Clipper 2017-18 Race Crew Pass Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate

11 September 2018

Hot off the back of completing the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, ten circumnavigating crew members are celebrating another milestone after successfully completing their RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certifications.

An intensive course, the Yachtmaster Offshore qualification enables holders to skipper a yacht up to24 metres and 200gt, on passages of any length up to 150nm from harbour, and is the first step to forging a professional career in sailing. At least four more Clipper 2017-18 Race crew are already signed up to do the course in the coming weeks, with other interested crew set to potentially double the number to twenty newly certified offshore sailors.

Representing the diverse, global nature of the race, the newly qualified crew are from six different teams and cover off seven different nationalities; Great Britain, USA, New Zealand, Cayman Islands, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands.

Ineke Van Der Weijden, from Utrecht, the Netherlands, was a member of the Nasdaq team, and passed the Yachtmaster Offshore course last week. She explains: “It just seemed like a good thing to do while I am trying to figure out what to do next. But also, it is a perfect way to take all the sailing experience from the last year - and from my childhood - and turn it into a qualification that is respected everywhere. It will really show that I can sail and handle boats.

She adds: “The timing was perfect, just after the race when everything is still fresh. And as it was with other Clipper Race crew, it was obviously a lot of fun. Bob Beggs (who was Skipper of the recent Unicef team) is a great teacher and really understands what our strong and weak points are after a year at sea. For instance, on the race we don't really get to park a boat or navigate in confined spaces, so we focused a lot on that. And who knows, I might end up becoming an actual skipper now!”

Since its first edition in 1996, almost 5,000 people have competed in the Clipper Race. Approximately 40 per cent of competitors are new to sailing when they sign up, making it a highly impactful way of boosting global sailing participation.

Following the race, many participants go on to further their experiences. Either through pursuing qualifications, from RYA Day Skipper up to the Yachtmaster Ocean certificate, or by joining local sailing clubs, and racing and delivery teams.

Many crew contemplate career and lifestyle changes during the eleven month race and often ask themselves ‘what am I going to do after this ’? By adding qualifications to their experience of racing thousands of miles across the world’s biggest and toughest oceans, crew can become highly employable in the sailing industry.

Opportunities for becoming Training Mates and Skippers also exist within the Clipper Race which results in many crew members with valuable race experience joining the team to help prepare future crew for the unique experience.

Another crew member who passed the Yachtmaster Offshore Exam is Mike Miller, who went round the world on winning team Sanya Serenity Coast. Mike spent the past 20 years working in the finance industry and is now taking some time to consider his next career path. He says: “I would love the opportunity to make sailing a new career.

“What I absolutely love about the Clipper Race is that it reinforces the need to say yes to things. So many opportunities come up, often from the strangest of directions. So often you say no, I couldn’t possibly do something so different. But then one day, you say yes to something bonkers like the Clipper Race and suddenly you’ve had the most incredible, life-changing experience. It’s been exactly that for me and I’m now just excited to see where else it leads me.”

Veteran Skipper Bob Beggs has raced in three Clipper Race editions and has been an RYA Instructor and Examiner for the past 24 years. He has been instructing through all the courses and says: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see so many Clipper Race crew putting their experiences to good use. They’ve got thousands of miles of ocean experience and are all hungry to continue their development,. It’s really positive for the wider industry that such enthusiastic sailors are looking to get into sailing as a potential career.

“The offshore qualification is a starting point to go on and do great things. The next step would be to see them progress to do the Yachtmaster Ocean, the certificate required to be a Clipper Race Skipper. There are some great potential leaders amongst the group so it will certainly be interesting to see what happens next.”

Congratulations to the following crew for passing the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate over the past couple of weeks:

James Macfee Liverpool 2018

Mike Miller Sanya Serenity Coast

David Sturge Sanya Serenity Coast

Victor Ansart Sanya Serenity Coast

Jerome Greenhalgh Visit Seattle

Damien Egan Nasdaq

Ineke Van Der Weijden Nasdaq

Bill Lyons Garmin

Michael Brien Garmin

Nicolas Schellenberg

Our best wishes to Mirjam Schierscher (Unicef), Seumas Kellock (Unicef), Fernando Antia Bernardez (Liverpool 2018) and Roy Hubbard (Liverpool 2018) who are due to take the Yachtmaster Offshore exam in a couple of weeks.

Join The Race