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One of the 68-foot Clippers
Wiltshire man selected as elite skipper
After years of sailing, Piers Dudin from Salisbury is about to embark on a challenging 35,000 mile round the world adventure.
Since he was a small boy of six, Piers has loved to sail. As a child his family were stationed in Germany where Piers would regularly sail with his father on a range of dinghies and yachts belonging to the Royal Engineers Yacht Club, he said:
"Dad was posted to Germany. He would often take all of us out on REYC boats and after that we would often take family sailing holidays together. My brothers also sail so it’s definitely in the Dudin blood."
But not all the sailors on the voyage will be as experienced as Piers. Taking part in the 35,000 mile, ten month long Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will be a team of novices from all walks of life. From train drivers to lawyers, housewives to chief executives, many of whom had never sailed before applying to take part in the gruelling ocean race.
Piers Dudin from Salisbury
The race was founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world. He enjoyed the experience so much, upon his return he set up the Clipper Race enabling ordinary people to become ocean racers and achieve the pinnacle of ocean yacht racing, a circumnavigation.
Sir Robin said: "Leading a team in a race around the world is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs that any skipper could ever undertake. We're confident Piers and his nine colleagues 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. He will need to motivate 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."
Made of glass fibre, ten Clippers will set sail in the race, the 68-foot yachts will be stripped down, with open decks and basic crew accommodation, made in China they are rigorously tested before they are allowed to set sail. 400 people will take part in the race, including the ten newly appointed skippers.
The race begins on September 13th from the Humber, this is the first time a global yacht race has started from the east coast of England. The boats are due to return on 17 July 2010.
With the countdown on, Piers is excited about race, he said:" To be entrusted with the task of skippering is a great honour, I'm proud to have been chosen to lead the team around the world.
"Many of the crew will never have experienced some of the conditions we are likely to face and it is my responsibility to make sure they work together as a team to get through it when the going gets tough. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
last updated: 19/05/2009 at 13:54
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