Please select your home edition
Edition
Clipper Ventures
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE 2019-20 RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from The Clipper Race
UNICEF ABOUT UNICEF

Anticipation on Crew Allocation Day: We meet the new Clipper Race sailors to discover their stories.

by Mark Jardine 18 Jun 04:00 PDT
Clipper Race 2019/20 Crew Allocation Day © Mark Jardine

Clipper Race Crew Allocation Day, held at the Portsmouth Guildhall, is a huge moment in the build-up to the race itself. This is the day when crew find out who their Skipper will be and meet their teammates for the first time.

Clipper Race crew come from all walks of life and all parts of the UK and increasingly around the world. We spoke to some of the crew in the build up to the announcement itself...

Mark Cilliers, who runs a sandwich shop in Jersey, but had never sailed in his life, said: "I love the idea of pushing your boundaries and trying something completely different. I've always loved the sea, looking at it and it's wonderful to now just get out there. I've had two weeks of training so far and have another two weeks to come. My first day on the water was amazing - so much to learn, memorise and keep in mind, but the Skippers are great trainers and it has been a superb experience so far. This is the moment I meet my tribe; the group I'll be spending all those days at sea with."

We asked Jacqui Davies, a property developer and landlady in Devon, how she first heard about the race and why she decided to take part: "I was having a cup of tea one morning, watching the news reports with Wendy Tuck and Nikki Henderson and thought 'Wow, that looks really awesome!', so I went online, looked at all the scary bits, and before I knew it I'd clicked 'Join the race', filled in the online application form and pressed the button. Then I needed to tell my husband! I'd no experience of sailing whatsoever but seeing the two female Skippers finish first and second in the last race was a huge inspiration to me."

Andy Harry, who is retired from the Navy and has lived in the Midlands for 20 years, but originally came from Australia, told us how he found out about the race: "I saw it on Sky TV and thought 'that sounds alright', the next minute I'd signed up! I'd had no experience on sailing boats whosoever. It was quite scary the first time I went out on a Clipper yacht - not what I had imagined it was going to be like - but I enjoyed it. I'm very excited about coming into the Whitsundays as all my family still live out in Australia and hopefully they'll come along and see it all."

Sara McBride, a hair stylist from Perth in Scotland, was drawn into the race through her job: "One of my clients called Mel is taking part in the Clipper Race as well and was telling me about it during her hair appointment and I thought it sounded unbelievable! I looked it up and started thinking 'Maybe I can do that!'. I'd never sailed before, never had an interest in sailing, but thought it looked amazing and thought 'Why not?'. My first sail with Clipper was in a Force 9 wind, it was interesting... after that it all seemed quite safe! I love it! I'm buzzing for it! I'll be Instagramming it up in my jacket!"

Sophie Cross & Timothy Walder are two young adults who'd both had experience of sailing but wanted to do something more:

"I'd done a bit of dinghy sailing before and I think it was the adventure of it which drew me," said Sophie.

"I started sailing with the Sea Scouts years ago. We met on a Tall Ships weekend, and I was looking at Gap Year options, stumbled across the Clipper Race, and quickly became obsessed. Sophie caught on when I wouldn't stop talking about it and here we are!" said Timothy. "I've never left Europe before and I think the Southern Ocean is going to be a huge experience with waves the size of houses."

"It's a really good opportunity to get out and experience the world while we're young." summed up Sophie.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said of the day: "This is where the crew find out who they're going to be with for the next 15 months of their lives, who they're going to sail round the world with, in a small capsule where sometimes the nearest other humans are on the International Space Station! It's a very important day for them and a very exciting day for them. These are the people who've decided to get out there and paint their lives in bright colours, not pastel shades. They're going out there for adventure and they're finding out who they're going to adventure with."

Sir Robin's pride in the event is plain to see when talking to him: "It gives me a buzz! You see all these enthusiastic people looking forward to the great day and their energy is just wonderful. It's also great to see that 33 of the crew from outside Britain have made it to the event; I love that as it shows their commitment to the event. With that enthusiasm we can turn them into really good sailors and give them what they're looking for - a fantastic adventure in their lives."

Find more about the race at www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Related Articles

We'll take 50%
Last week we saw it would be NED or DEN entering SailGP Last week in Pretty Handy, we noted that it was either going to be the Netherlands or Denmark that got the brand new seventh boat for the second season of SailGP. It was the latter, so we will certainly take that 50% as a pass mark. Posted on 15 Dec
The Unsung Wise Man
Reg Bratt's remarkable contribution to British dinghy sailing exposed Today, nearly half a century after he was so very much hands on in the dinghy world, Weymouth's Reginald 'Reg' Bratt has a mind as sharp as ever. We look at his remarkable engineering breakthroughs, surprising designs, and speed records. Posted on 13 Dec
The Top 10 Biggest Sailing Stories of 2019: Part 1
Quite a few surprises and interlopers in this elite group of stories... Following on from last year's round-up of the Top 10 big stories in the sailing world, Mark Jardine shares the most-read stories in 2019 from Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com. Posted on 13 Dec
Winter Vashon, 49er & Nacra 17 Worlds, and Ultims
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt There's something about sailing that's downright addictive, even when conditions fall considerably short of the term “Champagne Sailing.” Take this past weekend's Winter Vashon Race here on Puget Sound. Posted on 10 Dec
Pretty handy
Some years ago we started looking at Mixed Two Person Offshore Events It wasn't too long after driving the first of Beneteau's impressive Figaro 3s a couple of years ago that these miscellaneous ramblings started to look at the Mixed Two Person Offshore Event for the Olympics. Posted on 8 Dec
Henri-Lloyd Frostbite Challenge
The sport of sailing at its very best Henri-Lloyd's Chairman Hans Eckerström wanted to put the 2020 range to the test. Not the standard factory and model tests of materials, fit and wear, but the kind which really put the kit through its paces. Posted on 6 Dec
Chickens and Eggs
You know the real answer is I have no idea which came first You know the real answer is I have no idea whether the egg was before the proverbial chicken, or the other way around. Equally, I'm not sure whether the ‘end of life' boats triggered this editorial, or perhaps it was the repurposing of sails Posted on 4 Dec
Olympic class news and an Ultim class showdown
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt As the Midwest and East Coast shovel their first big storm of the year, as Northwest skiers cry that all the snow is being wasted on the flats, and as everyone grapples with last week's consumption, things are happening in Olympic sailing circles. Posted on 3 Dec
Tom Bowler on the 2019 Wirth M. Munroe Race
Interview with Miami to Palm Beach Yacht Race chairman I checked in with Tom Bowler, event chairman of the 2019 Wirth M. Munroe Miami to Palm Beach Yacht Race, via email, to learn more about this exciting early-winter race. Posted on 3 Dec
Richard Hamilton on the Jamin Jamaica Invitational
An interview with Richard Hamilton about the Jamin J/22 Jamaica Invitational I checked in with Richard Hamilton, regatta chair of the 2019 Jamin J/22 Jamaica Invitational, via email, to learn more about this competitive warm-water regatta. Posted on 2 Dec
MBW newsletters (top)