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Sir Robin Hopeful That More Women Will Skipper In Future Clipper Races

27th March 2019
Wendy Tuck pictured in Derry last July just days before her victory was confirmed in Liverpool Wendy Tuck pictured in Derry last July just days before her victory was confirmed in Liverpool Photo: Clipper Ventures

Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has described as “unfortunate” the lack of a female skipper in the upcoming 2019-20 edition of the round-the-world yacht race.

But he also expressed his hope that the gender imbalance will be corrected in future editions of the race as more and more women secure the necessary qualifications to lead a team.

In a letter to EuroSail News, Sir Robin spoke highly of the performance of Wendy Tuck and Nikki Henderson in the most recent race.

Australian skipper Tuck made history last July as the first woman to ever win a round-the-world yacht race, while Henderson recently scooped the YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award for being the youngest ever skipper in the race.

“We have had five female skippers over the years and all have been excellent without exception,” he said. “I would happily take on more provided they had the experience and ability but we did not receive any applications from suitable candidates this time around.”

Noting that 30% of Clipper Race crews — a mixture of experienced and novice sailors — are now women, Sir Robin expressed his hope that the balance will be “corrected in time”.

He also specifically referred to “courses at the Hamble School of Yachting and our new Mate position within the Clipper Race [through which] we hope to be able to encourage more women to take their sailing career to the next level”.

The 11 skippers, all men, who will lead teams out of the UK for the near year-long voyage of the Clipper 2019-20 Race were announced last week, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Clipper Race
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures on the planet, also regarded as one of its toughest endurance challenges. Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.

This unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to train drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature’s toughest and most remote conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 76.

Now in its twelfth edition, the Clipper 2019-20 Race started from London, UK, on 02 September 2019.

 

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