Growing up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, there was not much opportunity for Ashley Skett to get into sailing, but as a child he learned how to sail dinghies on holidays in Newquay Cornwall, where he later relocated to. Once he left school, Ashley, now 31, joined his family business in street market trading before becoming a fire fighter.
It was a trip to Australia which inspired him to pursue a career in sailing, as Ashley explains: “When I was backpacking, I spent some time on a yacht in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands where I can’t wait to go back to for the start of Leg 5. I had sailed dinghies a lot but that was the first time I had been on a larger sailing boat and I remember looking at the guys working on it and thinking ‘Wow, I want to do that for a living!’.
Ashley, who marks being accepted into the Royal Marines as one of his greatest achievements, thinks completing the Clipper Race will surpass that: “Training for the Royal Marines hardened me up and gave me some valuable experience of working together as a team and pushing my limits. The Clipper Race is totally unique so the opportunities to do something similar are very few.
“Without doubt the Southern Ocean is the leg I am looking forward to the most. Rounding one of the great Capes is a big deal for any sailor and I am desperately looking forward to surfing down waves as big as houses and the challenge of sailing in some of the toughest conditions imaginable.”
Five things about Ashley
I am inspired by: my family who have always been there to help me achieve my goals
The most important advice I will give my crew is: communicate.
Outside of sailing I enjoy: kayaking and climbing.
My most memorable moment at sea is: jumping off the boat during a mid-Atlantic crossing to swim with a pod of pilot whales.
The port I am most looking forward to is: Rio because I’ve never been to South America. It’s our first host port after Leg 1 and is known for its incredible party atmosphere.Join The Race