Stafan Ammann is preparing to take on the might of the Southern Ocean, a dream he has been waiting five years to live. Stefan was due to take part in the 2011-12 edition of the race but had to withdraw last minute due to unforeseen work commitments.

On a break from his career, Stefan is ready to join his team and start his ocean adventure in Rio for Race 2: Stormhoek Race to Cape of Storms. We catch up with him in Rio ahead of the race.

Name: Stefan Ammann
Age: 47
Nationality: Swiss/ New Zealand
Occupation: Former CEO
Team: Derry~Londonderry~Doire
Signed up for: Leg 2 and 3

What made you decide to sign up to the Clipper Race?

I grew up in New Zealand and loved sailing optimists, windsurfers and yachts all my life. The Clipper Race gave me the chance to tick a few bucket list items like sailing the Southern Ocean that I wouldn´t tackle without the support that the race provides.

Why did you chose Leg 2 and 3?

Leg 3 is the challenge of the Southern Ocean and I think a dream of many New Zealanders that grew up hearing incredible Southern Ocean stories of our local sailing heroes like Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton, New Zealand’s answer to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Leg 2 was more about sailing out of Rio (Christ the Redeemer Statue) crossing the Atlantic and arriving in Cape Town (Table Mountain) and I have also never been to South Africa so thought sailing in would be a little different!

Have you ever done anything like this before?
No - all my sailing has been on shore. I do a lot of mountain biking and triathlons but nothing as challenging or long as this.

What has been the most challenging part of your race experience so far?
Leaving family (wife and two children 14 and 11) for two months and getting personal things sorted - I have to remember that life goes on while I am out of touch sailing!

What has been the highlight of your race experience so far?
Never having raced yachts in the past (sailing has been leisure orientated), the ´highlight´ has probably been appreciating the sail racing ethos and seeing how I respond to the challenge of sleep deprivation, exhaustion and cold, wet, tough conditions.

What advice would you give to someone preparing for the race?
Absolutely go for it – The Clipper Race puts the world’s oceans within everyone’s reach. The Clipper Race provides a fantastic platform to sail the world’s oceans with very little past experience and without having to own a very expensive boat.

What does your family and friends think about you doing the race?
They think I am crazy!

What are you most looking forward to when you arrive in Rio to join your race?
The change-over and hearing the stories from the departing crew.

What do you think will be the most challenging?
The sleep deprivation and absence of hot showers.

What do you hope to achieve?
The personal satisfaction of blue water sailing, crossing the Atlantic and Southern Ocean. I am competitive and keen to do well, but whilst very keen for a podium finish the experience and personal satisfaction of completing the legs will be even greater.

Race 2: The Stormhoek Race to Cape of Storms from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to V&A Waterfront Marina, Cape Town, starts on Wednesday 7 October.

If you would like to join Stefan to race the world’s oceans in the next edition of the race, please get in touch via the apply section of the website.

Apply now