Ireland Clipper replacement skipper named

Hannah Jenner to join new Ireland boat in Panama on the Clipper Round the World Race

Monday March 15th 2010, Author: Heather Ewing, Location: none selected

Hannah Jenner will celebrate her 30th birthday as she races into Kinsale as the skipper of the Cork, Ireland, entry in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race.

Hannah has worked with Clipper since 2004 in a number of roles. As a training skipper she has helped prepare crews for three editions of the Clipper Race and took the helm of Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper in Clipper 07-08, successfully leading her team to a podium finish and the Scottish team’s highest ever placing in four campaigns - third overall.

She is the only woman to have skippered a yacht for an entire Clipper Race and since making her mark in Clipper 07-08 she has developed a reputation as one of the rising stars of the British ocean racing scene. In 2009 she completed a double-handed Rolex Fastnet Race, sailed across the Atlantic on the Open 60 Aviva and ran the New York Marathon having started running just four months previously.

Hannah is no stranger to Co. Cork and has sailed into Kinsale and Cork on numerous occasions. She says, “I love it there – it is a fantastic place and I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to racing in there as skipper of the home team. I know the people of Cork will get behind us and turn out in force to welcome us in.”

The Clipper 09-10 fleet is due to arrive in Kinsale between 1 and 4 July and on 7 July will sail into Cork City where they will stay until the race restart on 9 July. The sponsors of Cork, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland, are currently putting the finishing touches to a packed programme of entertainment for the eight-day stopover.

At today’s announcement plans were also released for the development of Cork City pontoons which will host the Clipper Race in July but will also add a new facility for leisure craft to visit the City of Cork. This will be a permanent legacy from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race’s visit.

Pat Farnan, Harbour Master Port of Cork, said, “As part of the Port of Cork's recreational strategy and in association with the City Council, the Port of Cork is delighted to announce the new 100-metre pontoon on South Custom House Quay. The pontoons will open up the city quays for leisure craft and visiting boats and will remain a permanent fixture for the City. The Port of Cork is delighted to launch the pontoons in conjunction with Clipper and we look forward to welcoming the fleet to Cork in July."

At the Custom House today Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Dara Murphy, reviewed plans with the Harbour Master and the new Cork skipper.

Cork City Manager, Joe Gavin, added, “We are looking forward to welcoming the Clipper Race to Cork on 7 July after the round the world journey. It will be a marvellous occasion and a great opportunity to visit Cork and enjoy the festival atmosphere.

“The City Council is delighted to partner the Port authorities in providing new permanent pontoons which will be a lasting amenity for the city. The pontoons will provide facilities for visiting boats and will greatly help the running of events like the Lee Swim and the Ocean to City Traditional Rowing Race.

“Facilities for visitors have been improved immensely in the Cork area in recent years leading to Corks designation in the Lonely Planet guide as one of the top three cities in the world to visit. The new pontoons will add to that attraction."

Hannah takes over at the helm of Cork following the grounding of the original yacht during the race to Singapore from Western Australia. A replacement yacht has been chartered and the Cork crew, who have been racing on board the other nine yachts of the Clipper 09-10 fleet since the incident, will take delivery of their new vessel in Panama at the beginning of May.

The next two months will be extremely busy for Hannah, who has already started to learn about her crew and will meet up with them in San Francisco to begin the important process of bonding as a racing team.

“I know we’ve got a lot of work to do but I am definitely up for the challenge and Cork has every chance of a great result,” she says.

In San Francisco Hannah will also meet with the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Dara Murphy, who will be in San Francisco on a trade mission with the Cork Chamber of Commerce.

Hannah will then fly to Antigua, where the 67-foot yacht will be located, to work with the team from race organiser, Clipper Ventures, to prepare Cork to join the fleet.

The Challenge 67 yacht has been chartered from a private owner and was built in 1991 specifically for non-professional sailors. She has circumnavigated the world twice and is currently fulfilling a safety role with the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race 2009. Clipper will take delivery of the yacht on 10 April and the team will set to work, applying the Cork livery and installing additional communications systems. The steel-hulled yacht will carry the same range and number of sails as the rest of the Clipper fleet. She will be delivered to the Cork crew in Panama in early May in time for Race 9 to Jamaica.

Hannah is determined, highly competitive and passionate about ocean racing. With a flair for public speaking she is also an accomplished motivational speaker, drawing on her experience, grit and determination to succeed.

Hannah knew she wanted to sail when at the age of eight when she and her family were on a holiday in Devon and friends invited them to sail on their 30-foot yacht from Salcombe round to Dartmouth. “I stood on that dock in Salcombe not knowing you could ever have a career in sailing, and just thought, ‘This is pretty cool,’” she explains. “I promised myself I’d go back to Salcombe one day knowing how to sail and in 2005 I did it on a Clipper 68. I was the first mate on a Clipper Training course!”

After getting a degree in English from Southampton University, where she sailed with their racing team, Hannah went straight on to Hamble School of Yachting to get her qualifications to be a cruising instructor so she could teach sailing. Since then she has racked up more than 130,000 miles and raced across the Atlantic nine times – the stage from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to Kinsale and Cork will be her tenth transatlantic race.

Born in Surrey, Hannah grew up in Shrewsbury in the heart of England, perhaps not the most obvious place to produce a round the world skipper. “It’s about as far away from the water as you can get,” she laughs, “but then, Dame Ellen McArthur grew up in Derbyshire so it must be something about being landlocked!”

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