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Devon Sailor to Lead a Team in World’s Largest Ocean Race

16 MARCH 2017

Skipper Rick Powell, 52, from Chillington, Devon has been appointed to lead a team of amateur sailors in the extreme adventure challenge, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.

Rick, who began his sailing career 18 years ago on the river Exe, underwent a series of intense interviews and trials before being announced as one of twelve professional Skippers for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race which starts from the UK in August.

For Rick, who’s life motto is ‘If you always do what you always you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’, the challenge of leading a team through some of the most inhospitable conditions on the planet is one he relishes. He said: “I spent a long time preparing for the Clipper Race Skipper trials so I feel very proud to have been selected as a Skipper for the Clipper 2017-18 Race.”

With twelve teams and approximately 700 participants, the biennially held Clipper Race is the world’s largest ocean race. 40,000 nautical miles in length, it challenges individuals to go further, dig deeper and push themselves harder as they pit their wits, skills and courage against the world’s toughest oceans, with no previous experience required. Only the Skipper on board each team is professional.

Rick is an established yacht Skipper, RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and Marine Engineer whose sailing experience spans nearly two decades. Rick is looking forward to combining his wide range of sailing, engineering and leadership skills as he takes on the role of Clipper Race Skipper.

“I really enjoy passing my knowledge on to others and I am a big advocate for continual training and improvement. I will be encouraging safe sailing with a high level of attention to detail throughout the Clipper Race.”

The race will be exciting, uncomfortable, relentless, exhilarating and at times, frustrating. Each of the twelve Clipper Race teams will need to display extraordinary amounts of focus, determination and stamina as they set out on their circumnavigation before returning as heroes.

The Clipper Race was the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. This momentous biennial event has a deep passion for challenge and life changing adventure at its core. Since the first Clipper Race in 1996, almost 5,000 novice sailors have been turned into competent ocean racers.

Sir Robin said: “The role of Clipper Race Skipper is one of the toughest, but most rewarding jobs that exists in sailing. Not only do you have to be a highly capable sailor to be able to complete the relentless challenge of circumnavigation, you also have to be an excellent instructor and leader.
“I wish Rick and his team the best in their Clipper 2017-18 Race campaign.”

Rick is now working full-time at the Clipper Race HQ in Gosport, Hampshire, where he and the eleven other Skippers are now leading the intensive crew training courses. The next major event in the race preparations is Crew Allocation, at Portsmouth Guildhall, May 20, where all Skippers and crew will be assigned to their teams for the first time. 

Starting from the UK in August the route will see the teams race across the Atlantic to South America; the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Western Australia; around to East Australia taking in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race en route; back into the Northern Hemisphere to Qingdao, China via Sanya; across the mighty North Pacific to West Coast USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; and then a final Atlantic crossing before arriving back to the UK as ocean racing heroes.