Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Race Crew: Shannon Dean

05 June 2017

NAME: Shannon Dean

AGE: 53

NATIONALITY: American

OCCUPATION: Nurse

LEGS: full circumnavigation

TEAM: Visit Seattle

A brief moments break during a busy night shift led to Shannon Dean, a 53 year old nurse from Seattle, deciding to sign up for the adventure of a lifetime.

“I was working one night on a Postpartum Unit in Seattle, and sat down to have a look at BBC news,” says Shannon.

“There was a story featuring the Clipper Race with images of a parade of yachts on the Thames. I had stumbled on the start of the 2015-16 race - I mailed my application in the next morning.”

After initially thinking of taking part in the opening two legs, Shannon soon realised she wouldn’t be satisfied unless she did the whole 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation.

“When I sent in my application I was just weeks away from starting a two-year nursing program. This was a major midlife change, leaving a prior career as a software engineer. Graduation was set for June 2017 so I thought to sneak in a leg or two before I started a new career.

“A challenging year of school and residency passed before I stepped on my first Clipper Race yacht for training. Two weeks later I added the Southern Ocean Leg 3 (I couldn’t bear to miss the Southern Ocean), later the All Australian Leg 4 (who doesn’t want to race Sydney to Hobart?), and finally Round the World!”

Shannon Dean during Clipper Race training.

Although Shannon, like many of the Clipper Race crew, has limited sailing experience, she is a water baby through and through.

“I haven’t done much more than dinghy sailing myself, but I grew up on the water. My dad was a ships’ carpenter and we spent every summer anchored out on our 1904 31-foot cabin cruiser.

“With my brothers and sister I rowed, eeled, sailed, clammed, and dove for scallops. I never wanted to go back to the mainland, always looking the other way. More recently I have been volunteering as crew on local races.”

Shannon will be spending her eleven-month adventure on board her home town yacht Visit Seattle, skippered by Nikki Henderson. She can’t wait to sail into Seattle after the Mighty Pacific Leg 6, especially after seeing the welcome the team received in the 2015-16 edition of the race.

“It was intoxicating [watching the team arrive in Seattle]. Though I had signed on the race six months’ prior, I had had little time outside of school to give it much thought. When the fleet sailed in, magnificent, it all became real for me.

“I have complete confidence in Nikki and our ability to excel as a team. Go Visit Seattle!”

Feel inspired? There are still limited opportunities to sign up for the Clipper 2017-18 Race and we have also opened applications for the 2019-20 edition. If you think you have what it takes to race across the world’s oceans, then apply here.

Apply now