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Guildford born skipper leads team to victory in penultimate clipper race

Nikki Henderson skipper

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 10:35am 15th July 2018.

Nikki Henderson, 24, from Guildford, has led her team, Visit Seattle, to victory in the penultimate Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race. 

Visit Seattle crossed the finishing line on Monday 9 July after sailing 3,000 miles across the North Atlantic Ocean from New York to Northern Ireland. 

The race saw the team complete the final ocean crossing of the eleven-month circumnavigation, in just over 12 days. 

Upon winning, the youngest ever clipper Skipper, Nikki said: "I am so proud of how hard my team worked to get this win.  

"The crew never let up over the past two weeks and really deserve this result. 

“We will certainly be celebrating the result in Derry-Londonderry but we all know the job isn’t done yet." 

The team is made up of 12 men and nine women, 20 of which are amateur sailors. 

Their win has left the leaderboard scores looking very close. 

Nikki and her team will be fighting for the Clipper Race Trophy against Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper, Wendy Tuck, 53, from Sydney, Australia.  

The women are also competing to become the first female winner in the 22-year history of the race. 

Nikki explained: "Its girl power! I try not to focus too much on the potential female one-two but I think that if it happened, it would be very special; special for Wendy, special for me and also for the industry, just to show people that we don’t have to be female sailors, we are just sailors, and male and female sailors are equal." 

This is the third time Nikki and her team have won a race in the circumnavigation so far but the fifth time they have been placed on the podium. 

The team are planning to use their race-point-doubling Joker Card to win the final race. 

Nikki said: "We always talked about leaving it to play right at the end of the circumnavigation as we felt that as a team, we would develop and grow enough and it would make most sense to play it at the end. 

"It’s familiar water for me so hopefully that will pay off.” 

 

Visit Seattle at sea
Visit Seattle at sea

 

About the Clipper Race 

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world. 

It's a unique competition as participants require no previous sailing experience. 

In fact, 40% of those that take part are non-professionals that undergo four weeks of compulsory training.  

In total, 711 people are representing 42 different nationalities from all walks of life.  

Across 11 months, crews sail a stretch of 40,000 miles in 13 legs, stopping in seven countries. 

The final race will see teams sailing around Ireland and concluding outside the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool on Sunday 22 July. 

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