TWO skippers are launching bids to win the world’s longest ocean race.
Pete Stirling, 47, from Garstons Close in Titchfield and Gareth Glover, 36, of Gosport, have been selected to lead two crews of sailors in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 13-14.
The race will see them skipper two crews of around 50 amateur sailors, travelling 40,000 miles aboard two new Clipper 70 yachts.
In just under a year both men will lead their crews to 14 ports on six continents.
Pete is a veteran of the 09-10 race, where he skippered Jamaica Lighting Bolt but missed out on a podium place by just six points.
He said he is already looking forward to crew allocation day on May 11 where he will meet his crew before the race.
And he added he is lucky to have the support of wife Su, 46, during training and in the race.
‘It’s going to be very full on for the next few months,’ he said.
‘Each skipper has got a different approach but the better prepared you are before the race starts then the easier it’s going to be.
‘It’s a huge thing they’re taking on, seeing as most of them haven’t sailed before.
‘You can almost cut the atmosphere with a knife sometimes on the boat because there’s an apprehension that they’re sailing into the mid-Atlantic and they don’t know what to expect.
‘But once they’ve done the first ocean leg, I know what to expect then.’
And Gareth is jumping at the chance to improve his four podium finishes while skipper of the New York in the 11-12 race.
He said: ‘I just had to race and be a part of it again, especially with the new bigger faster Clipper Race fleet.
‘I’m really looking forward to getting the new yachts out in open seas and seeing what they can do.’
Founder and chairman of the race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said the skippers, selected from hundreds of candidates, have been through a tough selection.
He said: ‘The standard of applicants for this race was high and the successful candidates have been through a rigorous and challenging selection process to get to this point.
‘I am sure that they will all relish the challenges to come.
‘I know that we have chosen an exceptional group of people to undertake the task of leading our crews around the world.
‘This group of skippers can look forward to being the first to race on the new fleet of Clipper 70s, but the focus remains the same as in previous races with the emphasis on motivating the crew and maintaining their safety while remaining competitive in all conditions.’