32-year-old Chris Brooks, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, has been revealed as one of eleven professional Skippers to lead a team in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race.
Chris, who has dedicated his career to high-performance sailing, will lead up to 60 non-professional crew members through the twelfth edition of the epic 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation when it begins this summer.
On his appointment, Chris said: “Sailing around the world with a non-professional team is the pinnacle of sailing. It is fantastic and exhilarating knowing it has been officially announced!
“I’ve always worked in sailing, teaching non-professionals to race, and this was a natural progression and a fresh challenge that I can’t wait to get going.”
With 26 years of racing experience under his belt, and an impressive 95 per cent podium success rate from hundreds of races, Chris Brooks will bring a very competitive edge to his role as Clipper Race Skipper.
Chris adds: “I think we are going to be a competitive team and, with the right motivation and leadership, that we can go on to do very well.
“A common question that comes up is ‘are you prepared to win at all costs?’ and my answer to that is that I don’t really think you need to – racing competitively is very rewarding and fun.”
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures on the planet, also regarded as one of its toughest endurance challenges. Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams, with each made up of one Skipper, one Mate, and a crew of everyday people from many different walks of life, competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.
The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing. It is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.
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 Chris and his team the best in their Clipper 2019-20 Race campaign.”
The eleven Clipper Race Skippers have a combined total of 1,400,000 nautical miles between them and hail from the UK, South Africa, and Spain. Their names are: Chris Brooks (Essex, UK), Mark Burkes (Worcestershire, UK), David Immelman (Cape Town, South Africa), Ben Keitch (Sussex, UK), Seumas Kellock (Edinburgh, Scotland), Nick Leggatt (Cape Town, South Africa), Jeronimo Santos-Gonzalez (Melilla, Spain), Josh Stickland (Hampshire, UK), Mike Surridge (West Sussex, UK), Guy Waites (York, UK), Ian Wiggen (Devon, UK).
Now in its twelfth edition, this unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to train drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature’s toughest and most remote conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 76.
The Clipper 2019-20 Race starts this Summer and will leave from the UK, and will call at ports around the globe including stops in South America, South Africa, Australia, three stops in China including Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao; West Coast and East Coast USA before heading back towards the UK. For more information, go to www.clipperroundtheworld.com