Sail away for a challenge of a lifetime

The Clipper Fleet 2015 picture credit: onEdition
The Clipper Fleet 2015 picture credit: onEdition
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On Saturday, Yorkshire woman Sue Ball, a 57 year-old retired nursery owner, will be sharing her experience of her challenge of a lifetime, circumnavigating the globe on board a 70-foot racing yacht in the world’s longest ocean race.

This week, Clipper Race organisers will host the free talk at the Holiday Inn Express, Leeds City Centre Armouries and are calling on Yorkshire residents to achieve something remarkable and take part in the next edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Sue will share her experience from the boat.

Present at the talk at 10am will be former and current race crew, including 33 year-old automotive manufacturer, Gary Dawson from Leeds, who has completed his race training and will join his team in January to race more than 25,000 nautical miles and spend six months at sea from Australia back to London via Vietnam, China, the USA, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands.

Gary, who had no previous sailing experience before signing up for the race, says: “I like challenges, so this is a big one because I’m expecting to be well out of my normal comfort zone.

“Whether I’m on the helm, or on the bow, or in the galley, I want to rise above, hold my own and prove to myself that I can do it.

“I’m looking forward to the whole challenge.

“Joining my crew in Australia and setting out on a great adventure, every day I’m on the boat is a potential war story at the bar in later life as an old man.”

Those who want to find out more and attend the talk will also be entered into a draw for a free place on the first of four levels of training required to take part in the race, normally costing £1,085.

The Clipper Race is unique: founded by legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

It’s the only event where people from all walks of life, regardless of previous sailing experience, can race around the world under sail.

Up to 40 per cent of the crew have never sailed before and a comprehensive pre-race training course ensures that even the most inexperienced sailing novices are equipped with the skills they need to live and race on board one of the stripped down Clipper 70-foot yachts.

Crew can embark on the whole 40,000 nautical mile race which takes almost a year to complete, or sign up for one or more of eight legs.

Mother Nature does not distinguish between professionals and amateurs and the teams of this year’s race are racing across the notorious Southern Ocean to Australia.

More than 700 crew members are taking part in this year’s race from across 44 nationalities and a variety of backgrounds, forging cultural understanding and awareness to work together and build lifelong friendships.

Each of the fleet of 12 identical 70 foot yachts is sponsored by a brand, city, region or country and is led by a professional Skipper.

The Clipper Race is open to anyone aged 18 or over at the time the race starts, but there is no upper age limit.

Want to discover more? Visit the Clipper Race website for information about the race and how to join the free talk here:

Amy Martindale

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