Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race Skipper Rob Graham

04 April 2017

Already a familiar face to many, Rob Graham first became involved in the Clipper Race when his partner completed the full circumnavigation in the 2009-10 edition. Eight years on, it’s his turn to race the world’s oceans as a Clipper Race Skipper.

Rob, 39, from Angmering, Sussex, is coming into the role with a unique insight into both the Clipper Race and the fleet of twelve 70-foot yachts. As well as acting as a Skipper and Mate for training and corporate sailing events since 2011, Rob has also been involved in the commissioning and refit of the current fleet.

“Knowing the race and boats the way I do is going to be a big help,” says Rob.

“It’s also like doing the race is the only thing I haven’t done yet, you know, having built the boats and refitted them, trained on them, this is what’s left to do and I can’t wait to get started.”

A jack of all trades, Rob’s past professions range from postman to camel jockey. Still, he managed to find the time to graduate with a degree in Law and a Solicitor’s postgraduate qualification from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. An active person who spends his time off water competing in triathlons and distance running, Rob can’t wait to start his dream job, and plans to skipper “a fast, happy boat.”

Since completing his Yacht Masters in 2005, Rob has chalked up more than 50,000 nautical miles including several ocean passages. Having already successfully sailed from Europe to Cape Town, South Africa, Rob is most looking forward to the infamous Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride to the west coast of Australia. “Looking back on images and videos from the Southern Ocean Leg from previous races is incredible and to experience those conditions first hand will be something special.”

When it comes to Rob’s favourite moments at sea, it would be a toss between the time he balanced the trim of eight sails aboard a gaff schooner so she sailed up the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia with no need of helming; seeing a moonbow under trade wind clouds; or crossing the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia aboard an 80-foot ex-Whitbread Maxi on the ARC.

His advice to his future crew?

“Give it everything. Don’t look back on the race after it’s all over and wish you had tried harder.”

Five things about Rob Graham:

Describe yourself in three words: Lanky, ginger and self-deprecating.

Life motto: Crack on!

Nickname: Mellon

Tea or coffee: Coffee

If you could have one superpower: Mindreading (I’m reading yours now, can you tell?)

To read more about our twelve Clipper 2017-18 Race Skippers, click here.

Want to race the world’s oceans? There are limited berths on board the Clipper 2017-18 Race due to start this summer. To secure your place, apply here.

Apply now