“Not many people are capable of racing and leading a team in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race,” said race co-founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
“As well as being excellent sailors who are proven in taking on the planet’s most hostile environments, Clipper Race skippers must also be outstanding instructors, exceptional motivators, and strong role models.
“They will need to be calm and patient under pressure, and understand all types of personalities.”
All 11 skippers begin this week with an extensive training schedule ahead with less than five months till their boats set off on the first leg from the UK to South America.
They include Ben Keitch from Sussex, whose three decades of sailing experience include leading novice crews on ocean crossings; Mark Burkes from Worcester, a veteran of the Clipper, Fastnet and the Sydney Hobart races; and former Unicef crew Seumas Kellock from Edinburgh.
Representing Cape Town in South Africa are Nick Leggatt, a sailor with more than 280,000 nautical miles and three circumnavigations in his log book, and David ‘Wavy’ Immelman, a Yachtmaster instructor.
Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez from Galicia will be the Clipper Race’s first ever Spanish skipper, and brings a wealth of national and European championship sailing experience.
Ian Wiggin from Plymouth, Chris Brooks from Essex, Josh Stickland from Southampton, Mike Surridge from West Sussex and Guy Waites from Yorkshire round out the field.