The Clipper 2019-20 Race is set to be the biggest yet in terms of Chinese involvement and with Crew Allocation just around the corner, it’s time to meet the Skippers who will be leading Qingdao, Visit Sanya, China and Zhuhai.

The Qingdao team will be led by British yachtsman Chris Brooks, Scottish Skipper Seumas Kellock will be at the helm for team Visit Sanya, while world record breaking South African sailor Nick Leggatt will skipper the Zhuhai team.

Qingdao, the longest serving Host Port and Team Partner in the history of the Clipper Race, broke its own records when its team entry finished third overall in the last edition. The city’s desire for more success in it’s eighth race campaign makes Chris Brooks the perfect fit. The 32 year old Skipper, from Essex, UK, boasts 26 years of racing experience and an impressive 95 per cent podium success rate from hundreds of races.

Chris said: “I am honoured to be the Qingdao Skipper for the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race.

“I look forward to racing the iconic red and gold Qingdao yacht around the world and can’t wait to bring it and the team to Qingdao for the Stopover in early 2020. Qingdao is famous for its hospitality and I can’t wait to experience that first hand.

“Qingdao has an incredible history of hosting major sailing events, including the 2008 Olympic Games. The city is an interesting mix of history and modern culture and our visit will be a highlight of my Clipper Race circumnavigation. I also can’t wait to try the excellent seafood!”

Following Sanya’s triumphant debut in the 2017-18 edition of the race, 26 year old Edinburgh-born sailor Seumas Kellock will be leading the title defence this time around. Seumas has first-hand experience of the beautiful tropical paradise that is Sanya, and said: “I am so pleased to be the Visit Sanya, China, Clipper Race Skipper for the 2019-20 edition. I have visited Sanya before, and can’t wait to share my first-hand experiences of the amazing holiday destination around the world and help promote its newly-acquired free trade zone.

“After racing halfway around the planet, I can’t think of a more vibrant or welcoming home port than Sanya with its beautiful beaches, endless sunshine and tourist attractions. With no need for visas, I am hoping to welcome many friends and family to Sanya during the stopover so they can see how amazing the tropical resort is.”

South African Nick Leggatt, who has impressive accolades and over 280,000 nautical miles under his belt, will lead Zhuhai, the ‘City of Islands’ team, in its debut entry in the global sailing event.

Nick will bring a wealth of experience to the role of Skipper of the Zhuhai team. The 52-year-old from Cape Town has accomplished a lot since he began dinghy sailing aged 10. He has circumnavigated the globe three times, and set five world speed sailing records, including a round the world record in 2004.

On being selected as Zhuhai Skipper, Nick said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be leading the Zhuhai team and look forward to having a successful race with my crew. I can’t wait to visit Zhuhai and see its many islands and other famous sites, such as the Zhuhai Opera House and the statue of the fisher girl.”

As well as meeting their wider teams at Crew Allocation on May 11, Chris, Seumas and Nick will all soon welcome their Ambassador Crew Members to Gosport, UK, for their compulsory four weeks of training. Following the recent Selection Week in Sanya, there will be a record 48 Ambassador Crew from the cities of Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao training to be ocean racers. Just like the wider Clipper Race crew, the ambassadors are of all ages and come from all walks of life, and include a graphic designer, engineer, CEO, bilingual event host, snowboard instructor and teacher. What unifies the ambassadors is their desire to become sailors and promote their cities around the world.

I know you will wish Chris, Nick and Seumas and their three teams fair winds for their exciting adventures ahead!