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Lincolnshire Skipper to Lead Team of Amateur Sailors in World’s Longest Ocean Race

16 MARCH 2017

Andy Burns, 31, from Skegness, Lincolnshire, has been selected to lead a team of amateur sailors in one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.

Andy, who began his sailing at the age of 12 and is a former Training Skipper for the race, underwent a series of intense interviews and trials before being announced today as one of twelve professional Skippers for the 40,000 nautical mile race, which starts from the UK in August.

Following the announcement, Andy said: “I feel incredibly proud to be selected as a Clipper Race Skipper for the 2017-2018 edition. It is an opportunity that mixes my love for sailing, ocean travel, people and teaching. I cannot wait to meet my future team, sail around the world and return having forged great bonds over incredible shared experiences”

Andy’s vast sailing career already spans 19 years and has seen him log over 100,000 nautical miles working around the globe in sail training and superyacht industries. An experienced yacht racer, he has competed in three Round the Island Races, six Superyacht Regattas, Cowes Week, the Panerai Classic, The Bicentenary, Sydney Harbour Twilight Series and Lion Island Races.

“Naturally, I would like to win and sail competitively but only doing so without pushing the boat or crew to any unsafe limits to get there. I believe that preventing damage is far better than repairing and I will be spending a lot of time learning about my crew and yacht and will be working out the strengths and weaknesses that lay within the team.” added Andy. 

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.

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 people 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 Andy and his team the best in their Clipper 2017-18 Race campaign.”

Andy is now working full-time at the Clipper Race HQ in Gosport, where he and the eleven other Skippers are 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 this August, the Clipper 2017-18 Race route will see the teams first 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 in Summer 2018 as ocean racing heroes.