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Skippers confirmed for Clipper 2019-20 Race restart

by Clipper Round the World Race 14 Dec 2021 21:16 PST From March 2022
Clipper Round the World Race © Clipper Race

We are pleased to announce the lineup of Race Skippers who will compete in the Clipper 2019-20 Race when it restarts next year.

Unfortunately, due to other commitments, not all previous Skippers are able to return to the upcoming edition. But we are proud to welcome back Rob Graham on Imagine your Korea, David 'Wavy' Immelman on GoToBermuda, David Hartshorn on Seattle, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez on Punta del Este, Josh Stickland on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Chris Brooks on Qingdao and Ian Wiggin on Unicef.

For the Skippers not able to return, Seumas Kellock, Guy Waites and Rich Gould, we thank them for their stellar skippership in leading their teams in previous legs of the circumnavigation.

Four new Skippers will be leading teams from February 2022, two of which will be familiar names to Clipper 2019-20 Race Crew. Former AQPs, Dan Jones and Mike Miller will be rejoining the upcoming edition as Skippers. Dan is set to lead WTC Logistics. Mike Miller will be Skipper of Visit Sanya, China.

New to the rescheduled race are Skippers Patrick van der Zijden and Nigel Parry. Former Clipper 2013-14 Race Skipper, Patrick, will be joining Zhuhai as Skipper. And the new Skipper of Dare To Lead will be Nigel Parry, who many of you will know as a Clipper Race Training Skipper.

The Clipper Race is set to announce the lineup of Clipper 2019-20 Race AQPs within the next fortnight.

Rob Graham - Imagine your Korea

Already a familiar face to many, Rob Graham was a Clipper Race Skipper in the 2017-18 edition and joined the Clipper 2019-20 Race from Leg 4 onwards. Rob from Angmering, Sussex has worked as a Skipper and Mate for training and corporate sailing events since 2011 and also with super yachts in the United States.

Since completing his Yachtmaster in 2005, Rob has gained extensive experience on Clipper 70s and has chalked up well over 100,000 nautical miles including his Clipper 2017-18 Race circumnavigation.

Rob's past professions include being a postman and he also managed to find the time to graduate with a degree in law and received a solicitor's postgraduate qualification from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. An active person, Rob spends his time off the water competing in triathlons and distance running.

When it comes to Rob's favourite moments at sea, it would be a toss between the time he balanced the trim of eight sails aboard a gaff schooner so she sailed up the Strait of Malacca with no need of helming, seeing a moonbow under trade wind clouds, or crossing the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia aboard an 80-foot ex-Whitbread Maxi on ARC.

David 'Wavy' Immelman - GoToBermuda

David 'Wavy' Immelman has extensive offshore racing experience and since catching the sailing bug early at age five, he has recorded more than 350,000 nautical miles in his log book, with over 200,000 as skipper.

Born in Ennis in Ireland, David has called Cape Town home since a young age, where he grew up racing a mixture of dinghies and keelboats. In 1997, David took a brief break from sailing to take on the huge challenge of rowing single handed across the Atlantic from Tenerife to Barbados. In the three years prior to joining the Clipper Race, David worked as a Yachtmaster Instructor in Cape Town, which included skippering training runs from Cape Town to either Rio de Janeiro or Madagascar and back with ten RYA Yachtmaster Ocean students on board.

David's leadership mantra is to lead by example, and though he wants to balance competitiveness with fun in his team, his ultimate goal is to win.

David's love of the ocean extends further than sailing. He has served as a Research Technician for the Marine Mammalogy Department of the University of Pretoria collecting and collating data on marine mammals, specifically Heaviside's Dolphins and Humpback Whales. David is also a keen diver and has logged more than one thousand hours underwater, both teaching and dive mastering.

David Hartshorn - Seattle

A familiar face for followers of the Clipper Race, experienced Race Skipper David Hartshorn returned for the 2019-20 edition. This is the third edition of the Clipper Race that David has been involved in. Having taken part in the 2015-16 edition as Race Crew on Leg 6, The Mighty Pacific, he then fulfilled the goal of becoming a Race Skipper in the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

David has continued his sailing career as an RYA Sailing Instructor. As part of this, he has also been involved in coaching future Race Crew as a Clipper Race Training Skipper.

Looking at his qualifications and experience, many would be surprised to learn sailing is a second career for David. Previous to working in the sailing industry, David spent three decades serving in the Police Force and retired as a Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police Service in 2014. His distinguished career included serving as the Met Police Public Order Branch Chief of Staff with responsibility for public order, and overseeing the planning and resourcing of major events such as the 2011 Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

His highly decorated career also gave David the opportunity to be a part of something he describes as one of his greatest achievements to date. Inspired by the Clipper Race, David founded and was lead Skipper on Operation Fitzroy, a project which gave disadvantaged young people from Inner London Boroughs the chance to experience sailing.

Dan Jones - WTC Logistics

Dan Jones started work with the Clipper Race in 2018 as a Training Mate and went on to become the AQP of WTC Logistics for the first 20,000 nm of the Clipper 2019-20 Race circumnavigation.

In 2021, Dan was the Clipper Race Training Skipper for the Our Isles and Oceans program up on the West Coast of Scotland, teaching young people who had been impacted by the pandemic how to sail. He now fulfills his goal of becoming a Clipper Race Skipper as he takes the helm of WTC Logistics for the remainder of the 2019-20 edition.

Taking up sailing at age six, the now 24-year-old started out racing dinghies, going to national level. Even at school, Dan knew he wanted to be a professional sailor. As soon as he was old enough, he became a Dinghy Instructor at his local club, teaching both adults and children, along with helping to coach the youth race team. In college, Dan enrolled in a two year outdoor leadership and education course and on completion of his studies, started teaching and skippering charter holidays in the south Ionian Sea.

Dan wanted to be pushed further professionally, which led him to joining the Clipper Race as a Training Mate and then becoming a Clipper Race AQP. Dan believes achieving a circumnavigation in his early twenties will lay the foundations for a strong sailing career.

Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez - Punta del Este

With his father and grandfather both being sea captains, the sea has always played a big role in Jeronimo's life. His father used to take him away for months and he counts some of his fondest early memories being on the bridge of a cargo ship with him, sailing the seas.

Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, who was born in Galicia, is the first Spaniard to lead a team in the history of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

With more than 80,000 nautical miles under his belt, Jeronimo first started racing dinghies aged seven and went on to compete in various Spanish and European Championships. He has completed multiple Atlantic crossings, and skippered charters around the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Ahead of applying to be a Clipper Race Skipper, Jeronimo spent two years as a race skipper, instructing beginner sailors on the Solent.

In addition to his sailing qualifications, Jeronimo has a Law Degree from the University of Granada, and has his PADI Diving Instructor certificate. Aside from growing up in Vigo and then Melilla, and living in the UK, he has also lived in Japan, Ibiza, and the Philippines.

Josh Stickland - Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Josh Stickland from Southampton, UK, brings a wealth of sailing experience and over 100,000 nautical miles to his role as Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race Skipper.

First taking to the water aged 10, it was after leaving school that Josh was able, with help from the Prince's Trust, to qualify as a Watersports Instructor and he has never looked back. After a stint of instructing on dinghies, Josh knew that a career in sailing was his calling and he soon completed his professional yachting qualifications.

Since then, Josh's sailing career has taken him all over the globe where he has worked on yachts and superyachts up to 110m in length but for Josh, leading a non-professional team in the Clipper Race is his career highlight.

Josh is a familiar face at Clipper Race HQ having previously worked as a Training Mate and, as part of the refit team, meaning he has an in-depth knowledge of a Clipper 70.

Nigel Parry - Dare To Lead

Nigel Parry is an accomplished offshore sailor, skipper and instructor with over 80,000nm in his log book. A staple within the Clipper Race Training department, Nigel has worked as a Training Skipper since 2013 and is also well renowned with Clipper Race crew having trained a crew member on almost every team in the past four editions.

Currently residing in Hanover, Germany, but hailing from Wilmslow, UK, the 56-year-old started sailing professionally in 1994. His love for the sport started when he was a child when his dad saw a dinghy for sale on the side of the road and brought it home for the family to learn how to sail on.

Nigel has worked all over the world, spending time in the Mediterranean as a flotilla skipper, working for RYA sailing schools in the Canary Islands, as well as in schools across the UK. He has previously sailed in the Pacific, as an instructor delivering ASA coastal and offshore cruising schemes from California. He ran a sailing school in Germany for many years, and also has been part of a civilian team of instructors training British military personnel in offshore sailing and powerboating. Having done several Atlantic crossings, one of his most memorable was going from East to West, using only celestial navigation with no electronic navigation equipment.

Sailing is Nigel's life, when not teaching others or sailing himself, he has self-renovated his own single-handed yacht.

Nigel is looking forward to being a Clipper Race Skipper on the race, building camaraderie within the team and is excited to cross the mighty North Pacific.

Patrick van der Zijden - Zhuhai

Patrick van der Zijden is an accomplished professional skipper, with over 200,000nm in his log book. The Dutchman competed as Race Skipper in the Clipper 2013-14 Race on Old Pulteney.

Currently living in the Algarve, Portugal, Patrick has sailed his whole life, with his parents taking him on board before he was even born. As a child, he sailed every weekend possible and during the holidays.

After competing in the 2013-14 edition, Patrick continued working with the Clipper Race as a Training Skipper at the events' training centre in Gosport. Other professional sailing work includes being a charter yacht skipper in Europe and the Caribbean, a delivery skipper across the whole of Europe, and a Yachtmaster instructor for sail and power boats. And he has also sailed frequently on first generation Clipper Race yachts.

Patrick is a self confessed water sports fanatic and hobbies include, outside of sailing, rowing, kite surfing, kayaking and diving.

Some of his favourite memories as a Clipper Race Skipper are seeing new sailors enjoy the magic of the ocean, seeing a team come together, and of course, achieving those all important podium positions.

Mike Miller - Visit Sanya, China

Mike Miller is well known to many at the Clipper Race as he was Race Crew and Watch Leader on the victorious Sanya Serenity Coast team during the 2017-18 edition. He is thrilled to be returning to represent the tropical city of Sanya once again.

For the first 20,000nm of the current edition, Mike, from Windsor, UK, was AQP on board Unicef. In addition to his Clipper Race experience he has crossed the Atlantic Ocean using only celestial navigation, competed in the South China Sea Race from Hong Kong to the Philippines, circumnavigated Bahrain, raced across the Arabian Gulf from Oman to Bahrain via the UAE and Qatar, and competed in the Hainan Round the Island Race in China. In 2021, he was a skipper in the Rolex Fastnet Race and its four qualifying offshore races. His mileage at sea totals 87,000 nautical miles.

Despite having sailed all his life, having been inspired by his father and growing up in Singapore, it was taking part in the Clipper Race that he credits as changing his life. His eyes were opened to a second career in sailing after a successful 30 years in banking and as a business leader. His coaching experience not only spans business and sailing but also rugby, as Mike also was prop and coach for many years. He's a cricket fan and skier and since the Clipper 2017-18 Race has added bird watching to his list of hobbies.

Chris Brooks - Qingdao

A high-performance sailor, with 28 years of racing experience under his belt, and an impressive 95 per cent podium success rate from hundreds of races, Chris Brooks brings a very competitive edge to his role as Clipper Race Skipper.

Having already taught and coached thousands of people in sailing, Chris is a firm believer that with the right amount of effort and application, people can achieve anything. He enjoys watching his crew grow in confidence, skill and ability.

Sailing is a family affair for Chris, whose uncle taught him to sail at the age of seven. His uncle had learnt to sail with Chris' cousin who went on to win gold in the Paralympics. Chris notes one of his career highlights to date as a solo circumnavigation of the UK on a F18 catamaran.

Ian Wiggin - Unicef

Being appointed as a Clipper Race Skipper was the realisation of a long-held career aim for Ian. Having avidly followed the race online for many years, his desire to be involved never went away as he set out to make his dream a reality.

After starting out racing in Plymouth in 2006 on board a Beneteau 40.7, Ian later moved to the Isle of Wight to pursue sailing full-time, gaining as much racing experience as possible on various different yachts and local races.

Ian has dedicated his career ever since to sailing instruction and racing. Before becoming a Clipper Race Skipper, he raced and led trips all over the world, including around Europe, the South Pacific, Morocco, the Caribbean and Australia. He has made multiple Atlantic crossings and has also crossed the Pacific Ocean.

Prior to joining the Clipper Race, Ian worked for a study abroad organisation, which takes students aged 17 to 25 to sea for three months. During the 90 days voyages, he taught his students to cross oceans, study marine sciences, and also learn scuba diving. The voyages exposed Ian to many challenges and he found watching the transformation of individuals and the development of the crew as a whole an immensely satisfying experience. In addition to his sailing qualifications, Ian has a BA Hons in Outdoor Adventure and Leadership Management from Worcester University.

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