Sir Robin Knox-Johnston launches yacht club to bring together past and future Round the World racers

The idea of forming a Clipper Race Yacht Club (CRYC) was floated at the London Boat Show this January. The Club’s aim is to bring together all those that have been involved in the six Clipper Round the World Yacht Races to date and, in time, those on future Clipper Races.

Over 340 members have signed up for the Club so far and it is expected this number will grow by the time the official launch on 24 April at St Katherine’s Dock.

The President of the CRYC is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. It was Sir Robin’s initial idea to organise an event where all the perceived boundaries of experience and privilege were removed and ocean racing became accessible to all. Both the Vice Presidents are ex-crew members. Gordon Whitley from Lancashire competed in a leg of the inaugural Clipper 96 Race while Sir Keith Mills, who heads Britain’s America’s Cup challenge Team Origin, was a crew member in 1998 under skipper and single handed racer, Alex Thomson.

Colin de Mowbray, skipper in the first 1996 Clipper Race in 1996, has been appointed Commodore. He explains: “We don’t do interviews. Those were all done before the members were accepted for one of the Clipper Races and before they did their three weeks of pre-race training. As for experience, once they have done a leg on the Clipper Race they are qualified for the Club. That means that all members have a minimum of 3,000 miles of ocean racing experience. Not many Yacht Clubs can boast that!”

The heart of the Club is its website and online database that members can access. These areas, along with a growing list of miscellaneous events, will grow as the club establishes itself.

“Apart from the social aspect there are two particular areas where there will be an immediate interest,” explained de Mowbray. “One is that the CRYC will provide an invaluable group of experienced sailors who will be available to assist when crewing opportunities arise, and there will be a system to put people in touch with crewing positions both within the Club and externally. Another is that by the very nature of the crews, many are now involved in exciting projects and expeditions. The Club will act as a means of keeping members informed and offering mutual help and support.”

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