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County Down Sailor Steps in to Skipper Qingdao in Clipper Round the World Race

20th December 2023
Phil Quinn is a former Sailing Captain of Strangford Lough Yacht Club in County Down and has over 40 years of sailing experience
Phil Quinn is a former Sailing Captain of Strangford Lough Yacht Club in County Down and has over 40 years of sailing experience

Philip Quinn has been chosen as the new Skipper of Qingdao in the Clipper Round the World Race. He will join from Airlie Beach in Queensland, Australia, at the start of a long stint of about 26000 miles to the finish, taking in Legs 5 to 8.

Phil replaces Greg Hunt who had to withdraw due to an ongoing medical condition and Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez will be with the team as Skipper until the end of Leg 4.

Phil, 57, is an ex Sailing Captain of Strangford Lough Yacht Club in County Down and has over 40 years of sailing experience.

With an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Ocean, alongside Instructor qualifications in Cruising, Powerboat and Shore-based Theory, Phil is a highly competent sailor and teacher. His competitive nature has seen him placed in sailing competitions across the UK and Ireland and makes him well suited to the role of a Clipper Race Skipper. He has raced in Flying Fifteens, Sonatas, F 16s and is a relief skipper for Strangford Activity Centre and Sail School NI.

The entry Qingdao in the Clipper Round the World RaceThe entry Qingdao in the Clipper Round the World Race

Among boats Phil has owned are the Projection 35 Fat Tony and a Julian Everitt designed ¾ Tonner called Charlie Don’t Surf. He competed in the latest Rolex Fastnet Race and has raced the Round Ireland Race several times, once Double Handed.

Philip is driven by his desire to lead like-minded, enthusiastic, and adventurous sailors in a race around the world.

Arriving in Airlie Beach in early January, Philip will be in port for the Leg 4 arrival window, and this will give him the opportunity to spend time with Jeronimo and get to know the Qingdao Race Crew before the team departs on Leg 5.

Replacing AQP (Additional Qualified Person or ‘First Mate’) Steve Westwood who will be stepping off Qingdao in Newcastle to take over as the Clipper Race Manager at HQ in Gosport in February 2024, will be Henry Hallatt. Henry, 25, from Norfolk, is an experienced sailor, a qualified Yachtmaster Ocean, and a Cruising Instructor.

Phil is eager to start this venture “I’m so excited to be joining the Clipper Round the World Race and meeting the crew in Airlie Beach. It is also a privilege to be taking the helm on and representing Qingdao, the Clipper Race’s longest-running partner”.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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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.