David Hartshorn took over as Skipper of GREAT Britain for Leg 5 onwards of the Clipper 2017-18 Race after previous Skipper Andy Burns made the difficult personal decision to step down in Airlie Beach, Australia. David already has a great deal of experience of the race having previously been Skipper of Greenings (CV24) for part of Leg 1 until an injury to his thumb meant he had to be medevac’d from the boat.
Looking at his qualifications and experience, many would be surprised to learn sailing is a second career for David Hartshorn.
David, 52, was born and raised in Wales and spent three decades serving in the Police Force. After beginning his career in 1984 as a Constable with the Gwent Constabulary, David retired as a Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police Service in 2014. His distinguished career included serving as Britain’s most senior police officer with responsibility for public order, and overseeing the planning and resourcing of major events such as the 2011 Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Despite his many achievements with the Police, becoming a Clipper Race Skipper is one of David’s proudest moments.
"It’s been my goal for a long time, the people who know me know it has been so to get it was really good," says David.
"A bit emotional and what was quite nice was that I have now finally got cool status from my son."
His highly-decorated career also gave David the opportunity to be a part of something he describes as his greatest achievement to date. Inspired by the Clipper Race, David founded and was lead Skipper on Operation Fitzroy, a project which gave disadvantaged young people from Inner London Boroughs the chance to experience sailing.
"They would spend five days effectively doing a Competent Crew Course and the next two days racing around the cans on the Solent," says David.
"To see the transformation and development of communication and social skills, teamwork and individual confidence in the young people was humbling."
David first fell in love with sailing in his late teens after sailing a friend’s yacht on weekends while working on a Kibbutz in Israel during his gap year. Since then, he has recorded more than 40,000 nautical miles in his log book and completed nine ocean passages.
David just doesn’t know sailing, he also knows the Clipper Race. A keen follower since the inaugural race in 1996, David began working as a freelance Training Instructor in 2015 and a year later, took part in The Mighty Pacific Leg as a crew member on board Ichorcoal.
Additionally Qualified Persons on board GREAT Britain:
Race 4, Fremantle to Sydney: Jeremy Hilton
Race 5, Sydney to Hobart: Jeremy Hilton
Race 6, Hobart to Whitsundays: Jeremy Hilton
Race 7, Whitsundays to Sanya: Jeremy Hilton
Race 8, Sanya to Qingdao: Jeremy Hilton
Race 9, Qingdao to Seattle: Jeremy Hilton
Race 10, Seattle to Panama: Trevor Taylor