Mike Surridge, 55, born in Canterbury, Kent, is set to achieve his dream of sailing around the world after being selected to lead a team of non-professional sailors in one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet: the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Following an extensive worldwide search and tough on the water trials, Mike is one of eleven professional yachtsmen named as Skipper for the 2019-20 edition of the race, which will begin in the UK this Summer. Over the next few months. Mike will be tasked with training his amateur crew before setting sail and guiding them around the world in an experience of a lifetime.
Since starting sailing in his early twenties, Mike has recorded in excess of 100,000 nautical miles in his log book and had extensive racing experience, taking part in five Fastnets, thirteen Round the Island Races, ARC, and BVI Regatta.
On his appointment, Mike says: “Being named as one of the Clipper Race Skippers is a real highlight for me. My long held ambition is to sail around the world so to do this with a team in this format is an excellent way to achieve my lifetime goal.
“I want to challenge myself in a sport that I know well, love and have the ability to produce some great results. I want to sail with individuals of various capabilities that have broadly the same objective and together achieve the epic result of a circumnavigation.”
The 40,000 nautical mile, eleven month global Clipper Race route includes six ocean crossings and in the last edition, the fleet faced phenomenal sea states with 14-metre-high waves, hurricane force winds, boat speeds up to 35 knots (equivalent to 40 mph), extreme heat and freezing conditions. Each team is led by a professional Skipper and Mate, who will train and guide the amateur crew around the world.
Founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world 50 years ago, the Clipper Race is unique in that non-professionals take part. Almost 40 percent of crew, who come from all walks of life and all over the world, have never sailed before the mandatory four weeks of training. Over the past 23 years and eleven editions of the race, almost 5,000 people have been trained to be ocean racers though fewer people have still sailed around the world than climbed Mount Everest.
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 Mike and his team the best in their Clipper 2019-20 Race campaign.”
The Clipper 2019-20 Race, which will begin this summer, will see teachers, students, doctors, firefighters and retirees from 44 different countries will test themselves to their absolute limit on board the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. The fleet will visit 13 ports on its global route, including Zhuhai, Qingdao, and Sanya in China.