This is the only race in the world where the organisers supply the fleet of 12 identical, 70-foot, stripped down racing yachts – each sponsored by a city, a region or a country – and man each with a fully-qualified skipper, employed to lead the crews safely around the globe.
It’s where taxi drivers rub shoulders with chief executives, vicars mix with housewives, students work alongside bankers, nurses work with vets and doctors team with rugby players. It’s an experience that will change people’s lives. Yet while the crews may be amateur, no one has told the ocean that.
The sea does not distinguish between Olympians or novices and if the Southern Ocean, the Pacific or the South Atlantic decides to throw down the gauntlet, the Clipper Race crews need to be ready to face exactly the same challenges as those experienced by the professional racer.
And, when they return from the biggest challenge they have ever faced, the crews bring home countless lessons with them. The importance of teamwork and the importance of respect. Of giving more than you take. Of learning what your body is capable of. An appreciation of cultures, religions, lifestyles and attitudes that connect with communities right around the globe.
Because of its amateur status and varied crew profile, don’t for a moment consider this to be some sort of easy option. The crews have to work hard to become winners and it’s not unusual that boats might finish within minutes of each other after three weeks and 3,000 miles of ocean racing.
"Twenty years from now 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."
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Founder and Chairman of the Clipper Race