Meet Race Skipper Peter Thornton

24 March 2015

Peter Thornton’s sailing career has seen him progress from the Gorran and Mevagissey Sea Scouts in Cornwall, to being awarded an MBE at the age of twenty-five. Presented with the honour for a period of service as the Flag Lieutenant to the First Sea Lord and Admiralty Board at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Peter moved into sailing chartered yachts after fifteen years of service.

Having recently completed a circumnavigation as First Mate on a 225 footer, the 37 year old says he is looking forward to the Clipper Race challenge: “I applied to be Race Skipper because I have the desire to put what I've learnt at sea so far into a race which I really believe has no equal.

“I want to build others' confidence to be comfortable and feel the exhilaration of being in the zone, in the middle of an ocean as a team racing a fast yacht. My life as a bit of an extreme sports opportunist and a career as a seafarer has thrown a few interesting challenges my way - from high intensity postings and emergencies at sea to loan stormy winter surfs and jumping out of planes. However, this is definitely up there as one of the most significant.”

Peter is an experienced ocean racer and among the many events he has competed in is the Rolex Sydney-Hobart, which will form part of Leg 4 in the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

Despite his competitive nature, Peter says crew safety is at the forefront of his mind: “I believe one of my best attributes as a skipper is that I listen. I’m confident in my ability but know my limits so don’t take risks when in question. People feel safe working with me.

“I’d like to think all crew know I will put them first before my own agenda of deep down wanting to win and be the best at what I do.”

Five things about Peter

My greatest strength is: commitment.

My weakness is: apparently waffling.

I’d describe myself as: energetic, dedicated, caring.

If I wasn’t a sailor I would like to have been: a detective.

My most memorable moment at sea is: seeing my first iceberg with a searchlight at 23:00 from the bridge of RFA Diligence just north of South Georgia.

To read more about all of our race skippers click here.

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