Please select your home edition
Leaderboard FD July August September 2023

Clipper Race co-founders to hand over adventure sailing brands to new leadership team

by Danielle Wickham 13 Nov 2022 09:29 PST
Clipper founders William Ward, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston ring the Opening Bell of the Nasdaq Stock Market in 2016 © Christopher Galluzzo

It has been announced today that after 26 years of building Clipper Ventures and successfully hosting 12 editions of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and CEO William Ward OBE are stepping back from the day to day running of the business. Clipper Ventures will now be led by internally appointed Managing Directors, Chris Rushton and Laura Ayres, both of whom have extensive experience within the company.

Clipper Ventures, which will see its 13th edition of the Clipper Race launch in 2023, also manages experiential sailing brand, Clipper Events, along with adventure expedition sailing company SKIRR Adventures, RYA sailing school - Hamble School of Yachting and Clipper China.

Chris Rushton has over twenty years of experience in the maritime industry, owning and running the widely respected Hamble School of Yachting from the age of 21. Since the leading RYA sea school became part of Clipper Ventures in 2018, Chris has continued as its Director, with additional responsibilities as Director of Training for Clipper Ventures and oversaw the launch of new adventure sailing brand, SKIRR Adventures.

In her previous role as Head of Partnerships and Events, Laura has overseen a multi-million-pound global sponsorship portfolio, with a reputation for showcasing brands and building international trade links between partners and host destinations. Laura also manages Clipper Events. This experiential sailing events brand recently relaunched with an innovative series of UK launches including the inaugural Knox-Johnston Cup held in September and an upcoming Fastnet Race campaign in 2023.

Clipper Ventures' experienced new Management Board, led by the joint MDs, will be supported by a Finance Director (Anna Navarro) and Race Director (Mark Light). William will sit on the board as Executive Chairman and Sir Robin as Non-Executive Director and President, with the operational and commercial aspects of the business overseen by Chris and Laura, and their respective teams. As part of the long-term succession plan, the business has engaged with FRP Corporate Finance, to start a process that will enable the co-founders to reduce most of their shareholdings and find a new custodian to take ownership of the business.

Sir Robin said: "For the last 26 years, William and I have been, and will continue to be inspired by the thousands of Race Crew who have taken part in the Clipper Race. By sailing across the world's oceans, many with no sailing experience prior to their Clipper Race training, they achieve something truly remarkable, which was our goal right from the beginning.

"Seeing the company grow from a biennial yacht race to a multi-faceted company that enables people from all walks of life to participate in sailing- whether an ocean racing experience, adventure to the Arctic or earning a world class sailing qualification, has been a privilege. Chris and Laura have been at the forefront of driving the business to this strong position in recent years, and we could not be more confident and prouder to pass them the helm going forward."

Newly appointed MD, Chris Rushton added: "Sir Robin is a pioneer in driving participation in sailing. That ethos will remain at the heart Clipper Ventures. The legacy he created together with William will provide more opportunity to discover our inspiring sport.

"The growth of the business is strong, with a packed programme of sailing events next year, and of course the Clipper 2023-24 Race. Following the success of SKIRR Adventures' inaugural high-latitude expedition, we are looking forward to seeing the next group of adventurers set sail to the Arctic Circle in summer 2023. Hamble School of Yachting continues to have a strong programme of RYA courses and the Clipper Events iconic race programme is well under way and we are currently gearing up for the next Rolex Fastnet Race Campaign. As one of the world's classic offshore races, it is hugely exciting that Clipper Events will have its own class, enabling a wider group of sailors to take part and race in this legendary challenge."

Related Articles

Sta-Lok to rig 11-strong Clipper Race fleet
This will be the Essex-based company's 3rd edition of partnership Sta-Lok Terminals Ltd. is returning as the Official Standing Rigging Supplier for the upcoming edition of the Clipper Race. Posted on 13 Apr 2023
SKIRR opens up Arctic Circle sailing expedition
Designed for the curious, the restless and those who are adventurers by nature SKIRR Adventures, subsidiary of Clipper Ventures which runs Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, is due to set off on its second expedition to the Arctic Circle this July. Posted on 17 Feb 2023
Final test of Clipper 2019-20 Race underway
A good breeze for the start of Race 15 from Derry~Londonderry to London The rain gave way to blue skies and a good breeze for the start of Race 15 - the final race in the Clipper Race circumnavigation, taking the teams from Derry~Londonderry to London. Posted on 25 Jul 2022
Race like a legend: Debut Knox-Johnston Cup
Set to put fun back into competitive racing The Knox-Johnston Cup is named in honour of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - sister company to Clipper Events. Posted on 25 May 2022
Interview with Ollie Phillips
Clipper Veteran and ex-England Rugby Captain It's not every day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnson suggests you join the Clipper Round the World race! This is what happened to Ollie Phillips after a career changing injury, and 3 weeks later he was starting his training. Posted on 19 Apr 2020
Unicef: A time to stand together
A variety of helpful resources created by Clipper Race Charity Partner During this truly unprecedented and difficult time, Clipper Race Charity Partner, Unicef UK and its entire global family, offer all of their support to Clipper Race Crew, Supporters and Partners. Posted on 9 Apr 2020
The unstoppable journey - 2021
The Clipper 2019-20 Race will resume in early 2021 The Clipper 2019-20 Race will resume in early 2021 to complete the final three legs and the full circumnavigation. Posted on 4 Apr 2020
The WTC Logistics Tri-Race Ocean Sprint results
The heat was turned up for Race 9 The Clipper 2019-20 Race is currently on hold for now, however, we have a battle for points to celebrate. Posted on 22 Mar 2020
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston Interview
Following the Clipper 2019-20 Race Suspension The Clipper 2019-20 Race has been suspended with immediate effect, following the ongoing global outbreak of Covid-19 and the enormous impact it has created on world travel. Posted on 20 Mar 2020
Update from Clipper Race Organising Committee
Quarantine on crew in Subic Bay has now been lifted We are pleased to announce that the quarantine on our crew in Subic Bay has now been lifted and they are able to leave the marina. Posted on 18 Mar 2020
ETNZ-STORE-728X90 one B BOTTOMHenri-Lloyd - For the ObsessedDoyle_SailWorld_728X90px-01 BOTTOM