Clipper Race Seeks Skippers

Published on October 4th, 2018

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is launching a recruitment drive to select the Skippers for the 2019-20 edition of the race, which will start in the Summer of 2019.

Founded by the first person to sail solo and non-stop round the world, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the Clipper Race is the only event of its kind that trains people from all walks of life and nationalities to become an ocean racer. And Sir Robin says that it’s precisely this unique nature of the race that makes the Skippers so important.

Sir Robin said: “The role of the Clipper Race Skipper is very special and demands outstanding capabilities not only as a sailor, but also in teaching and leadership. It is a challenge, but there is no satisfaction from achieving something easy.”

The role of a Clipper Race Skipper is unlike any other in sailing. The successful applicant needs to be more than exceptional sailing capabilities; a Clipper Race Skipper must also have proven strong leadership and instructing backgrounds in order to lead the crew of unprofessional sailors, with up to 20 on board at any one time. The Skipper will have a unique opportunity to develop the different personalities in the team to create a competitive entry in the challenge of a lifetime.

Leading the recruitment process is Race Director Mark Light, who was a Skipper in the Clipper 2011-12 Race. Mark said: “This job is a unique opportunity to race around the world and the rewards are huge. Having the chance to lead a team circumnavigating the globe, aboard a 70 foot ocean racing yacht, will be both challenging and fulfilling.

“For a career in sailing, racing around the world is an incredible achievement and a fantastic addition to have on any CV. It is also the ultimate progression for a professional skipper.”

Wendy Tuck, 53 from Sydney, Australia, made history in the 2017-18 edition of the race, becoming the first female skipper in history to win a round the world yacht race. The Skipper of team Sanya Serenity Coast said: “Winning the Clipper Race was really one of the proudest moments of my life.

“When you finish the race, it’s just incredible. You’re just a bit stunned and realise that after all those months and all those miles, you’ve done it, you’ve got around. You have lows and tough times but at the end it’s just the most extraordinary feeling.”

The 2017-18 edition of the race also featured the youngest ever Skipper in the history of the event, British sailor Nikki Henderson. Nikki, who was just 23 years old when she was selected, certainly showed age is not a factor, leading her team Visit Seattle to a second-place overall finish.

Mark said: “In the last race, we had two female Skippers at the top in what was the first female one-two finish in the twenty-year history of the race. We are very proud of that and looking forward to seeing what the next group can achieve on the world stage.”

Nikki, who like Wendy, was selected to Skipper Maiden, said: “I learnt a lot from my time as a Clipper Race Skipper. The crew have taught me a lot, about myself and how to manage teams.

“They all bring different skills from their jobs and they’re definitely helping me become a better person as much as I’m giving them the adventure they’re looking for. I just want to keep getting better and be the best person I can be, always improving and learning.”

The global route of the Clipper Race will see the teams cross six oceans and visit stunning and diverse locations across six continents. Three locations have already been announced, with the race to return to Sanya and Qingdao, whilst another Chinese Host Port, the Islands and Sailing City of Zhuhai, will make its debut in the 2019-18 race.

For information on the qualifications required to be a Clipper Race Skipper, please see the job section of the website.


Interviews and on-the-water trials for the Clipper 2019-20 Race will begin in October, with the successful applicants to be announced in early 2019, but the job link will remain live for future editions.

2017-18 Event detailsRace factsRace viewerFacebook

Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve* identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. The race concludes in Liverpool on July 28.

Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.

* Twelve teams began the first leg but one yacht (Greenings) ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.

Race RouteRace Schedule and Miles


Source: Clipper Race Communications

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