Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Ben Ainslie announce challenge of a lifetime for UK youth

16 September 2014

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and founder and patron of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, Sir Ben Ainslie joined forces today to announce a unique opportunity for one young person to experience Mother Nature’s toughest conditions, as a competitor in the tenth anniversary edition of the Clipper Race.

Speaking today at the PSP Southampton Boat Show, the pair revealed a national contest for 18-24 year olds, regardless of previous sailing experience, to win a crew place during the Pacific Ocean leg in the 2015-16 edition of the race.

The prize, worth more than £10,000, has been donated by Sir Robin to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, which Sir Ben Ainslie helped found in memory of his friend and Olympic sailing partner to transform the lives of young people through sailing.

“I share the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s passion for inspiring young people to have life changing experiences through sailing, and I am delighted to be donating this unique adventure,” remarked Sir Robin today.

“When you take on the Pacific Ocean crossing, you are taking on something very, very special. There is nothing bigger or more awesome on this planet,” he continued: “This is something that will test you and push you to limits you didn’t know you had. Very few people have tackled this challenge and now it’s your chance to be one of them.”

Speaking on board one of the Clipper 70 racing yachts, Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation founder and patron, Sir Ben Ainslie added: “The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a real marathon around the globe, and an incredible sporting and personal achievement.

"It is really exciting for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to be able to provide this opportunity for a young person to compete in such a challenging race. It really will be a once in a lifetime experience for the competition winner.”

Starting in China and ending in the West Coast of the USA, Leg 6, the Pacific Ocean crossing, is 5,500 miles long and will take approximately one month to complete. At times, the fleet’s closest human neighbours will be the astronauts orbiting above them in the international space station.

Anyone in the UK aged 18-24, can be nominated for the prize. No previous sailing experience is required as full training will be provided. You will just have to provide your reasons for nominating this particular young person to take on the challenge.

To nominate a young person you think would gain from the Clipper Race experience, download the application form and check the terms and conditions at

The closing date for nominations is 14 November. A shortlist of five finalists will be announced on 3 December and both Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Ben Ainslie will be part of the final voting process. The winner must be available for four weeks of training based out of Gosport, Portsmouth Harbour, on the UK south coast, and also the race itself from China to North America which will take place during March-April 2016.

To listen to Sir Robin talk on why the Clipper Race is supporting the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, and what the winner can expect to experience - Click here

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