SOUTH Downs College student Ed Collison has earned a place in a gruelling round the world yacht race.
The 16-year-old, from Emsworth, has been chosen to compete in the 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World Race, beating 20,000 other applicants.
The 2013 race will take just under a year to complete and take in Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Singapore.
Ed, who is studying for AS levels at the Crookhorn college, has been sailing almost all his young life.
He said: ‘I used to do a lot of power boating but I got bored of it.
‘I became interested in sailing at a young age and started when I was eight-years-old.
‘Since then I have completed a range of sailing qualifications.
‘At 15, I watched a programme called Against the Tide which follows the race and the crews involved and decided that this was something I wanted to do but probably wouldn’t have a chance of achieving.’
But at the London Boat Show in January, Ed found out more about the race and decided to apply.
He had to go through a rigorous four-hour interview and won the panel over.
He said: ‘I couldn’t believe it – 20,000 people apply for the race every week and I’ve got a place.’
Ed will be the youngest person in the 2013 race and one of only a handful of 18-year-olds to take part in the event. He will spent 90 per cent of the year at sea.
He added: ‘It’s amazing, I’m only 16. I’m proud and excited to take part.
‘I didn’t know how to break the news to my parents but they have been really supportive.’
His college friends are also right behind him and teachers have been especially supportive. They even helped him find sponsors for the event.
The race and its publicity will take 18 months and he is keeping his options open after it.
The young sailor said: ‘I’d love to work in the sailing world but this might not be the best option.
‘I’ll hopefully meet a wide range of people as I take part in the race which might lead to other job opportunities. ‘Whatever happens, sailing will always be a fantastic hobby of mine.’
Ed is still looking for sponsors for five legs of the race but is positive about gaining these. To sponsor him email email@example.com.