Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will today reveal the eight individuals set to skipper in the Clipper 2002 Round The World Yacht Race

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will today reveal the eight individuals set to skipper in the highly competitive Clipper 2002 Round The World Yacht Race, which will set sail on October 27 from Liverpool, UK.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of race organisers Clipper Ventures Plc, and the Clipper 2002 Race Director core team, Colin de Mowbray and Tim Hedges, both former Clipper Round the World Skippers, sailed with twelve finalists in order to reach the decision of who will skipper in the esteemed race. Of the finalists, eight successful candidates will command the eight identical 60-foot Clipper yachts, backed by the cities of Bristol, Cape Town, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Jersey, Liverpool, London and New York, in the World’s longest circumnavigation.

The identities of the skippers and their pairings with the international field of yacht sponsors will be announced today at ExCeL, London’s newest and most modern events venue in the increasingly developing and thriving Docklands:

Richard Butler (39) from Crewkerne, Somerset, will skipper Bristol Clipper, defending the city’s Clipper 2000 race title against a formidable international field. With 33,000 sea miles and many successful ocean passages under his belt, Richard has considerable offshore experience and has successfully raced in three Fastnet Races, one as skipper, winning his class aboard Boozeroo? his own Sigma 33 in 2001.

Captain Roger Steven-Jennings (46) from Plumstead, Cape Town, will command the South African racing entry, Cape Town Clipper. Currently serving in the SA Navy, Steven-Jennings will take an 18-month sabbatical approved by the Chief of the SA Navy in order to take on the challenge of the Clipper 2002 race. Having commanded a major war vessel and completed a number of successful ocean passages, Steven-Jennings, the Naval Harbour Master at Simon’s Town, will lead the Cape Town crew through a wide variety of weather systems which require the full range of sailing skills, from patience to steer through calms, flying downwind under spinnaker before a trade wind, to beating through the Southern Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope.

Rupert Parkhouse (33) from Chichester, West Sussex, will lead the Glasgow Clipper around the globe in the world?s longest circumnavigation race. Most recently Parkhouse gained his MCA Class 4, and has been working as a freelance skipper with Southern Sailing. He has sailed with the Ocean Youth Trust (South), a registered educational charity providing sail training for young people, on board the 70-foot steel ketch “John Laing”, and prior to this he skippered a Jeanneau Sun Oddessey 52.2 as a Charter Captain in the British Virgin Islands and also successfully skippered RYA courses on board “Menai II”, a Westerly Fulmar 33, for the National Watersports Centre in Plas Menai, North Wales.

James Gair (31) from Burnham On Crouch, Essex, will take the helm of Hong Kong’s 60-foot racing yacht. A professional coastal and offshore sailor with over 50,000 sea miles under his belt, Gair, also know as Chippie, will lead Hong Kong Clipper around the world and will race into Hong Kong at the halfway point of the circumnavigation in April 2003. Last winter saw Gair sail aboard a Volvo 60 whilst corporate racing in Sydney, Australia, and he also sailed as Mate on the America’s Cup Class yacht Spirit. Sailing has been part of his life since a very early age, growing up exploring the backwaters of the United Kingdom’s East Coast. Gair started racing first in the Mirror Dinghy class, then on to Lasers, 420’s, 470’s and many other classes as crew and helmsman winning many club, area and national trophies.

Johnathan Brockhouse (33) from Lincoln has won the race to skipper the Channel Islands? racing entry, Jersey Clipper, which finished second overall in the 2000 Clipper race. Brockhouse joins Jersey Clipper from a distinguished military background, although was most recently the House Master at Lincoln Minster School. Formerly a Colour Sergeant in Her Majesty’s Forces, Brockhouse has lead sailing, canoeing and Out of Bounds sports expeditions in Australia, Africa, U.S.A., Canada and Europe, so is well equipped to provide leadership and guidance to the Jersey Clipper crew, many of whom are sailing novices.

Adam Kyffin (37) from Wallasey, Wirral, will aptly set sail from Liverpool this autumn at the helm of Liverpool Clipper. Kyffin, a Qualified Mechanical Engineer and experienced coastal and offshore sailor, started sailing at Porthmadog and Trawsfynydd Sailing Club aboard an optimist dinghy, aged just 8. Kyffin also enjoyed much success in the laser dinghy class, claiming 2nd place in the Welsh Youth Championships in 1981. More recently, Kyffin bought a Hunter Formula 28 for club racing and national events and has achieved fourth overall in Ford Cork Week 2000, second in the IRC 2 Class in ISORA Week 2001 in Pwllheli and was overall winner of the Lyver Trophy 2001, a 180-mile RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) Race from Liverpool to Pwllheli.

Christopher Hazeldene (42) from Teignmouth, South Devon, joins London Clipper from Reliance Yacht Management, a specialist company providing a comprehensive marine management service for corporate and private clients. As a Shipwright and professional yachtsman, and having served in the 42 Commando Royal Marines, Hazeldene is set to bring a wealth of nautical knowledge, yacht racing skills and expert guidance to the UK capital’s racing yacht. He started dinghy sailing aged six, crewing in GP 14’s and Flying Fifteens, and took to the position of helm at just seven years of age. Hazeldene moved to offshore yachting in 1987 and has been seriously focussed on achieving his ambition of skippering in the Clipper 2002 Round The World Yacht Race for the last three years.

Samantha Fuller, a 25-year old professional sailing and windsurfing instructor from Colchester, Essex, will take charge of the USA’s first ever Clipper racing entry sailing under New York’s colours. Fuller, the first female to skipper a yacht in the esteemed event’s seven year history, has spent many hundreds of hours instructing on dinghies and windsurfers. She joins New York Clipper having most recently skippered for the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA), instructing aboard Albatross, the 67-foot ex-BT Global Challenge yacht, and has also undertaken corporate racing and day sailing for Sunsail UK. As a former offshore mate for Challenge Business, Samantha has achieved a northern European tour, completed delivery trips, raced in the 1999 ARC and undertaken crew training and corporate events.

Commenting today on the skipper selection, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said, “This is a first-rate group of skippers to lead the crews around the world on the very unique Clipper 2002 race. The calibre of aspiring Clipper skippers grows exponentially with each event and this, the fourth running of the world’s longest circumnavigation, promises to be the most gripping yet, with international cities competing for the first time. I wish every skipper, and their crews, a fast, safe and memorable race.”

The eight dynamic racing yachts are now berthed in Royal Victoria Dock, ExCeL, and are available for public viewing from 1000 – 1700 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 1000 – 1200 on Sunday 7 July. Open house sessions for prospective crew members will take place on Friday 5 July between 1200 – 1400 then 1700 – 1900 and on Saturday 6 July between 1500 – 1700, when the Race Director will provide an informative talk on the Clipper Race and will introduce past and present crew members.