Clipper crews are put together with race three months away

WITH three months to go until they set sail, this year's Clipper Race competitors have finally joined up with their crews for the long journey ahead.

Sunday, 21st May 2017, 7:15 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:41 pm
Clipper race crews wait to hear which team they will race on. With crews of varying abilities alongside professional skippers the crews form across the world await the decisions of the organizers. - "Roy Taylor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Nikki Henderson". Picture Credit: Keith Woodland

The race’s crew allocation event took place at Portsmouth Guildhall on Saturday, with hundreds of sailors taking part in this year’s edition.

Among the skippers taking part is Roy Taylor, originally from Yorkshire but has living in Gosport for the last 10 years.

He said: ‘It’s definitely more exciting than nerve-racking at the moment.

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‘I’ve seen the guys go through their training so it’s nice to put names and faces together.’

At 23, Nicola ‘Nikki’ Henderson is the youngest skipper ever to take part in the event, beating previous record holder Alex Thomson who won the 1997/98 race aged 26.

She took up sailing as a child and since 2006 has sailed more than 38,000 miles.

Speaking about her record, she said: ‘I hope that I can make a difference and inspire people to do more outside their comfort zone.

‘I want to show that age is not a limit to what you can do.’

More than 20 crew members from Hampshire are taking part in the race.

Anton Mitchell, from Alton, sailed from London to Rio during the last edition and is returning this year for another go.

He said: ‘I’m really excited, it helps that I have been through it before. People often do not quite appreciate what it is like sailing out there.’

Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: ‘You always get a buzz each time and you can see the excitement from the crew.

‘My advice to them is to learn as much as you can.

‘Do not restrict what you learn to the training sessions but learn as much about the sea as you can.’

A total of 12 crews, consisting of more than 700 sailors will travel 40,000 nautical miles around the world.

The race starts in Liverpool on August 20.