CHICHESTER skipper Olly Osborne has been named as one of ten elite skippers who will take charge of teams for the Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race.
The 30-year-old is in the line-up of international sailors appointed to the position following a rigorous selection process.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it to begin with – it’s a massive opportunity so I was absolutely delighted.”
Each skipper will take charge of a stripped-down 68ft racing yacht preparing to compete in the 40,000-mile challenge, the only global ocean race open to everyone regardless of background and sailing ability, and the longest in the world.
Osborne has been involved with the training of Clipper crew members for the previous two races and decided the time was right to throw his hat into the ring and apply to be a skipper.
“After watching the boats leave for the past two, I’m ready to take my place as one of the skippers and lead my crew through an experience none of us will ever forget. It’s going to be tough and I know there will be so many amazing highs,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to completing the first leg and reaching Rio. It will be a big confidence booster for everyone as we will have seen the team tested and built into a confident race crew.”
This is his fifth year with the Clipper Race, having joined the training team after working at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and with disadvantaged young people through the Cirdan Sailing Trust.
Introduced to sailing by his father at a young age, Osborne has a great affinity with the sea and holds happy memories of childhood adventures in small wooden sail boats.
His preparations for the race and for his crew, who will be announced on April 30, are already in full flow – as are plans for his wedding this June.
“The most demanding part will be keeping everyone excited and focused even when things aren’t going our way and dealing with frayed tempers and frustration when times are tough. We will all have to dig deep.”
The Clipper Race celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
It was established by the legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who, in 1969, became the first man to sail solo and non-stop around the world.
He wanted to make ocean racing available to everyone, regardless of nationality or background.
The event gets under way in August. The fleet will stop at 15 ports around the world before arriving back in the UK in July 2012.