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Scottish Sailor to Lead Team in Round the World Yacht Race

Seumas Kellock, 26 from Edinburgh, is set to circumnavigate the world’s oceans for a second time in two years, after being selected as a Skipper in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, which begins in the UK this Summer.

Following a competitive worldwide search and on the water trial, Seumas was one of the eleven selected to lead a team of non-professionals aboard a 70-foot ocean yacht in the 40,000 nautical mile, eleventh month ocean adventure. In the lead up to the start of the race, Seumas will be tasked with training his amateur crew through four levels of rigorous training before setting sail and guiding them in an experience of a lifetime.

Seamus said: “I couldn’t be prouder to one of the eleven Skippers for the Clipper 2019-20 Race.”

“It is a dream come true and I can’t wait to race around the world for a second time.”

The role has been something Seumas has been working towards for the past three years and he knows both the race and the 70-foot ocean going yachts inside out. Aboard team Unicef in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, Seumas raced almost 50,000 nautical miles, crossed six oceans – including the mighty North Pacific where the fleet faced phenomenal sea states with 14-metre-high waves, hurricane force winds, and boat speeds up to 35 knots (equivalent to 40 mph) – and endured extreme heat and freezing conditions. And while facing all that Mother Nature could conjure up, there was also the challenge of building a team made up of people from all walks of life, aged from 18 to 73, and from 15 different countries.

It was in these testing conditions that Seumas’ natural leadership qualities came to the fore. Despite being one of the youngest in team Unicef, he was put forward and excelled at the Clipper Race Coxswain Course, and was then appointed as a Watch Leader for the full circumnavigation.

Seumas said: “The experience of being a Watch Leader in the last edition of the race has definitely taught me that the Clipper Race is so many different things to different people and through good, consistent leadership , you can give everyone exactly what they want from the race.

“I really look forward to working with my crew and building a competitive and happy team, and achieving great things together during our race around the world.”

The eleven Clipper Race Skippers have a combined total of 1,400,000 nautical miles between them and hail from the UK, South Africa, and Spain. Their names are: Chris Brooks (Essex, UK), Mark Burkes (Worcestershire, UK), David Immelman (Cape Town, South Africa), Ben Keitch (Sussex, UK), Seumas Kellock (Edinburgh, Scotland), Nick Leggatt (Cape Town, South Africa), Jeronimo Santos-Gonzalez (Melilla, Spain), Josh Stickland (Hampshire, UK), Mike Surridge (West Sussex, UK), Guy Waites (York, UK), Ian Wiggen (Devon, UK).

Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world 50 years ago, said: “The role of Clipper Race Skipper is one of the toughest, but most rewarding jobs that exists anywhere in life.

“It’s a real test of seamanship and incredibly challenging. It is probably the best job in the world. Our skippers will work very hard but the rewards are immeasurable. It will be an experience of a lifetime for them.”

The Clipper Race is unique in that non-professionals take part. Almost 40 per cent 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.

The Clipper 2019-20 Race, which will begin this summer, will see teachers, students, doctors, firefighters and retirees from 44 different countries make six ocean crossings, visit six continents, and 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.