The only round the world yacht race open to everyone, picks its ten international skippers

There is now less than four months to go until the start of the 2009-2010 Clipper Round the World race and the crews are starting to take shape. The 35,000-mile challenge – established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston – is the only round the world race open to everyone, regardless of background and sailing ability. It starts this year from the River Humber, meaning that for the first time ever a global yacht race will begin from the east coast of England.

Amateur sailors and beginners from all over the world are now undergoing their pre-race training, learning about navigation and meteorology, as well as first aid and sea survival, all with one aim – to be as prepared as possible.

And today (19 May) the race skippers were announced. After weeks of punishing trials on board the Clipper racing boats, a rigorous selection process has whittled hundreds of applications down to just ten. These international sailors, who in the past have included the likes of Vendée Globe competitor Alex Thomson , will lead their crews onboard ten stripped down 68-foot racing yachts from September 2009 to July 2010 – stopping at 14 ports along the way.

Sir Robin explained: “leading a team in a race around the world is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs that any skipper could ever undertake and we’re confident these ten men are up to this challenge. They have all been through a lengthy and rigorous selection process and we have chosen a group of exceptional individuals as our race skippers. They have the ability to draw the line between competitiveness and safety while, at the same time, motivating the crew to retain their focus during races lasting several weeks at a time, whether it be through roaring gales and towering seas or the frustration of tricky calm spells.”

To find out more about the Clipper Round the World Race, visit .

The search to find suitably qualified men and women to follow in the footsteps of these ten skippers will soon be getting underway for the next edition of the race (starting in 2011). Skippers wishing to register their interest should email .