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Five Scottish Race Crew Cross Atlantic Ocean – the first major ocean crossing of the Clipper 2023-24 Race

24th October 2023
Extreme conditions the crew face whilst on the Clipper 2023-24 Race
Extreme conditions the crew face whilst on the Clipper 2023-24 Race

Five Scottish nationals have successfully completed the first major ocean crossing of the Clipper 2023-24 Race. The group of Race Crew members were part of over 200 participants from across the globe who had gathered in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, after completing a gruelling 5,300nm crossing of the Atlantic from Puerto Sherry in Spain.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is billed as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, and the north-to-south Atlantic passage is notorious for its testing and varied conditions, which can challenge even the most experienced of sailors.

The five Scottish nationals, who were led by Stirling-born Clipper Race Skipper Max Rivers, were part of a diverse group of over 700 people aged 18 to 71, representing 55 nationalities and many different walks of life. The event’s first mother-daughter duo were also competing together on a matched fleet of 70ft ocean racing yachts.

Each team is led by a professional Skipper and First Mate, and 22 percent of the crew had never sailed before signing up to the challenge. However, as a mandatory and intensive four stages of training is provided, they were well-prepared for the journey.

The Clipper Race is divided into eight legs, and the arrival in Uruguay marked the end of Leg 1 of the race. Following a prizegiving ceremony on Monday (16 October), Yacht Club Punta del Este took the top spot on the podium, with Perseverance and PSP Logistics coming in second and third place, respectively.

Clipper Race Crew members are now taking some time to relax and unwind as they enjoy a fiesta of activity at Host Port Yacht Club Punta Del Este, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. The fleet will continue its circumnavigation with Leg 2, as Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown sees the 3,555 nautical mile voyage to Cape Town, South Africa, a destination making its eleventh appearance on the Clipper Race circuit.

The five Scottish nationals are:

  • Andrew Fisher, 59, Business Owner, Edinburgh, Legs 1 & 2 
  • Joan Kelly, 59, Midwife, Inverness, Leg 1 
  • Susan Smith, 64, Retired, Argyll, Legs 1 & 2 
  • Ross Dunlop, 60, Retired, Edinburgh, Circumnavigator 
  • Vicki Leslie, 39, Head Chef, Shetland, Circumnavigator Team

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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.