21 December 2021

The Clipper Race has confirmed its lineup of AQPs (Additional Qualified Persons), also known as ‘First Mates’, who will support the Race Skippers in leading the eleven teams competing in the Clipper 2019-20 Race when it restarts in March 2022.

The role of these professional sailors is to work closely with their Skipper, utilising their expertise and supporting the goals of the team - not only with the objective of winning races, but applying people development skills to help create a competent and competitive race team. It is an important role, supporting up to 22 crew on board at any one time.

The global sailing race welcomes back AQPs James Finney on Zhuhai and Al Jay on Dare to Lead, who are resuming the race with their original teams.

Since the race was paused in 2020, other commitments have arisen for some of the AQPs, meaning not all are able to return to the upcoming edition. The Clipper Race gives thanks to Ryan Barkey, Lindsay Barnes, Sam Cooper, Fabian Fisahn, Jorge Infante Llorca, Rhiannon Massey and Hugo Picard for their outstanding accomplishments in the previous legs of the circumnavigation.

The unique challenge of being a Clipper Race AQP offers solid experience for further developing a professional sailing career, with the opportunity to advance to Skipper. Having had the role of AQP for the previous legs of the current edition, Dan Jones and Mike Miller will be rejoining the race as Skippers.

The AQPs, of British, Dutch and Uruguayan nationalities have together accumulated over 300,000 nautical miles in their log books. In late January 2022 they will be travelling to the Philippines ahead of the race restarting in March.

Meet the AQPs:

Name: James Finney

Nationality: British

Age: 27

Race Team: Zhuhai

James is returning as AQP, having sailed with Zhuhai for the first half of the Clipper 2019-20 Race. With over 20,000nm under his belt from the race to date, he cannot wait to complete the circumnavigation he set out to do.

Following in his father’s nautical footsteps, James began sailing at a young age. However, in his own words, in the early days he was “as an unhappy passenger being used for ballast.” This shifted and he started to learn to sail on his own from the age of ten and went on to be a dinghy instructor. After completing his Professional Yachtmaster Ocean qualification, he completed two seasons in Greece, out of Vounaki. James says that two adventurers he greatly admires are Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Pete Goss. He says: “if I could do half as much with my life as either one, I’d be pretty pleased.”

Name: Al Jay

Nationality: British

Age: 54

Race Team: Dare To Lead

Having been AQP on board Dare To Lead for the final leg of the 2017-18 edition and also Race 9 of the Clipper 2019-20 race, Al Jay will return as the AQP for the team once again this March.

Prior to life as a First Mate, Al Jay was Race Crew on Qingdao for four legs of the Clipper 2017-18 Race and has been part of the Clipper Race since, working with training, recruitment and Clipper Events.

As a crew member, Al Jay was inspired to join the Clipper Race after an experience on a classic tall ship gave him a thirst for sailing - but of a more challenging kind. A goal to travel to Australia ‘the hard way’ gave him the boost to sign up.

Once in Australia, he achieved his RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification, and he worked with the Mainstay Sailing School until he rejoined the Clipper Race in New York as an AQP. With his experience as both crew and AQP, he brings a diverse skill set, determination, and a competitiveness to the team.

Name: Angela Brandsma

Nationality: Dutch

Age: 47

Race Team: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Angela is said to have been ‘sailing before she could walk’. As the daughter of a yacht broker, she grew up on the water and together with her sister she competed and won at the Dutch, European and World Championships in a Vaurien dinghy. Angela came very close to going to the Olympic Games, missing out after coming second in The Netherlands to qualify.

Over the last three years, she has crossed the Atlantic Ocean six times, three as a Skipper. Angela has competed world-wide, in regattas in the Caribbean, including skippering an all-female team during the Heineken regatta a couple of times. In her race career, she cites ‘Wiping out on a Volvo 70 in the middle of the Atlantic’ as a very memorable sailing moment. She hopes to instil her ethos that the ‘sky's the limit’ in the team.

Name: Daniel Bodey

Nationality: British

Age: 31

Race Team: Unicef

Daniel has sailing in his genes, having been taught by his parents and grandparents from when he was young. Since then, he has accumulated 30,000nm, including those he racked up during the first half of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, in which he was a Unicef crew member. His passion and experience as a watch leader and learning from his AQP and Skipper gave him the desire to pass on his knowledge so others get the most from the experience. He wants to show the crew the wonders of being out on the ocean, while helping them develop their own skills.

His most memorable sailing moment was crossing the South Atlantic from Punta del Este to Cape Town, surfing the incredible waves in strong winds out at sea, exclaiming: “Seeing the power and majesty of the world's oceans will be an experience I will never forget”.

Name: Ineke van der Weijden

Nationality: Dutch

Age: 47

Race Team:WTC Logistics

Ineke is returning to the Clipper Race, after sailing from Portimão to Punta del Este on the 2019-20 edition as an interim AQP. Prior to this she was Race Crew during the 2017-18 edition, after signing up to be a circumnavigator. These stints with the Clipper Race have contributed to the approx. 50,000nm she has sailed since age seven. After her first Clipper Race she hasn’t stopped sailing, achieving her Yachtmaster qualification and has sailed all over the world in various guises. She was also a First Mate on board the Our Isles and Oceans yacht during the Clipper Race training programme in summer 2021.

The Netherlands-born sailor has been competitive since winning dinghy races as a kid. Her stand out experience is sailing the North Pacific during a hurricane, with a phenomenal sea state. She says: “The image of the amazing waves and the feeling of awe and intimidation at that display of nature are still very vivid in my mind.” The sense of pride, disbelief and amazement is something she is excited to share with her team as they embark on the challenge of the long North Pacific Ocean crossing next year.

Name: Fernando Antia Bernardez

Nationality: Uruguayan and Portuguese

Age: 32

Race Team: Punta del Este

With a thirst for adventure, Nano has amassed an incredible 68,221nm since he started sailing in 2017. He took up the sport for the experiences it gives, namely to be able one day to sail to remote places looking for perfect waves. His yacht racing began with the Clipper 2017-18 Race when he circumnavigated as a crew member. He returned to compete on the first stage of the current edition, sailing from London to Portimão and then onto Punta del Este. He has also worked as First Mate for Clipper Events.

Most recently he has been a skipper and sailing instructor in his hometown at the Yacht Club Punta del Este (also a Host Port on the current edition of the race). Prior to that he has participated in the RORC series and Fastnet as a professional bowman for a Volvo 70, worked at Sunsail UK as a First Mate and raced the Rolex Southern Atlantic Circuit in Classic Boats and on class J70.

Away from the deck, Nano enjoys surfing and is an ex professional swimmer. He has a degree in accounting however he states the Clipper Race ‘as one of the ocean’s top universities’ and he can’t wait to teach others and make the crew and his Skipper happier with each watch, even while helming through the fiercest of storms.

Name: Mary Vaughan-Jones

Nationality: British

Age: 26

Race Team: Visit Sanya, China

As a circumnavigator on the Clipper 2019-20 Race, former fitness instructor Mary has sailed 20,000nm, from London to the Philippines. With her skipper recognising her sailing ability, she was given the responsibility of watch leader whilst competing on the first half of the edition.

In the summer of 2021, Mary worked as an instructor for a youth trust, getting young disadvantaged people into sailing. She is currently working in Antigua, getting a Farr 65 race ready for the Caribbean 600 and the Heineken Regatta. Her favourite memory of sailing so far, in her own words: “One hundred percent sailing through the Southern Ocean.”

Mary describes coming back to the race and developing her sailing career as a phenomenal experience and one she can’t wait to share with the crew. Among the reasons for taking the position is the opportunity to utilise her valuable experience of knowing the teamwork and camaraderie required to have a successful team.

Name: John Chambers

Nationality: British

Age: 25

Race Team: Imagine your Korea

John has racked up 30,000nm since he began sailing at the age of six when he started crewing for his grandfather across the Solent, to the Channel Islands and France. He will now follow in his footsteps, as his grandfather believed in pushing young people and giving them responsibility, which ignited his passion for sailing.

After starting working as a Training Mate for the Clipper Race in November 2019, John has hugely enjoyed working alongside top skippers and instructors and having trained many new sailors who have signed up to take part he says: “there is a wonderful atmosphere in training, which is made by the crew.”

He has made three Atlantic crossings with one of them including a sail up the Amazon River on a 34ft Contessa. “Surviving those dangerous waters and heading straight into a tropical storm pushed me to the limit. After 44 hours, it was certainly a relief to start pulling away from the Brazilian mangroves and onto Barbados.”

The challenge of crossing the North Pacific Ocean has always been John’s ambition.

Name: Max Rivers

Nationality: British

Age: 28

Race Team: GoToBermuda

Max started sailing at the age of 13 on the West Coast of Scotland on board a sail training vessel. He then became a sailing instructor at university (where he studied Adventure Education) to keep himself busy during the summers and that led to a career in sailing. He has taught sailing in France, Italy, UK, Greece and Australia including as a Keelboat Instructor, Teams and Match Racing Coach in Sydney and skippered the Great British Paddle support yacht on an expedition to circumnavigate the UK via SUP.

At the Clipper Race's sister company, Hamble School of Yachting, Max has also been a Practical Sailing Instructor.

It has been a dream of Max’s to be part of the Clipper Race and he most looks forward to the challenging weather on the Mighty Pacific Leg and the tactical choices that will be thrown at the teams.

Max cites a strong sailing highlight as when he headed out of Hurst Narrows, during Round The Island 2021, surrounded by hundreds of other vessels, thoroughly enjoying being part of such a large fleet.

Name: Bruce Anderson

Nationality: British

Age: 56

Race Team: Qingdao

For Bruce, sailing has been part of family life for generations. His earliest memories of sailing were during trips to Loch Lomond with his parents and grandparents but it was during Bruce’s time in the British Army that his interest in sailing grew. After competing in the Fastnet Race, Bruce took part in a number of sailing expeditions with the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC).

Today, Bruce has competed in multiple Fastnet and Round the Island Races, he has completed numerous yacht deliveries including a trip from Miami to New York and has been teaching sailing in the Solent, UK.

At Hamble School of Yachting, the Clipper Race's sister company, Bruce completed his Yachtmaster Professional Sail Training course and also qualified as a Practical Instructor at the school.

On board Unicef, Bruce completed Leg 5 of the 2019-20 edition and is hoping that his appointment as AQP will set him on the right track to achieve his long-term goal of becoming a future Clipper Race Skipper.

Name: Hannah Brewis

Age: 25

Race Team: Seattle

Hannah started sailing with her family at a young age and sailed competitively with her school on Rutland Water. At 16, she took part in a leg of the tall ships race from Latvia to Poland, which gave her the motivation to take up yachting as a career.

After achieving her Yachtmaster, she moved to Greece where she started as a flotilla skipper and then yacht trainer. She has worked in deliveries and as a cruising instructor and also as a practical sailing instructor for Clipper Race's sister company, Hamble School of Yachting. One of her sailing highlights is crossing the Bay of Biscay for the first time.

It has been her long term aspiration to participate in the Clipper Race, having followed previous editions and has set herself the goal of sailing the five oceans.

Follow the adventures of the AQPs as the Clipper 2019-20 Race gets underway in March 2022.

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