The search is on for what could be the toughest job on the ocean: The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is currently searching for twelve highly skilled sailors for the challenging role of race skipper.
Race Director, Justin Taylor, who has previously been a skipper in this unique global event, said the recruitment process was intentionally gruelling: “We have a duty to make sure we search out the best skippers who can lead effectively through the raw elements.
“You need to understand that it’s an incredibly tough job. Candidates have to really want it and be totally dedicated.”
Leading a team through the world’s most hostile environments including storms, cyclones, icebergs, injuries, extreme heat and cold, and even the threat of piracy, is all in a day’s work for the outstanding men and women who lead their teams in the world’s longest ocean race.
The professional yachtsmen that ultimately make it through the selection process must be able to withstand huge physical and mental challenges to successfully guide their amateur teams through Mother Nature’s toughest environments, while managing emotions, motivating crew, conflict resolution and a wide range of competitiveness and skills.
A series of tests and scenarios are used to assess potential skippers during three-day trials, including rescuing a man overboard, dealing with casualties and damaged equipment and difficult crew.
Former Clipper Race skipper and Deputy Race Director Mark Light explained: “We put candidates under huge amounts of pressure and throw a gremlin in the works to see what they are made of.
“Lots of people are capable of sailing a boat, but not many are capable of sailing a boat in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.”
Successful applicants will lead their teams aboard a Clipper 70 ocean racing yacht in the 40,000 mile, 11 month-long odyssey. The next edition will be the tenth in the biennial Clipper Race.
To apply candidates will need to hold a Yachtmaster Ocean certificate [commercial endorsed] and have at least 30,000 miles offshore experience on big boats, but the skills needed go well beyond the professional requisites of the average skipper job description.
As well as outstanding sailing skills, successful skippers will need excellent people management and leadership skills. They will also have to be prepared to fulfil a busy schedule of sponsor and media requirements during stopovers.
Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, nonstop round the world in 1968/9, warns skippers must be prepared to be truly exhausted, physically bruised and battered, mentally fatigued and sleep deprived during the 11 month voyage.
“Your aptitude and attitude to excel in this type of sailing environment and this style of team is key. We are looking for the best, and at the end of the race, our skippers have proven that they are the best,” commented Sir Robin.
The Clipper Race takes teams to ports in Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, South East Asia, China and North America. The fleet races between six continents in a series of 16 race, crossing four oceans.
Those who make it through the tough selection process will be rewarded with a job like no other, says Clipper 2013-14 Race skipper Vicky Ellis.
“It’s a real test of seamanship, and incredibly challenging. It is probably the best job in the world. You will work that hard but the rewards are immeasurable. It’s an achievement of a lifetime.”
Clipper 2015-16 Race skipper recruitment programme is open for applications right now. To apply or find out more, visit: