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Female Skipper to lead Visit Seattle entry in Clipper Race 2017-18

by Amy Martindale 18 May 2017 13:00 BST 18 May 2017
Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Nikki Henderson © onEdition

Nicola 'Nikki' Henderson, 23, from Guilford, UK, has today been named as the Skipper who will lead the Visit Seattle team in the upcoming edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

"I'm thrilled to be appointed as the Visit Seattle Skipper for the 2017-18 race edition," said Nikki, who at aged 23, is also the youngest ever Skipper to lead a team in the event's twenty-year history.

"The residents and industries of Seattle are all about welcoming diversity and culture, fostering art and creativity, getting outdoors and encouraging adventure – these are all values that I share and I am looking forward to representing the city of Seattle as a business and tourist destination around the world."

Despite her young age, Nikki has already amassed an impressive sailing career having skippered in numerous inshore and offshore racing campaigns, including three ARC races across the Atlantic (twice winning the Youngest Skipper Award), two Fastnet campaigns, and has sailed more than 10,000 miles in offshore deliveries.

As an RYA instructor for over three years she has also already taught over 200 students and also recently launched a Sailing and Watersports centre in Denver, Colorado. With links to the US and family in Squamish, BC, Canada, three hours away from Seattle, Nikki says she is expecting Seattle to be a busy stopover when the twelve Clipper 70s berth at the Port of Seattle's Bell Harbor Marina in April 2018 after completing the Mighty Pacific leg.

This is the second time the West Coast US destination has partnered with the Clipper Race. Supported by its partners, Seattle Sports Commission and the Port of Seattle, the city debuted as a Host Port and Team Partner in the 2015-16 edition of the race.

Speaking about her appointment, Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle President and CEO says: "It is Visit Seattle's honour to have Nikki at the helm of its namesake boat. Her accomplishments are beyond impressive and her ambition to take sailing to the next level, not only for herself but with the men and women aboard the Visit Seattle, in what is often referred to as one of the greatest challenges in the world, shows great spirit, leadership and determination.

"Nikki is a natural choice to lead the Visit Seattle yacht to success in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race."

A city on the leading edge of innovation, Seattle is home to some of the world's biggest corporations and has global appeal as a place to do business, live and visit. Representing the city in the 2017-18 edition, the Visit Seattle team will engage with international Clipper Race partners as well as countries and cities on the race route with an aim to building increased international trade links with the US.

"The Visit Seattle yacht design is as vibrant, fun and inviting as the city. Just like the yacht, as ambassadors to Seattle, my crew will share its courage, determination, thirst for adventure and passion for exploration during our race campaign," adds Nikki.

Nikki's Visit Seattle crew members will be announced at the upcoming Crew Allocation Day, at Portsmouth Guildhall on Saturday 20 May.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race starts from Liverpool on Sunday 20 August and will take approximately eleven months to complete, taking in six continents and crossing the world's major oceans.

The twelve-strong race fleet, including the Visit Seattle team, will arrive into Seattle in April 2018 after racing over half way of its epic voyage around the world.

clipperroundtheworld.com

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