Update on Clipper 2023-24 Race professional sailing team

15 November 2023

Update on Qingdao Race Skipper

Skipper Greg Hunt is unable to rejoin his Qingdao team on the Clipper 2023-24 Race due to an ongoing medical condition. Unfortunately, the condition is more serious than expected which means he will not be medically fit enough to continue.

We appreciate that Greg not being able to return is disappointing news. As previously confirmed, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez will be the Skipper of Qingdao until Airlie Beach (in January 2024). We will update you as soon as we have a replacement Skipper for Leg 5 onwards.

The Clipper Race team thanks Greg for all his hard work since joining us in March and for leading the team in some close racing from Gosport until Punta del Este. We will miss him and wish Greg all the best in his recovery.

Changes to First Mates in Cape Town

The Clipper Race Office needs to make a number of temporary changes to its professional sailing staff on Leg 3.

We have two First Mates that, in the short term, need to step off their yachts in Cape Town. Due to a shoulder injury, First Mate on Washington, DC, Cameron McCracken needs time to rest and recover. In addition, First Mate Ella Hebron, has a medical condition and needs to step off Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.

Ben Birley will be joining the Washington, DC team as First Mate from Cape Town until Cameron is able to return.

Ben, who is from Manchester, UK, was originally selected as a 2023-24 edition First Mate in April this year, however, he was unable to undertake the full circumnavigation for family reasons. Former Royal Marine Ben has almost 16,000nm under his belt and has completed several Bay of Biscay passages. Ben is a regular Training Mate and Skipper at Clipper Race HQ and has most recently been an instructor on Level 4 Training courses. Ben will be arriving in Cape Town tomorrow (16 November) to join the Washington, DC team.

Jade Golder, a circumnavigator on Perseverance, will be stepping up to be a First Mate on her team and Joss Creswell (current First Mate on Perseverance) will temporarily be moving to Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, whilst Ella recovers. The Clipper Race Office made the decision for Jade to stay on her team yacht for this period and this was supported by Ineke, Josh and Joss.

Jade, from Surrey, UK, is an experienced yachtswoman, having started sailing at the age of eight. She attained her Day Skipper qualification aged 16, before going on to qualify as an Offshore Yachtmaster and Cruise Instructor and this year completed her Ocean Yachtmaster. Jade is studying for a Masters in Mechanical/Naval Engineering which included a year within the Naval Defence design department of British Maritime Technology (BMT) in Bath. Jade also took part in two legs of this year’s SKIRR Adventures as Second Mate.

The above changes will start to come into effect from tomorrow (16 November). There will be a handover period between the teams.

We wish Cameron and Ella speedy recoveries and look forward to them returning to the race. We welcome Ben, Joss and Jade to their respective teams.

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