The race experience itself is a test, but what difference does it make when you get home?

Over the last 20 years the Clipper Race and our crew have worked with many different charities, be it one close to the heart of an individual taking part in the race, or one that has been made an Official Race Charity for a particular race edition.

In 2015-16, when Unicef came on board as the Official Race Charity, CEO William Ward set race crew and staff an additional challenge on top of racing the world’s oceans, and that was to raise £300,000 to help children in danger all over the world. That mission was accomplished at the anniversary ball with proceeds from the tickets, auction and raffle taking the total to over £330,000.

As well as fundraising, there are other ways that race and its partners work to help improve the lives of people who would otherwise never have the opportunity to take part in something as special and inspiring as the race, and perhaps lack the self-belief that it would ever even be possible.

Such projects have been run by Race Partners ONE HULL, Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, Qingdao and Derry City & Strabane District Council, whose bursary schemes all aimed to provide meaningful experiences and skills to disadvantaged people in their areas or regions.

The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation is the brainchild of its CEO, Dirk van Daele, who saw first-hand during his own participation in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race how sailing could be used to promote leadership and life skills for vulnerable youths.

Lerato Bridgette Masombuka, 20, is from the small township of Zithobeni in Bronkhorspruit, South Africa. She lost both parents and was brought up by her grandmother and aunt. Most young people in Zithobeni drop out of school and those who manage to finish their matric (high school graduation) find it hard to further their studies, exposing them to other negative pressures. Lerato was part of the second Sapinda Rainbow relay team and completed Leg 7 of the Clipper 2015-16 Race on IchorCoal, sailing from Seattle, through the Panama Canal, to New York City.

From sailing to studying and waking up in the night thinking her bed is leaning over, Lerato explains how she has been adapting to life back on land and putting lessons learnt on the race into practice.

“Initially things were a bit strange when I got home from the Clipper Race, I felt like I was still on the boat…I would wake up in the middle of the night with no reason, craving Oreo biscuits. Sometimes I felt like my bed was leaning over.I wanted to pump instead of flush every time I was in the toilet and experienced other unusual things.

“After only a few weeks at home, I had to go back to school. School has been very hectic becauseI had to write all the assignments I missed while I had been away and it wasn’t easy. Everything had to be written in a very short period of time, sometimes I even wrote two modules in one day which was straining. The watch system on the boat really helped me though, I didn’t struggle to wake up to study, and could do with only a few hours of sleep while catching up on all the school work I missed. I am happy to say that I passed all my assessments; I also got an award from one of my lecturers for getting the best mark in Applied English!

“This semester is very interesting because it includes group work and presentation. I enjoy working in a group now, though groups are usually challenging. My group members were very passive at first; they were always late and didn’t contribute towards the group work. I had to take charge andteach them a few things that I’ve learnt from my sailing experience, such as the value of punctuality, participation, cooperation and the importance of working as a team.I enjoy sharing my sailing experience.

“I truly love the challenging adventure that I took on, I am really proud of myself. All thanks to the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation and my Clipper Race Skipper and crew mates.”

Lerato's interview is one of many features included in the celebratory programme produced for the Clipper Race 20th anniversary ball. For an online version of the entire programme, click here.

We are very proud to have made the final shortlist for MetrixLab Website of the Year Awards in the sport category, alongside sporting giants like Manchester United and Formula 1. The award includes a public voting element, which will be open until 11 November. Click here for further information and to find out how you can vote for the Clipper Race website.

To learn more about the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation visit

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