Throughout his 17-year professional sailing career, Mark Burkes has already ticked off many bucket list items in sailing. His achievements include completing a circumnavigation (Media Crew, Clipper 2011-12 Race), being appointed as a relief Skipper in the Clipper 2013-14 Race, skippering in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and Fastnet, and having crossed all the world’s oceans more than once.

Having also spent the past eight years preparing crew for the Clipper Race as a Training Skipper, Mark believes there is really one major achievement left for him to complete.

He says: “I know what this challenge takes, having been part of Clipper Race teams previously and having training hundreds of crew members for the challenge. However this time will be completely different as I get to prepare and lead my own team in a full race campaign. That is a milestone in my career that I’ve been working towards for a long time now.”

Mark has learnt plenty from his three-month long experience as the relief Skipper of Garmin in the Clipper 2013-14 Race. His time on board gave him a good insight into what to expect and highlighted the need to spend time building a team which shares the same philosophy and mission. His primary goals are to create a strong and cohesive team and get the crew safely round the world, whilst also creating the experience of a lifetime.

On places he is most looking to re-visit, Marks says: “The Southern Ocean, again. It’s a magnificent, majestic - sometimes fearsome - and very lonely place to be. I love it and loathe it in equal measure.”

Away from the ocean, Mark was a former Property Developer with experience in managing several large projects and teams of up to 50 professionals. In 2016, he was Crew Chief for the Race Across America cycle challenge which involved him leading a crew of twelve and a team of four cyclists in a non-stop 3,060 mile race from the West to the East Coast of the USA. The team set a British four-man record in their first attempt at the challenge, and raised £80,000 for charity in the process.

Until Race Start : The South Atlantic Challenge Leg