Sir Robin's apprentices

Clipper skippers sought for next race

Monday May 12th 2008, Author: Zoe Williamson, Location: United Kingdom
Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has announced today that his search has begun for qualified skippers prepared to take on the challenge of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world and founder of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin is on the hunt for ten exceptional individuals who will become the next skippers for the Clipper 09-10 Race.

Sir Robin says, “Tackling this unique challenge, with its roaring gales and towering seas, as well as the frustrations of tricky calm spells, is no mean feat. The skippers we are looking for need to be up to the challenge of competitively racing our 68-foot yachts around the world with a non-professional crew onboard.

“The successful individuals must have the ability to draw the line between competitiveness and safety, whilst also motivating a sometimes exhausted crew into an enthusiastic and committed team.

“Leading a team of novice sailors in a race around the world is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs that any skipper could ever undertake and not everybody is up to this challenge.”

Successful candidates will skipper one of ten internationally sponsored yachts and must have an understanding of the commercial and media demands of this high-profile global event which can launch a skipper’s career.

The youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race was solo yachtsman Alex Thomson who was just 25 when he competed in the 1998 edition of the race. Nine years later Alex has just finished a successful Barcelona World Race campaign onboard his IMOCA open 60 Hugo Boss with Andrew Cape, securing second place and breaking the 24-hour speed record by clocking up an impressive 499.22 miles. Alex is currently sailing Hugo Boss from Portimao to Gosport as a qualifier for the Vendée Globe race in November this year.

Potential skippers need to have the correct level of qualifications, including an RYA Ocean Yachtmaster. They need to be excellent sailors who put seamanship and safety first, have a proven track record in sail training and can demonstrate that they are strong team leaders.

Clipper Race Director Joff Bailey, skipper of New York in the Clipper 05-06 Race, says, “Being a race skipper in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. However, the reward and satisfaction when you see the crew that you have trained react to situations as though they were full-time professionals and the look of achievement on their faces when they have crossed an ocean and finished a race is the best high in the world.”

If you think you are up for the challenge and have the right characteristics and experience contact Sir Robin by email on to request an application form.

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