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North Rhine-Westphalia /German Sailor Selected to Skipper in World’s Largest Ocean Race

16 MARCH 2017

Chris Kobusch, 32, from Herford, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, has been named as one of twelve skippers who will lead a team through some of Mother Nature’s toughest environments in the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.

Only the second German to ever Skipper in the race, Chris, now working full-time in the UK training the crew who will take part in the race which sets sail in August, said: “The first time I heard about the Clipper Race was when I read Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s book a year after I started sailing. I was so inspired and searched for more information about him online and that’s when I learnt more about the race, I thought it was a great event but never imagined I would one day be a skipper.

“It’s great how enthusiastic the crew are, it is really good fun sailing with them and training with them and I can’t wait to get out on the water this summer and take on this incredible challenge together.”

Chris first started sailing in 2007 when he left school to volunteer at a pre-school in Cape Town. Developing a love for the sea in South Africa, he completed his RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification in 2009 in Cape Town.

With more than 70,000 nautical miles in his log book, Chris has worked and sailed all around the world including some ports on the Clipper Race route such as South Africa, China, UK and Australia. Working as an Instructor at the race’s Sydney Training hub, Chris also navigated in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on board CV5 in competition against his inspiration in sailing, Sir Robin.

The Clipper Race, the only event of its kind for amateur sailors, was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world almost 50 years ago.

Speaking about the 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 Chris and his team the best in their Clipper 2017-18 Race campaign.”

Asked what he is most looking forward to on the race, Chris said: “For me going downwind big wave surfing is the most fun I can have on a sailing boat so I think Leg 3, from South Africa to Australia and into the Southern Ocean will put the biggest smiles on my face.”  

Clipper Race crew represent more than 40 different countries and can choose to compete in either the full circumnavigation or one or more of its eight individual legs. The only professionals on board are the skippers who safely lead each team.

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.

There are currently 20 Germans in addition to Chris who will be at the start line of the Clipper 2017-18 Race and followers can look forward to some exciting and exhilarating racing from the teams when the event gets underway.

During the eleven month ocean odyssey, the fleet will visit six different continents in 14 ports before the team with the highest total points at the finish wins the Clipper Race Trophy.