In being appointed as a Clipper Race Skipper, Ben, who has a truly diverse background in and out of sailing, is living out his childhood dream. Following his appointment, he explained: “Sailing around the world has been a dream of mine since I was 13. To be named as one of the eleven Clipper 2019-20 Race Skippers is a huge honour for me and is without doubt the pinnacle of my sailing career.”
Ben’s impressive 30-year sailing career started out with him racing dinghies at a national level, before going on to Skipper and teach Oxford University’s sailing team. For the past 16 years, Ben has been teaching and leading novice crews which has included crossings of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He has also raced on a winning team for many RORC races.
He says: “I really enjoy taking novice sailors out on the water and seeing them learn and thrive. Sailing is second nature to me so I am able to provide a relaxed and safe environment for people to enjoy sailing. However, I also like to race to win and so will be aiming to produce a competitive team environment.”
On his best qualities as a Race Skipper, Ben says: “I really enjoy teaching and have no ego about allowing people to drive the boat and make team decisions. I am a very safe and competent sailor with a proven successful race record, so hopefully all these things combined will allow me to help create a competitive crew.”
Sailing has been a major part of his life but his passion for adventure, education, and challenging environments has long been part of Ben’s lifestyle. His incredible career surely makes him one of the most diversely experienced of all the Clipper 2019-20 Skippers. These experiences included spending 18 months with the British Antarctic Survey, running a festival in the Spanish desert, being a diving instructor for almost 15 years, working in a travelling circus as an aerialist, and also consulting on various ocean rowing expeditions. He is also a qualified electronic engineer, has a PhD in Physics, and is a proud proponent for environmental change.
Despite all of the above experiences, circumnavigating the planet remains a lifetime ambition on his professional bucket list. He is most looking forward to sailing in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, as both are new challenges. Overall, his life motto is: “Adapt, improvise, overcome. Never give up.”