Experienced Cornish yachtsman Peter Thornton MBE, 37, has been revealed as the skipper of the GREAT Britain yacht which will fly the flag for the UK in the tenth edition of the famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which sets sail from London on 30 August 2015.
The GREAT Britain yacht is the second consecutive entry in the Clipper Race following a highly successful campaign in 2013-14 with an impressive second place finish out of the twelve strong fleet of identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts. The GREAT Britain campaign is the Government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. The campaign is active in over 144 countries worldwide.
Tracy Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism, congratulated the former Royal Fleet Auxiliary officer at the Houses of Parliament.
The Minister said: “Congratulations to Peter Thornton on his selection as the skipper of the GREAT Britain team in the Clipper 2015-16 Race. I wish the whole team the very best of luck as they represent and showcase our great country in every corner of the world in this unique sporting challenge. I look forward to celebrating what will be an enormous achievement on their return.”
“As a professional sailor who has dedicated a lot of my career to serving my country, I feel incredibly proud to be named as the skipper of the GREAT Britain entry,” Peter commented. “Myself and my crew are very excited for the challenges ahead and look forward to representing everything Great Britain stands for as we race around the world.”
Inspired by childhood visits to see his Father who served in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Peter’s professional seafaring career started aged 18 when he too joined the RFA as a Deck Officer Cadet. He excelled quickly and, aged 25, was awarded an MBE for a period of service as the Flag Lieutenant to the First Sea Lord and Admiralty Board.
With 20 years sailing and global racing experience, Peter is looking forward to putting his skills into practice in the world’s longest ocean race: “What attracted me to the Clipper Race is that it is a fantastic opportunity to put what I’ve learnt so far at sea into a race which I really believe has no equal.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is known as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet and is uniquely for amateur sailors. More than 670 crew will take part in the Clipper 2015-16 Race from the UK with over 40 different nationalities represented. The minimum age is 18 but there is no upper age limit.
The race was established by legendary UK yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world. He wanted to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing history, the chance to experience the exhilaration of ocean racing; 40 per cent of crew have no previous sailing experience when they sign up, as full training is provided ahead of the race. Crew can choose to complete the entire circumnavigation, or individual legs.
Twelve teams will compete in the Clipper 2015-16 Race, the tenth edition of the biennial series. It departs London on Sunday 30 August and returns almost a year later after racing more than 40,000 miles around the world in eight challenging legs between six continents. It is the world’s longest ocean race.