Home / Press releases / Skippers / Press releases / Former Metropolitan Police...

Former Metropolitan Police Superintendent Selected as Skipper in World’s Largest Ocean Race

16 MARCH 2107

David Hartshorn, 52, has been named among the twelve professionals who will lead teams in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.

The former Metropolitan Police Superintendent will be one of twelve professional sailors who will each lead a crew of amateur sailors through Mother Nature’s toughest environments in the 40,000 nautical mile challenge, which sets sail from the UK this August, involves around 700 crew, and will take almost a year to complete.

On his appointment, David, who spent the majority of his 30 year police career in London, said: “It’s a tremendous honour as leading a team in the Clipper Race has been my goal for a long time. Certainly feeling a bit emotional and I’ve finally been given cool status from my son which is a real added bonus!”

The former police officer’s love of sailing began during his gap year in Israel and led him to found Operation Fitzroy, a passion-project designed to allow disadvantaged young people from Inner London Boroughs the chance to experience sailing and learn crucial life skills.

As well as being a highly-experienced sailor with more than 40,000 nautical miles in his logbook, David has a unique insight into the Clipper Race. He has been a training Skipper and Mate since 2015, and also took part in the Mighty Pacific Leg as a crew member in the 2015-16 edition of the race.

David said: “I wanted to know what they were feeling and the little things that made life difficult for them so if I ever had the privilege to skipper a boat I could take that into consideration.”

“I think it’s really important if you are going to lead a group of people you need to actually understand what they are going through.”

As the Chief of Staff for the Metropolitan Police’s Public Order Branch, David was responsible for planning and resourcing the policing of major events, such as the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. His high level of performance resulted in several commendations from both the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner, as well as a personal letter of thanks from the then Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, for his leadership in response to the riots of August 2011.

Founded in 1996 by William Ward and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world almost 50 years ago, the Clipper Race is the only event which allows amateurs the opportunity to become ocean racers as they face Mother Nature in some of the most remote locations on the planet.

Speaking on the Skipper selection process, 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 both David and his team the best in their Clipper 2017-18 Race campaigns.”

The eleventh edition of this unique biennial ocean race will visit six continents and include six ocean crossings. Almost 5,000 novices have been turned into ocean racers since the Clipper Race was started twenty years ago, though more people still have climbed Mount Everest than circumnavigated the globe.

Twelve teams compete on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Crew come from all walks of life and from all around the world, with over 40 different nationalities represented. Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of the eight legs that make up the Clipper Race.

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.

The Clipper 2017-18 Race will begin in the UK this summer and return almost a year later. The team with the highest total points at the finish wins the Clipper Race Trophy.