Skipper thoughts ahead of ‘the big one’

19 March 2022

After a two year wait, the Clipper 2019-20 Race is restarting tomorrow, Sunday 20 March 2022.

As energy builds on the ground in Subic Bay, we caught up with each of the Clipper Race Skippers ahead of the epic 6,100 nautical mile marathon across the North Pacific.

Chris Brooks

Skipper - Qingdao

“We are all very much looking to cross the North Pacific on Race 10. We’ve come a long way to be back here and we can’t wait to get out racing again.”

“One of the biggest challenges in this race will be facing ten other Clipper Race teams out there! Apart from that, we’re expecting some big weather and big waves but really it’s the ten other teams we are worrying about.”

“Going back into the race in the lead feels brilliant. It’s just all coming together and falling into place.”

“It’s a privilege to be skippering the Qingdao yacht - and to have such a fantastic team to be leading, too. It’s even better to be leading a good team in the lead - it’s a good place to be.”

Nigel Parry

Skipper - Dare To Lead

“It’s incredible - it’s been a long journey for everyone to get to this stage. Since being in Subic Bay, everyone has been putting a lot of effort in, everyone is very excited and looking forward to going!

“The North Pacific is the largest ocean on the planet and there will be many challenges, not least the wind and the cold but we’re all looking forward to it.”

“I’ve been involved with the Clipper Race for many years and I’ve trained a lot of people to get them ready to race the Clipper 70s so I’m very proud to be a part of so many people’s journey - and now as a skipper, too.”

Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez

Skipper - Punta del Este

“Everyone is super excited! It’s been a long wait - two years is a long time - but everyone is super excited and I think we are prepared.

We are going to focus on safety, then on racing as hard as we can.

The start of the race will present a tactical situation around the coast of Japan, but then we will be out in the nitty gritty of the main Pacific Ocean.

I’m really looking forward to it, it’s going to be the adventure of a lifetime.

I’ve been living out here for two years, looking after the Clipper Race fleet. Everyone has been really good to me, but I’m excited to get racing again. Because I was out here and looking after the fleet, in some ways it felt like the race never stopped for me. I’m proud that I was able to stay and help the Clipper Race."

Rob Graham

Skipper - Imagine Your Korea

“We are excited to get going, it’s been a lot of work on the stopover here and were looking forward to getting out there.

We are looking forward to some awesome sailing, wild nature - and of course an arrival beer in Seattle!”

Wavy Immelman

Skipper - GoToBermuda

“To be quite honest, Max (AQP) and I are feeling quite confident. We’ve done a lot of work with the team and with the boat. I wouldn’t say we’re comfortable - because you never go into a race completely comfortable, but we are confident in ourselves and our team.

There’s a lot of things to look forward to about the North Pacific challenge from the experience itself to the hard work of the team pulling together and of course celebrating the team’s achievement when they complete it!"

Mike Miller

Skipper - Visit Sanya, China

“We are really excited to be getting going. We are looking forward to overcoming a lot of challenges and achieving a massive challenge - and getting to America!

“We are looking forward to all elements of the North Pacific Challenge - the remoteness, the challenges we will face, it’s not something many people get to do.

Dan Jones

Skipper - WTC Logistics

“There are a few butterflies amongst the team before such a big Leg of the race, but we are well prepared, we are well trained and we’ve got a lot of victualling on board so it should be a good race!”

“I’m looking forward to surfing down some big waves - I hope we get a lot of crew members on the helm so they can share that experience.”

Dave Hartshorn

Skipper - Seattle

“We feel amazing, we are going to be leaving Subic Bay to get the race going again - and to sail to our home port town - it doesn't get much better than that! Plus we get to race across the North Pacific - it doesn't get much better than that. We are buzzing, the team is buzzing!”

“I woke up this morning with some pre-match nerves for the first time! It’s my third North Pacific crossing and I’m really looking forward to it - and to getting to Seattle and having all the fond memories that stay with you forever.”

Patrick van der Zijden

Skipper - Zhuhai

“The team is very excited and looking forward to crossing the Pacific Ocean.

I have done this race before, so I am feeling relaxed but it’s the 'big one' so on the other hand, I’m excited and hopefully everything goes well.

The crew will face big waves out there!”

Josh Stickland

Skipper - Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

“I’m really excited to be back on board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam. It’s been just over two years since the last race!”

“I’m looking at Leg 6 as split into three sections - the first, getting out of the Luzon Strait, will be quite tactical. Then a lot will depend on the systems that come through - there might be several or there might be one big low. We’ll be aiming to stay as far South as we can, before a mad scramble to the finish!”

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