Clipper Ventures is to create a base in Sydney to launch an Australian division in the first stage of a global expansion plan.
Australia is a key market for Clipper Ventures, with a strong competitive track record of Australian boats and skippers having won the last two Clipper Races. Australians make up the second-highest crew contingent after Britons.
The new base will mean three out of the four stages of Clipper Race training will be on offer in the country, removing the need to travel to the UK for courses. The whole Clipper 2013-14 Race fleet will debut in the classic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the end of the year.
Clipper Ventures CEO, William Ward, said: “Our first international division is a highly exciting development and will be a significant asset for Clipper Ventures. Our relationship with Australia and the Southern Hemisphere has strengthened steadily and we have major future growth plans for the region.
“Clipper Ventures Australia will utilise its new training and recruitment facilities to double national crew recruitment in the 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Race and beyond; in addition it will identify and generate new sponsorship and business opportunities within Asia-Pacific.”
The new division will be led by a team with extensive Clipper Race experience: Sydney-based Kirsty Whyte will lead as Managing Director – she’s a circumnavigator having crewed the winning entry in the Clipper 2009-10 Race. Kirsty holds a Masters in Business Administration and has worked in the Australian business and finance sector for the past 15 years.
Jim Dobie, a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, is currently Senior Training Skipper for Clipper Ventures in the UK and will take up the same role in Australia. He will lead crew training and development and participate in local sailing events with Piers Dudin, who skippered a UK entry in the Clipper 2009-10 Race. Jim previously lived in Sydney where he ran sailing schools prior to skippering Singapore in the Clipper 2009-10 Race. The team plan to recruit locally for further office support and sailing staff.