Clipper Race Scotland: All you need to know about this first dock in Oban

Scotland's Adventure Coast

The Clipper Race is known as the toughest endurance challenge on the planet. For the first time in its 27-year history, the Clipper Race will be making a stop in Scotland when it docks in Oban on July 12, 2024. 

Whether you are part of the Clipper Crew, a sailing enthusiast or want to witness this historic event, here’s everything you need to know about the Clipper Race, this first dock in Oban, and what to do during your visit.


The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper Race is known as the toughest endurance challenge on the planet. Sailors will spend eleven months circumnavigating across the world’s ocean on board 70ft race yachts, battling extreme conditions and facing unique challenges.

Founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, the Clipper Race offers amateur sailors the opportunity to experience the thrill of ocean racing on a global scale. With no prior sailing experience required, participants undergo comprehensive training to prepare for the demanding journey ahead. 

The race comprises a series of legs, covering more than 40,000 nautical miles and crossing some of the most treacherous waters on the planet. From battling towering waves in the Southern Ocean to navigating unpredictable weather patterns in the North Pacific, each leg presents its own set of challenges. The Clipper 2023-24 Race sees nine Scottish crew taking part over the eight legs of the sailing event. 

Historic Docking in Oban

For the first time in its history, the Clipper Race will dock in Scotland. This historic event is scheduled to take place in Oban on July 12, 2024. Berthing at North Pier Pontoons in Oban, Race Crew and spectators alike will get a chance to take in the stunning scenery, rich history, warm hospitality, and diverse attractions Oban has to offer.

As the last stop before the finish line, the sailors will have sailed almost 40,000 nautical miles and crossed 6 oceans. The arrival into Oban will mark the end of the North Atlantic crossing, allowing the crew a few days to gather their thoughts before they embark on the short but intense race back to the finish line in Portsmouth. 

Laura Ayres, Managing Director at Clipper Ventures, says

“Oban is not only an incredible sailing destination but also has a rich history of adventure – the perfect match for our intrepid crew. The area’s great food and drink scene will also be welcomed after a tough Atlantic crossing. From previously visiting Oban through our other sailing programmes, we know this will make a brilliant penultimate stop on our circumnavigation, and the stopover will show off everything Oban has to offer and shine the spotlight on the town and surrounding region.”

Andrew Spence, Chief Executive of Bid4Oban, adds

“Oban is a fantastic and welcoming venue for the Clipper Round the World Race Yacht Race. Located in the heart of the magnificent West Coast of Scotland, it boasts superb sailing waters and is renowned for its spectacular coastal scenery and traditional Scottish Highland hospitality. Steeped in history dating back centuries, Oban is a true showcase of a traditional highland coastal town.”

Plan Your Clipper Stay in Oban - 5 Things to See & Do

Whether you're part of the Clipper crew, an avid sailing enthusiast or simply looking to soak up the atmosphere, there are plenty of ways to experience the historic event during your visit to Oban. 

1. Try Oban’s Seafood

Also known as ‘Scotland’s Seafood Captial’, Oban is the perfect spot to sample seafood from Scotland’s West Coast. From award-winning fine dining to family-friendly gastro pubs to the freshest fish and chips, there's something for all tastes and budgets. Head to the famous Green Shak at Oban Harbour for a fantastic seafood platter amongst locals or visit one of the many restaurants dotted along Oban’s Waterfront promenade. Discover a selection of Oban’s restaurants here.

2.  Tour Oban’s Sights

There’s plenty to explore in and around Oban town. Start your Oban adventure by visiting Dunollie Castle, Museum and Gardens. Situated on a hill overlooking Oban and its picturesque coastline, this ancient fortress offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. 

Afterwards, head for a short walk up to McCaig’s Tower. Originally built in 1897 by local banker John Stuart McCaig, this prominent landmark offers panoramic views of Oban Bay and the surrounding islands. Finish off your day by watching one of Oban’s famous West Coast sunsets!

3. Adventure all around

Oban is the perfect place for adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers. Whether you’d like to head back out on the water with a wildlife boat tour, go for a swim at Ganavan Beach near Oban or experience some of Scotland’s best kayaking – there’s something for everyone. 

If you’d like to stay on dry land, rent a bike and explore Oban’s surrounding areas. Ride from Oban to Connel or Oban to Taynuilt to soak in the atmosphere of beautiful quiet glens, with plenty of opportunities for whizzing down the hill. Oban also has a fantastic range of hiking trails within a 45mins driving distance, from challenging Munros to leisurely coastal walks. A fantastic day trip includes a visit to the Isle of Kerrera near Oban, which 7 miles Southern Loop will take you approx. 4 hours to complete. 

4. Explore Oban’s surrounding Isles

Oban is a gateway to the Hebrides. So, why not jump on a Calmac ferry from Oban Harbour to experience the unique charm of the Hebrides during your visit? Spend a day exploring the beautiful landscapes and coastal villages of the Isle of Mull, soak in the tranquillity of the Isle of Iona or head on an adventurous 4x4 adventure to the Isle of Lismore – the opportunities are endless! 

West Coast Tours offers a selection of guided Isles tours from Oban, including their popular ‘Three Isles Tour’, which takes you to the Isles of Mull, Staffa and Iona within one day. Head to their website for more information.

We recommend pre-booking your Calmac ferry tickets as availability is limited during the peak months. For more information about ferry timetables and tickets visit the Calmac website.

5. Taste Oban’s Whisky

No trip to Oban is complete without tasting its famous whisky. There’s something special about the whisky produced in Oban, the pure water, the pristine environment and the smoky peat combine with skills that have been passed down through the generations to produce world-class beverages. Why not get up close to its production with a distillery tour at Oban Distillery?

Additionally, there will be various events hosted at venues across Oban, including the North Pier Pontoons, Corran Halls, The Rockfield Centre, the Scottish Association for Marine Science, and many others. You can find all events closer to the date on our website.

If you’re visiting Oban for this historic event, make sure to book your accommodation directly via our website to secure the best rates. Spaces are filling up rapidly, so we’d recommend booking early to secure your preferred dates and places. Discover all the places to stay in Oban here.

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