in an internationally acclaimed yacht race is a major plus for Jamaica," stated John Lynch, director of tourism. "The link with our sprint sensation Usain Bolt has worked very well for the destination in all the ports along the route of the race.
"Jamaica Lightning Bolt is among the leaders of the race, so we expect to welcome the crew in true Jamaica style when they arrive," he added.
Under the stewardship of skipper Peter Sterling, Jamaica Lightning Bolt snatched second place in the standings at the start of the eighth leg of the race - from San Francisco to Panama.
The ninth leg will begin in Panama and end in Port Antonio.
Jamaica's involvement in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is yet another dimension of a multi-pronged strategy to give the country commanding visibility on the world scene and highlight the island's sporting prowess.
The Clipper Race is the brainchild of legendary yachtsman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail non-stop single-handedly around the world. He wanted to open the sport of long-distance sailing to all and allow others to experience the challenges of ocean racing.