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GJW Direct 2024 Dinghy

Hundreds of adventurers from around the world arrive in Portsmouth for Clipper Race Crew Allocation

by Clipper Ventures 22 May 2023 21:28 BST 20 May 2023
The Clipper 2023-24 Race Crew, Skippers and AQPs, with Clipper Race Directors and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston © Jason Bye

Over 450 adventurers, from 48 nations, filled the Portsmouth Guildhall (on Saturday 20 May), for their Race Crew Allocation, one of the biggest and most highly anticipated events in the Clipper Race calendar.

With over 60% of participants hailing from outside the UK, this is the most international demographic in Clipper Race history. The event was streamed live so crew around the world could join in on the day's action, with viewers tuning in from countries such as Canada, Dubai, Singapore and Israel.

This edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race race sees over 700 adventurers from all walks of life take on the exceptional challenge of racing across the world's oceans on board a 70ft yacht, tackling some of the most challenging conditions that Mother Nature can serve up. Students race alongside doctors, engineers and freelancers, and many of those who sign up have no prior sailing experience before undertaking the intensive compulsory four-level training programme, which all crew must complete before racing.

Emotions were running high as Race Crew arrived at the venue, eager to find out which Skipper, AQP and fellow crewmates they would be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime with. They were joined by over 100 Race Crew Supporters (family and friends of the courageous crew), who were equally excited to share the experience.

Suzana Dinic, age 50 from Germany, who signed up to the Clipper Race to challenge herself, and prepare to live on a boat in future, spoke to us just before the teams were revealed. She said: "My heart is pumping! Everything has become real and it's so exciting and very surreal!"

Speaking as Race Crew arrived, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Clipper Race Founder and President commented: "Today is an interesting day for the crew: they will find out who they are going to be living with in very fine quarters for months at a time. They are going to find out who they are going to mix with, and make new friends to share the challenge of ocean racing but also the huge pleasures that come with it. We say welcome, enjoy the day and then start really preparing yourself. We are only three months from the start now!"

Crew received their official Musto jacket (crew's first Musto merchandise) and also had the chance to meet some of the Race Partners sponsoring the upcoming edition, with Spinlock, Marlow Ropes, Sta-Lok, Musto and ATPI exhibiting before the Crew Allocation event got under way.

The event was hosted by two-time circumnavigator and now Recruitment Director, Della Parsons and following an introduction from Clipper Ventures Managing Directors, Laura Ayres and Chris Rushton and presentations from key Race Officials, the lights dimmed and the Crew Allocation began.

One by one, the eleven Race Skippers took to the stage to cheers from the crowd and their AQP was finally revealed. Then, following a dramatic countdown, each team was announced by way of glowing wristbands worn by the Race Crew - which lit up in different colours to reveal the crew on each team.

After the event concluded, Della Parsons said: "What an amazing day! The buzz of positive energy in the room was palpable as our Race Crew were all eagerly waiting to find out which team they will be part of. There were huge cheers as the countdown to each team's colours lighting up reached zero. Many of our crew applied to take part in the Clipper Race over two years ago so this has been a much anticipated day. It may have been a long wait for today but of course this is really just the start of an amazing adventure for them all."

Catherine Lister, from the UK, who is sailing on Legs 7 and 8 under the leadership of Race Skipper, Hannah Brewis said: "I'm really excited. I think Hannah is going to be an awesome Skipper: I am really impressed with what I have seen so far. I'm looking forward to sailing with a different group of people, getting to know everyone, and learning about race tactics."

Australian Dianne McGrath, who has signed up as a Circumnavigator, added: "What am I looking for in a Skipper? Someone who is understanding, because there are a lot of people who don't have vast amounts of sailing experience, like myself. So far I have done my Level 1 and 2 Training courses and they've been fantastic, with some great, funny people, and already I know some of the people I've met are really going to be people I'll probably know for the rest of my life."

Nicolas Gallego from Colombia, who is sailing on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam with Race Skipper Josh Stickland and AQP (First Mate) Ella Hebron said: "I had Josh as a Skipper in Level 2 and it was an amazing week of training, so this will definitely be a continuation of having fun. His instruction is very clear and really good at gradually building on our knowledge. I'm feeling great!"

Following the official Crew Allocation ceremony, all Skippers, AQPs and Race Crew split into their respective teams to start deciding on their team ethos, planning their race strategy, assigning roles on board and setting expectations.

In a few weeks time, Level 4 training will commence, which is the first time that the sailors will train with their fellow teammates, Skipper and First Mate. This will involve intensive on the water training and a chance to develop their race strategy, with a multi-day race into the English Channel to hone their skills ahead of the start of the Clipper 2023-24 Race, which is set to get under way late summer.

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

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