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Guildford sailor leads the way in round the world yacht race

3 minute read
Guildford sailor leads the way in round the world yacht race

Published at 12:43pm 17th January 2018.

A Guildford woman is the youngest ever clipper race skipper to win her first yacht race.

Nikki Henderson, 24, is leading a team in the eleventh Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

The 40,000 nautical miles circumnavigation is divided into eight legs and features six ocean crossings.

Visit Seattle won The Wondrous Whitsundays Race, which covers 1,600 miles from Hobart to Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays in Australia, on January 16th at 15:05:36 local time.

Arriving into Abell Point Marina, where the Clipper Race fleet will be berthed, Nikki said: “It’s such a good feeling. I’m finally a bit more relaxed than the last 48 hours. It’s been exhausting!

“This race has been really, really tough in so many ways. So many different types of conditions and sail changes. The tactics have been really hard but we pushed all the way through. The crew loved the Southerly Busters, it was exciting. We had experience of similar conditions in the past and we’re used to that kind of thing. The crew handled it really well.”

The Clipper Race is considered one of the world's toughest endurance challenges.

It is unique in that it includes inexperienced sailors - with all eleven teams led by a professional skipper.

The race was founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

About 40 per cent of crew members have never sailed before they sign up for challenge.

This year, more than 700 people of 41 different nationalities are taking part in the eleventh edition of the biennial Clipper Race.

Their completion of the Whitsundays race marks the end of the All-Australian Leg and the start of the Asia Pacific Leg - the fourth and fifth stages out of a total of eight.

Nikki and the rest of Visit Seattle  will be setting sail on January 29th for Sanya in China, a distance of 4,200 nautical miles.

Teams then head to Qingdao in China, then to Seattle, Panama and New York, before heading back across the Atlantic to Derry. 

The race finishes on July 28th 2018.


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