TWELVE brand new 70-foot ocean racing yachts, a 40,000- mile circumnavigation, 15 races, 13 countries, – but only one winner – this is the compelling description of the world’s longest yacht event, the Clipper Round the World Race.
Surely the participants have undergone years of gruelling training and punishing conditions in order to earn their stripes to compete in such an event? Answer, no, for the Clipper is raced by people like you – even if you have never stepped on a boat before.
The only race in the world where taxi drivers rub shoulders with chief executives, vicars mix with housewives, students work alongside bankers, nurses team with vets and doctors join rugby players, the Clipper race takes would-be sailors from all walks of life, all backgrounds, providing they are hungry to live life to the full.
Operating a fleet of 12 identical all-new stripped down 70-foot racing yachts, each sponsored by a city, region or country, the organisers install a fully-qualified skipper apiece to lead their amateur crews safely around the planet in an 11-month-long marathon.
All boats start equal, no-one has an advantage, and the winners are those who keep their focus the longest. The experience teaches teamwork and respect, pushes your body to the limit and fosters an appreciation of cultures and religions – in short, it changes lives.
The next event is scheduled to start in August 2011 and is arranged in 15 individual races competed across eight separate legs – UK to Brazil, Brazil to South Africa, South Africa to Western Australia, Western Australia to New Zealand and Eastern Australia, Eastern Australia to Singapore and China, China to the West Coast of the USA, West Coast of the USA to Panama and the East Coast of the USA and finally from the East Coast of the USA to Canada, Northern Ireland and back to the UK.
Points are awarded for each race and accumulate towards a championship total. Entrants to The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race can sign up for the whole shooting match, just a single leg or a number of consecutive or staggered legs.
What is certain that, whichever you choose, you’ll face warm trade winds, wintery storms, stinging rain, fog, breath taking skies, incredible sunsets, bountiful wildlife and the world’s watching Press.
The man behind The Clipper Round the World Race is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo nonstop around the world. Having witnessed 15 years of the race and how it has turned almost 3,000 sailing novices into experienced ocean racers, Sir Robin likes to borrow the words of Mark Twain to capture its philosophy – “You will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Prices start from £4,558 for a single leg (plus kit and training) rising to £43,070 for the full 40,000 mile circumnavigation to include the all-important foul weather kit. It doesn’t matter if you’re aged 18 or 70 – the only qualification you need is a thirst for adventure.