Please select your home edition
Edition
Clipper Ventures
JOIN THE RACE JOIN THE 2019-20 RACE MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL SOUVENIR RACE MAGAZINE Check out the latest photo galleries from The Clipper Race
UNICEF ABOUT UNICEF

Youngest ever Clipper Race skipper scoops prestigious Yachting Award

by Kathryn Pridie 6 Mar 18:53 GMT
Visit Seattle, Leg 5, Race 1, Day 1 - Clipper Race © Clipper Ventures

Clipper 2017-18 Race Skipper Nikki Henderson has been awarded the prestigious Yachting Journalists' Association (YJA) Yachtsman of the Year Award after making history when, at 24, she became the youngest ever skipper to compete in the biggest round the world yacht race.

The award, which was presented jointly to the 25 year old, and Tracy Edwards MBE for her work with Maiden, during a ceremony in London.

Cliff Webb, YJA Charman, said: "The YJA is delighted to recognise Nikki's achievement in becoming the youngest skipper ever in the Clipper Race, and to have guided her crew to a second placed finish overall, missing outright victory by the narrowest of margins, is really remarkable.

"She showed extraordinary skill, seamanship, and race tactics through eleven tough months of competition, where she shouldered the responsibility of keeping her crew safe, while teaching people more than twice her age. It was an outstanding performance, showing tremendous leadership and team building qualities."

The accolade also marked Nikki's performance achievements during the 2017-18 edition where she led her Visit Seattle team to second place, just four points behind Australian Wendy Tuck's Sanya Serenity Coast team, securing an all-female one-two on the podium.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Nikki said: "It is all well and good being ambitious and brave as a young person, but it also takes people to have faith in you and give you the breaks. To everyone in my life who has given me those opportunities; thank you, and I hope I have done you proud!"

The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains everyday people to become ocean racers with 40 per cent of crew having never sailed before. Nikki skippered her Visit Seattle team 40,000 nautical miles around the world battling phenomenal sea states with 14 metre high waves, hurricane force winds, boat speeds up to 35 knots (equivalent to 40 mph), extreme heat and freezing conditions. Anyone over the age of 18 can participate as a crew member in the Clipper Race and the oldest crew member of Nikki's Visit Seattle team was 71 years old almost three times her age.

The YJA award ceremony also celebrated the achievements of Clipper Race Co-Founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who will reach two significant milestones over the next month; his 80th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his Sunday Times Golden Globe Race achievement.

Speaking about Nikki during the last edition of the race, he said: "One of her strengths is her leadership. She built a happy and cohesive team and made these 50 people, men and women of all ages and from different nations from around the world, buy into her team ethos "sailing with style'. It takes a special kind of person to be a Clipper Race Skipper part teacher, counsellor and sports coach and so to lead her team to second place (and it was a nail-biting finish) is an amazing achievement."

Over the 11 months of the race, Nikki led her team to three outright race victories and two second place finishes in 13 races. She was able to guide her novice crew safety around the world with little damage to the yacht despite surviving the roughest weather of the fleet through mountainous seas in the North Pacific crossing.

Previous YJA Yachtsman of the Year award winners include Clipper Race crew member Gavin Reid, a profoundly deaf sailor who was instrumental in the rescue of a non-Clipper Race crew off the coast of Australia during the 2015-16 edition and Co-Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who has won it four times.

Related Articles

Crews to cross their first ocean in global race
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams start Atlantic crossing The first big test of the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race awaits, with around 220 everyday people setting sail from Portimão, Portugal, to race across the Atlantic Ocean to Punta del Este in Uruguay. Posted on 15 Sep
Clipper Race crew surf giant waves
The eleven team enjoyed a real thrill-ride off the coast of Portugal A crew of everyday people from all walks of life surf down giant waves off the coast of Portugal as they compete in the first stage of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Posted on 8 Sep
Hundreds of everyday people embark on Clipper Race
220 ordinary people from all walks of life departed St. Katharine Docks, London Some 220 ordinary people from all walks of life, representing 29 different nationalities, have departed St. Katharine Docks, London, in front of thousands of spectators, to embark on the twelfth edition of the epic 40,000 nautical mile global sailing Posted on 2 Sep
Clipper Race & Marlow Ropes: 16th year partnership
World's first mooring line to be made from 100% recycled plastic bottles The latest initiative from Marlow Ropes has resulted in all mooring lines, for the 11 strong fleet of Clipper 70s, being swapped to the Blue Ocean Dockline and the polyester Main sheet covers have been replaced with the Blue Ocean yarn. Posted on 30 Aug
Clipper Ventures calls for independent inquiry
Into the MCA and MAIB following an investigation into the tragic death of Simon Speirs Following an investigation into the tragic death of Simon Speirs, Clipper Ventures has called on the Department for Transport to hold an independent inquiry to establish the full extent of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Posted on 10 Aug
New Korean team joins Clipper 2019-20 Race
The partnership announcement marks a pivotal event in the development of the sport The Clipper Race is pleased to announce its newest team entry Imagine your Korea supported by the Korea Tourism Organisation, Gin-A Co. Ltd, The Korean Sailing Federation and the Yeosu Yisunsin Marina. Posted on 8 Aug
New team from Vietnam joins Clipper 2019-20 Race
Following a high profile signing ceremony this morning Following a high profile signing ceremony this morning, it has been revealed that the Quang Ninh Province, in northeast Vietnam, has signed a two edition deal with the Clipper Race. Posted on 5 Aug
AST announced as satellite communications supplier
To the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has announced that leading satellite communications specialist Applied Satellite Technology Ltd (AST) is to be the Official Satellite Communications Supplier to the 2019-20 edition of the biennial race. Posted on 21 Jul
ATPI Sports Events to partner the Clipper Race
Unified, seamless and cost-effective travel expertise Adam Knights, Regional Managing Director, UK, France, Benelux, ATPI Group, said: "The Clipper Race is one of the world's furthest travelling sports, covering 40,000 miles divided into eight legs. Posted on 17 Jul
Clipper Race confirms host ports for its final leg
Host Port destinations will form the penultimate 'US Coast-to-Coast' leg Firm race route favourites, Seattle, New York and Derry-Londonderry, have been announced as Host Port Partners for the upcoming edition of the global sailing event along with Bermuda which is making its debut appearance on the circuit Posted on 10 Jul