Cape Town resident, Dale Smyth, has been appointed as a Skipper in the upcoming Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race with immediate effect following the resignation of Skipper Rick Powell, who has made the decision to step down from the role for personal considerations.
On his new role, Dale Smyth commented: “My appointment as Clipper Race Skipper marks a long-term life goal for me. I read one of Sir Robin’s books at aged eight and found it highly inspirational. Quite simply, it changed my life. I’ve raced since that very young age, and am also very passionate about teaching novice sailors and taking them to fulfil offshore racing goals.
“The chance to lead a Clipper Race team on a safe, fast passage of the world is something I have always wanted to achieve so I feel absolutely delighted to get this opportunity. I would however also like to extend my personal best wishes to Rick Powell and look forward to continuing the good work that he and his crew have started.”
Dale Smyth, 35, is a British sailor, who was born in Liverpool, UK, but went to High School in Cape Town and has lived in South Africa for most of his life, where he has become one of the most experienced offshore training Skippers in the country, counting more than 17 years of experience.
He has crossed the Atlantic numerous times whilst taking students, who include former Clipper Race crew, for their Yachtmaster Ocean courses, and has delivered yachts globally across the
Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. He now has over 50,000 offshore nautical miles in his log book. Dale has spent the past few months working as a Skipper for Clipper Race Crew Training courses.
Dale is active immediately in his role as Clipper 2017-18 Race Skipper. He is currently in South Africa with his family, organising his personal life in order to allow him to take on his new role and will travel to the UK on 31 July to join his race crew.
On his appointment, Clipper Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single handed, non-stop around the world, in 1968-69 said: “It’s no easy job to come into the race at such an advanced stage, but we’re very impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm Dale Smyth has shown towards this opportunity. He is perfectly qualified for taking on the highly demanding Clipper Race Skipper role and myself and the race team have every confidence he will do an excellent job.”
The Clipper Race has grown in popularity over the years and 17 crew members from South Africa will be competing out of a total of 712. This year over 40 different nationalities are currently training and preparing to compete in the race, making it the biggest yet of its eleven editions and 21-year history.
The Clipper Race has a long association with Cape Town and this will be the ninth time out of its eleven editions that the city will feature on the race route.
The twelve-strong Clipper Race fleet of impressive ocean racing yachts will be berthed at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town’s leading tourist destination, meaning that the city will once again be able to showcase its thriving maritime culture to a huge global audience.
The Clipper 2017-18 Race starts from Liverpool, UK, on Sunday 20 August and will take approximately eleven months to complete, taking in six continents and crossing 40,000 nautical miles of the world’s major oceans.
The twelve-strong race fleet, including Dale’s team, is expected to arrive into Cape Town between 19-22 October after racing across the South Atlantic from Uruguay, South America in the second of the event’s eight legs.
Following a short stopover in the city, which will allow local people the chance to get on board the boats for a closer look, the teams will continue on via Fremantle, Western Australia, Sydney, Hobart, the Whitsundays, Sanya and Qingdao in China, Seattle – USA, Panama, New York, Derry Londonderry before returning to Liverpool on 28, July 2018.