Following the announcement of our Clipper 2015-16 Race skippers, warm wishes and congratulations have flooded in from their predecessors.

For the first time in our 19-year history, two of the twelve professional sailors set to race their crews round the world are women. In the Clipper 2013-14 Race, Vicky Ellis was the sole female skipper and the only the third ever, so she was especially pleased to see Diane Reid and Wendy Tuck in this year’s line-up.

Vicky, who skippered Switzerland in the last race, says: “The appointment this year of two talented and driven female skippers for the race is great news all round. I hope it is the start of a growing trend. The selection process is tough, competitive and effective. I know how hard they have each worked to get selected.

“When my team won Race 7 into Brisbane last year, we became the first ever team skippered by a female to win a leg of the Clipper Race. However there is still as of yet, no female skipper who has won the race overall, or indeed any round the world crewed yacht race. That is one last record for the taking and I wish the two ladies all the best if that is their aim!”

Diane Reid is following in the wake of compatriot Eric Holden, winning skipper of the Clipper 2013-14 Race. Eric, who was able to use his skills as a meteorologist to guide the Henri Lloyd yacht to victory, would like to see Diane replicate his success. Eric says: “I am very pleased to hear Canadian Diane Reid has been selected to skipper in this year's race. A Clipper Race skipper is a demanding undertaking that I trust Diane will find as rewarding as I did. I would like to wish her all the best of luck and good fortune.”

Despite her nation’s long association with the Clipper Race, Wendy Tuck is our first female skipper from Australia. Her predecessor Chris Hollis, who skippered PSP Logistics in the last race says: "I can hardly believe it has been two years since I was announced as a skipper for the 2013-14 edition of the race! So a massive congratulations to the skippers this year, you are all about to embark on wonderful journey around the world, and the bond you will form with each will be amazing.

“I would also like to extend a personal congratulations to a couple of friends of mine, Wendy Tuck - Flying the flag for Australia, and a former colleague, Pete Thornton. I am truly jealous I won’t be on the start line with the fleet. That first week at sea will be one of the toughest you will experience, settling into your new boat and crew. However, all the tiredness, coldness and wetness will be worth it!”

Now the skippers have been announced, we will be releasing their profiles on a daily basis from Monday, March 23.

To show your support for our next generation of skippers, why not join in the chat on our social media on our Facebook and twitter pages.

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