Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, 44, who was born in Galicia but whose family now reside in Melilla, has been appointed as the first Spaniard to lead a team in the 23 year history of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Setting sail from the UK later this summer, the Clipper 2019-20 Race will take almost a year to complete and will be a test of stamina, teamwork and fortitude, unlike anything else. The only event on the planet which trains amateur sailors to race around the world, only the Skipper and Mate on board each of the eleven teams is professional.
On his appointment, Jeronimo said: “The sea has always been in my life. My father and my grandfather were both sea captains and I loved it myself from a very early age. It’s been my lifetime ambition to sail around the world professionally so being appointed as one of the Clipper 2019-20 Race Skippers is absolutely a dream come true.
“It’s of course an added bonus that I am the first Spanish Skipper in the race’s history. I’ve sailed at a national level in my youth so I feel enormously proud to have the chance to represent my country on the international stage once again.”
With more than 80,000 nautical miles under his belt, Jeronimo first started racing dinghies aged seven and went on to compete in various Spanish and European Championships. He has now completed five Atlantic crossings and Skippered charters around the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. He currently resides in the UK where he is a race skipper, instructing beginner sailors on the Solent.
The Clipper Race was founded by legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world almost 50 years ago, in order to allow everyday people the chance to experience the exhilaration of ocean racing. 40 per cent of the 700 plus crew have no previous sailing experience before starting their training.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Clipper Race Chairman, said: “The role of a 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 Jeronimo and his team the best in their Clipper 2019-20 Race campaign.”
Clipper Race crew represent over 40 different nationalities. In addition to Jeronimo, there are currently five Spanish crew members who will compete in the race, coming from Barcelona, Madrid and Alicante.
Jeronimo is now working full-time at the Clipper Race HQ in Hampshire, where the Race Skippers are now leading intensive crew training courses. The next major event in the race preparations is Crew Allocation, at Portsmouth Guildhall, May 11, where all Skippers and crew will be assigned to their teams for the first time.
Starting from the UK later this Summer, the route will see the teams race from the UK, across the Atlantic to South America; the South Atlantic to South Africa; across the Roaring Forties in the Southern Ocean to Western Australia; around to East Australia, back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the mighty North Pacific to West Coast USA; to West Coast USA via the famous Panama Canal; and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing; before arriving back to the UK in Summer 2020.