​Clipper Race CEO Named in Queen’s New Year’s Honours List

30 December 2017

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is proud to announce that its Co-Founder and Chief Executive, William Ward, has been awarded with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List for his services to the economy and to the GREAT Britain campaign.

Following the announcement, officially revealed by Buckingham Palace, William said: “As a proud Briton, I am incredibly humbled to be recognised in this way. It feels quite overwhelming to be honest.

“I take enormous pride in the growth the Clipper Race has made since 1995 when my business partner Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and I first set out together. It’s always been a brilliant event for sailors and all those who possess an adventurous streak, but it’s also become increasingly important to our partners who have shared our vision and of course made our growth possible.

“The GREAT Britain campaign, which I am also very proud to be an Ambassador for, has always been a fantastic example of how our partners can best utilise our global business platform. Over the past three race editions partnered with the campaign we’ve worked with British Consuls in fifteen different destinations around the world, including London, Rio, Cape Town, Sydney, Beijing, Singapore, Da Nang, Seattle, San Francisco, Panama, New York and many more, using a GREAT Britain branded race team to showcase the important work the UK is doing around the world in business, tourism, education, sport and prosperity, projecting Britain’s values and opportunities as its GREAT Britain crew races around the world.”

Adding, William said: “The GREAT Britain partnership is just one example of hundreds of different business partners and international destinations we’ve worked with over our past twenty-one years in operation. It has been a fantastic journey so far and one which I’ve taken enormous satisfaction in seeing go from strength to strength, and I remain equally excited to see where it takes us over future decades.”

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has grown from a start-up venture to the world's largest event of its kind.

21 years in and now in its eleventh edition, 712 people signed up to compete in the Clipper 2017-18 Race on board its third generation of race yacht, the Clipper 70; over 5,000 people have now competed in this unique adventure and its organising company, Clipper Ventures, employs more than 70 staff across its HQ in Hampshire, UK, and training office in Sydney, Australia.

The relationship between its co-founders, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and William Ward, has been a great factor in the race’s success. William has always led the behind the scenes efforts to attract the business partnerships, like that of the GREAT Britain campaign, which have enabled the race not just to continue to be viable, but to grow with each edition.

Not one to seek the limelight, William has always been more comfortable playing the background role but his influence has been anything but low key. Aside from his business decisions, the friendship he and Robin have developed over the years has no doubt been a factor in the long-term success of the event, which has gone from strength to strength where competitors failed.

Commenting on William’s OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Eve Honours list, Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston congratulated his business partner, saying: “William highly deserves this recognition. It is very possible the Clipper Race may never have got off the ground without his brave decision to step in and back it all those years ago when the event faced its first challenges.

“William matches the passion the crew and I have and fully believes in the aim of the Clipper Race, which has been as integral factor in our success. We have faced all challenges to the business together over the years and with a weaker character at the helm, we may not have pulled through some of them but like the crew that choose to take on our challenge, William is determined and resourceful. He digs deep and has worked incredibly hard for what he believes in, which is ultimately why the Clipper Race has been the success it has been and how together and with our fantastic team, we’ve been able to provide this life-changing opportunity for so many people to enjoy around the world.”

William will be invited to officially receive his OBE at Buckingham Palace in the next few months.

Join The Race