A team effort: medical response during the Clipper Race


Clipper Race partners; Dell Technologies, Praxes Medical Group and AST collaborate to ensure safety is paramount when at sea.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is one of the biggest endurance challenges of the natural world, and so far thousands of people from different walks of life have taken on the Race of their Lives and sailed across the world’s oceans. Such an extreme challenge is not without risk, and the health, safety and wellbeing of the race’s crew and staff are at the forefront of the race’s logistics.

Image: Big conditions on the Clipper 2019-20 Race

As founder of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said recently ahead of the current leg: "Our objective isn’t just racing, it’s to turn out seamen and the essence of good seamanship is safety - it’s all about safety."

The Clipper Race’s partnerships with Dell Technologies, PRAXES Medical Group and Applied Satellite Technologies Ltd [AST] work together to form a reliable and highly efficient system to ensure injuries and illnesses are managed remotely, anywhere on the planet, with the utmost care.

PRAXES Medical Group

PRAXES Medical Group provides remote medical support whilst the fleet races across the world’s oceans, as well as land-based support. The team play a crucial behind-the-scenes role, drawing on over 20 years of bespoke medical care in some of the world’s most remote and extreme conditions.

PRAXES believes that everyone should have access to timely and expert medical advice, whenever and wherever it is required. The organisation truly understands the nature of medical care whilst in a marine environment, and how this differs incredibly from a hospital or on land, allowing the medics to work with the Skippers to identify the best possible steps to managing an injury, illness or infection on board a racing yacht from the outset.


Of course, such seamless communication in the event of an incident, and the day-to-day logistics of the race would not be possible without the end-to-end satellite communication supplied by Clipper Race partner AST.

AST provides bespoke voice and data services to meet the ever-growing logistical and media demands of a round the world yacht race. AST leading smart solutions are essential in connecting the race management team to the eleven yachts 24/7 during the race, as well as enabling the transfer of photo and video files.

Dell Technologies

Vital communication is only possible with reliable technology. As one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, the race needs technology to match. It is an essential cog in the wheel to enable efficient communication, supporting the welfare of the crew at all times. Dell, the Clipper Race’s Rugged Technology Partner, provides Latitude Rugged Extreme laptops to assist the Skipper, AQP (First Mate) and the crew as they take on their journey of a lifetime.

Image: Clipper 2019-20 Race Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzales

Each yacht is equipped with a Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet and two Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme Laptops which is made of magnesium alloy and high impact durable thermoplastic, has been built to a United States Military Standard, meaning it is impervious to a range of environmental conditions, including high and low temperatures, exposure, rain, salt, shocks and drops, while the touch screen is glove friendly and visible in the brightest sunlight.


Each yacht receives support from PRAXES by way of email support and 24/7 satellite phone communication, thanks to the Clipper Race’s Satellite Communications Partner AST. This seamless connection is critical in the event of a medical incident, or when a crew member requires medical attention. AST’s connection enables a clear line of communication to be established with PRAXES via phone or the app, as well as the simple transfer of image and video files, which allows the medical practitioner to effectively analyse an issue and provide a diagnosis.

The Dell devices have the PRAXES app which connects the user to a medical expert, and is a central hub where cases are monitored. The app can be used initially to determine the situation and provide care and advice as early as possible. At the earliest opportunity, the vital signs are taken and recorded and an on-call doctor is assigned to the case. The doctor will often ask for pictures or data to help them assess the medical condition, which is where the seamless communication provided by AST and Dell’s Rugged technology is critical, as it allows for simple and timely image and video transfers using satellite communications.

Skippers therefore have the means to contact a medical expert in an emergent or non-emergent case, easily and efficiently. Due to the nature of the race, support may be required for a range of situations: from preventing the infection of a small cut to managing a shoulder injury, or if required, preparing for a medical evacuation (medevac) and the shore-side care that follows. The Race Office is also connected in the communications flow during an incident via the app, and any correspondence between PRAXES and the Skipper, ensuring that the case and that logistics and further communications are managed appropriately. As with any extreme sport, there were some challenging cases that pushed both the physician’s clinical skills and the Race Office’s dealings with probabilities and logistics, however without the integrated capabilities and smooth communications provided by AST and Dell Technologies, dealing with such scenarios would be much more complex.

The rugged features of the Dell products protect the technology when life at an angle gets tough and will protect against the salt water and dampness that comes with life at sea. This is crucial to keep the yachts connected with the world on land and also power the navigational software.

Without Dell’s Rugged technology, Skippers would not be able to reliably and easily access the PRAXES app in the range of conditions faced on the Clipper Race, or have the means to easily transfer images and videos of the medical case to ensure that the best possible care can be given.


Ian Wiggin, Skipper of Unicef in the Clipper 2019-20 Race, who has utilised the PRAXES medical service on a few occasions during his Clipper Race career, says: “I have used the PRAXES App in extreme conditions to deal with some potentially serious medical situations on board. The PRAXES App is a lifeline and I value its reliability when we are racing across the world's oceans. I am grateful to have direct communication with highly experienced and extremely well qualified medical professionals who offer 24hr support. I have basic IT skills and appreciate how simple the app is to use. This is especially important when I am tired or when situations can be stressful.

“On board, I strongly endorse and encourage the use of the PRAXES app on board at the earliest onset of any new symptoms. This is because on the Clipper Race we are regularly thousands of miles away from land. From personal experience, I know that the PRAXES team are extremely supportive, reliable, and are experts in remote medical care.”

Ian continues: “Once the case is established and the patient's condition is stabilised, the condition is monitored. This can be hourly or daily. I have used the PRAXES App for weeks whilst at sea to monitor medical conditions and to prevent them from worsening. Having the seamless connection provided by AST enables swift contact to be made, and Dell’s Rugged technology is essential for the conditions we face whilst racing across the world’s oceans.”

All three Clipper Race partners are essential to the safe operation of the race, enabling the highest level of care to be provided in some of the most remote places on the planet and in the harshest conditions. Have the race of your life, knowing your health and safety is a priority while racing. Sign up to race here.