Clipper skippers announced
The ten international sailors have been appointed for the next Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race following a rigorous selection process. They will each skipper one of the ten 68ft racing yachts which are preparing to compete in the 40,000-mile challenge.
The Clipper Race celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, the first edition having been run in 1996. Since then more than 5,000 people have been introduced to sailing through the Clipper Training programme.
Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston commented: “Leading a team in a race around the world is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs that any skipper could ever undertake and we’re confident these ten men are up to this challenge. They have all been through a lengthy and rigorous selection process and we have chosen a group of exceptional individuals as our race skippers. They have the ability to draw the line between competitiveness and safety while, at the same time, motivating the crew to retain their focus during races lasting several weeks at a time, whether it be through roaring gales and towering seas or the frustration of tricky calm spells.”
The skippers are:
Rupert Dean, 40
Rupert, from Taunton, Somerset, is no stranger to the Clipper Race, having skippered a team twice before in Clipper 98 and Clipper 2000. But, having come in as a relief skipper at short notice he has unfinished business and is looking forward to running a race campaign from start to finish – with every intention of winning. Despite having already sailed around 120,000 miles, very little of that has been along the route of Clipper 11-12. For the last six years Rupert has been working as a cartographer at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office which produces navigational charts and publications.
Gordon Reid, 44
Gordon, who hails from Glasgow, has been sailing professionally for 18 years. He is an experienced instructor and racer having taken part in many RORC and JOG races. Gordon has worked with Clipper for several years, training crew to take part in the Clipper Race and competed in Clipper 07-08 on board eventual winner, New York, racing from Salvador da Bahia in Brazil to Durban in South Africa. He is an experienced mountaineer and keen runner, having competed in three marathons and 19 half marathons.
Olly Osborne, 30
Olly, from Chichester, has a background in sail training and is a highly experienced instructor, having worked in the past for the Royal Yachting Association and with disadvantaged young people through the Cirdan Trust. He has been involved with the Clipper Race for five years, training crew for the past two editions of the event.
Gareth Glover, 34
Manchester-born Gareth has an impressive offshore racing pedigree which includes three Fastnet campaigns and is excited about the challenge of leading a team of people from all walks of life in a circumnavigation of the world. He was introduced to sailing at a youth club when he was 14 and has been working as a Yachtmaster Instructor for many years. Gareth, who now lives near Brighton on the south coast of the UK, is no stranger to the Clipper Race having worked with the organisation a decade ago, training crews on the original fleet of 60-foot yachts.
Ian Conchie, 39 (Qingdao)
Sailing had been a hobby for Ian since he was a child but he decided to make it his career after a switch from working in the computer display and audio visual industry. He has been racing for almost ten years, competing in many inshore and offshore regattas in Europe and South East Asia. The Cowes-based yachtsman is thrilled to have been appointed as the skipper of Qingdao.
Mark Light, 39 (Derry-Londonderry)
Mark, originally from Gloucestershire, now living on the Isle of Wight, hopes to celebrate his 40th birthday racing a yacht to victory somewhere in the Southern Ocean. Introduced to sailing in his late 20s he learned to sail dinghies on the tricky tidal waters of the River Severn. Once bitten by the sailing bug he took the plunge, left his job as a mechanical and production engineer and studied full time for the sailing qualifications that would allow him to turn his passion into a career. Now an experienced senior instructor with many ocean crossings to his name, he is most looking forward to racing across the Pacific Ocean.
Richard Hewson, 32
Australian skipper, Richard, is from Hobart, Tasmania, and might have seawater running through his veins. He learned to sail almost before he could crawl and has been racing since the tender age of seven, competing at state, national and international levels. Rich joined the Royal Australian Navy after leaving school and is now a Master Mariner Class II and has been working half the year as First Officer on large tankers which gives him plenty of time to indulge his first love, yacht racing. He is a veteran of many Sydney to Hobart campaigns.
Juan Coetzer, 33
South African skipper, Juan, was born in Pretoria and has worked for many years in Cape Town. A skilled dinghy racer who has competed at international level, Juan decided he wanted to be a Clipper Race skipper after meeting Craig Millar, who skippered Durban in Clipper 05-06. Now based in Portsmouth on the UK’s south coast, he has been working as a training skipper with Clipper for a number of years and is now looking forward to skippering his own team as the fleet races into Cape Town’s Table Bay in October this year.
Ben Bowley, 27 (Singapore)
Ben may be the youngest of the skippers in Clipper 11-12 but do not underestimate his competitive nature. He is a skilled big boat ocean racer and has a wealth of race coaching experience to his name. He started sailing dinghies with his father as soon as his mother would allow and, at the age of 18, decided to make his passion his full time career. He has competed in some of the world’s most challenging races, including the renowned Fastnet Race.
Adam Tuffnell, 34 (De Lage Landen embraces the world)
Adam has been sailing since the age of four. After putting his university course on hold in order to race around the world with Global Challenge in 2000 he completed his dissertation on team building and the team dynamics he had observed on the race. Since then he has combined both passions – sailing and team building – in a career which will stand him in good stead for the challenge ahead.
The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race gets underway this August. During the 40,000-mile race the fleet will stop at 15 ports around the world before arriving back in the UK in July 2012. For the first time the route includes an extra leg that will take the fleet from the west coast of Australia, rounding Cape Leeuwin en route to New Zealand, and then on to Australia’s east coast.
The search is already underway for suitably qualified men and women to follow in the footsteps of these ten skippers in the next edition of the race which will start in 2013 and will be raced on the brand new fleet of 70-foot yachts that have been specially commissioned.