Meet the Crew: Han Kim aims to be first ever Korean Clipper Race circumnavigator

17 August 2015

Han Kim is an amateur sailor from Seoul, South Korea. An adventurer at heart, Han has so far travelled to 150 countries and is aiming to visit all 192 UN registered countries. He is also hoping to fulfil his dream of becoming the first Korean sailor to circumnavigate the world in the Clipper Race.

Despite Korea having relatively low participation levels in the sport, Han has been sailing for about 20 years and is a member of the Korea Yacht Sport Sailing Team in Seoul. Here he explains how he hopes to use his race experience to increase the popularity of sailing in his home country, and which two countries he will visit on the race route for the first ever time.

Name: Han (Yoonho) KIM
Nationality: Korean
Age: 41
Occupation: Sports promoter
Legs: Round the world
Team: ClipperTelemed+

How did you first learn about the Clipper Race?Ironically, I found out about the race through another Korean who was hoping to be the first Korean circumnavigator in the Clipper Race. I was sent a link to his sponsorship website and once I started to learn about the race I was hooked and signed up myself. The person who asked me for sponsorship since withdrew his own application for the race.

How have you found your Clipper Race experience so far? I love sailing – I love the starts, sailing as a team, the finishes – everything in between. The feeling of coming together and feeling the result of hard team work is really important.

It’s been awesome. On Level 4 training I loved the feeling of the Le Mans starts. We’re all ready, we’re all lined up and everyone is trying to get an advantage and we all start with sails down and it’s a race to get them up and get going as quick as possible – it’s pure adrenaline.

I think sailing is a continuous learning process but I feel confident that I can do the race and hopefully we can win something. Throughout Level 4 we’ve all gained a lot of trust for teammates and of course for our skipper. I think the trust between crew is important of course but we all need a strong anchor point and I think that we all have full trust in Diane.

You’ve visited many countries. Are there any places you will visit for the first time on the race?
I will actually be visiting Brazil and Panama for the first time. Despite all my travels, I have visited South and Central America less than other continents so I’m excited to experience more of it.

What about the Clipper Race do you think will challenge you most?
Living with 20 strangers from different cultures will be my biggest challenge but my experiences in the tough Korean army and my yearlong overland trip around Africa will help me to not only deal with the challenges but come out as a winner.

What do your friends and loved ones think of you doing this? Of course, all my friends and family are concerned but they know my adventurous spirit can’t be tamed and are, in the end, supportive of this expedition.

How is sailing developing in Korea?
The number of sailors in Korea is growing but it’s still far behind many other countries such as the UK or Australia but we’re getting there. We lack the proper foundations and education and that’s what I am trying to gain from the Clipper Race and when I return to Korea I hope to help with this. I am committed to try to take the Clipper Race to Korea in the future. We already have a couple of cities interested in hosting the race. I think the whole Clipper Race event would be a great success in Korea in that it is basically a global race for amateurs and enthusiasts and not just for the sailing elite.

The biggest challenge for the Clipper Race in Korea right now is that it is not very well known but I am hoping that my participation in the race this year, as the first ever Korean round the worlder, will help spread the word and change that. I think once people hear and know about the opportunity, they will be keen to try it for themselves.

If you could sum up your feelings about the upcoming race using three words, what would they be?

Grateful! Proud! Thrilled!

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