Sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie sends Christmas message to Clipper Race crews

Daily Echo: Sir Ben Ainslie Sir Ben Ainslie

HAMPSHIRE sailing star Sir Ben Ainslie has sent a Christmas message to sailors from the county who are today back at sea on the next leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Speaking as the 12 teams set off on Boxing Day from Sydney, Australia, he said: “It’s clearly a huge iconic race in what can be some of the most treacherous conditions anywhere in the world, so I hope the conditions are good for the race and you have a fantastic time. A very merry Christmas, and all the very best for the rest of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.”

Among the Hampshire sailors taking part are Lindsey Noble, 60, from Winchester, Edward Collison, 18, from Wickham, Jacob Carter, 20, from Portchester, and Charles Slater, 39, Dave Richards, 64, Kate Hepworth, 40, Charlie Pickering, 58, and Steve Mabey, 47, all from Southampton.

The Rolex Sydney Harbour Race doubles as Race 6 of the 16 stage series. From Hobart, the fleet will then head to Brisbane on Australia’s east coast, Singapore, China, San Francisco, Panama, Jamaica, New York, Derry in Northern Ireland and the Netherlands, returning to London in July 2014.

Clipper Race chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 74, said: “The 628-mile Rolex Sydney Hobart race is a notoriously challenging race and whilst it may be the first professional test for our crew, these Clipper Race sailors are far from amateur now.

“Having taken on some of the world’s toughest sailing conditions, with 18,000 miles under their belts, I have every confidence in their performance. I wish all our teams a fast and exciting race and look forward to toasting their success in Hobart.”

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