Clipper Race to support youth cancer charity

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British yachting icons Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dame Ellen MacArthur launch charity initiative on world’s longest ocean race.

From left, Clipper Ventures CEO William Ward, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston announce Clipper 13-14 Race Official Charity Partnership

Clipper Ventures has announced that it will support the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust as its official charity for the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. This will include a berth for a young person who has recovered from cancer and sailed with the charity with the aim to raise awareness and encourage hundreds of crew to support fundraising during the year long global challenge.

Sir Robin and Dame Ellen launched the initiative today aboard an ocean racing yacht together with Clipper Ventures CEO William Ward who selected the Trust as the races official charity. He said, “I’m extremely pleased to announce the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust as our chosen charity. It does a remarkable job for young people who are coping with cancer and deserves all the publicity and support we can give it. I hope this will significantly boost awareness and raise thousands of pounds in the process.”

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national organisation, based on the Isle of Wight that helps young people between the ages of 8-24 who are in recovery from cancer and leukaemia by taking them sailing to rebuild their confidence.

Dame Ellen explained, “This is great news for the Trust and provides an innovative and relevant opportunity to help us increase the numbers of young people who can benefit from our work. Sailing provides a very powerful way of helping to take back control of their lives after cancer treatment. We are very grateful to Clipper Ventures and believe this will be a very powerful partnership over the next two years of this project.”

The Charity now works with every young person’s primary cancer care unit in the UK. These primary care units deal with around 95% of young people being treated for cancer. The Charity’s vision is to continue to increase the number of young people they work with.

Regional centres will be encouraged to develop relationships with each of the twelve yachts competing in the 40,000-mile Clipper Race, having the opportunity to meet with local crew members and follow them on the race.

In addition to the profile and fundraising partnership, Clipper Ventures is giving one young person who has been supported by the charity the opportunity to sail on the first leg of the next biennial Clipper Race from the UK to South America.

The successful young person will act as an ambassador for the charity, helping to raise the profile of the Trust while encouraging crew and supporters to raise thousands of pounds for the charity. Additional funding will help more young people recovering from cancer the chance to take part in the Trust’s sailing programmes.

Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in 1968-9 added, “For me the Clipper Race is about giving everyone, regardless of who they are, the chance to achieve their dream, which is exactly what the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust endeavours to do for so many brave young people.”

Any young person, who has previously sailed with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and has completed their treatment, can find out how to apply for the ambassador crew place on the first leg of the next Clipper Race by visiting the Trust’s Facebook site at

The successful candidate will be announced next March, before completing the full Clipper Race training programme prior to departing on the race in the summer.

For more information about Clipper Ventures visit

For more information about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust visit



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Ruth Harrington, PR Officer
UK mobile: +44 (0) 7792 408 695
Office: +44 (0) 2392 526000
Email: rharrington(at)clipper-ventures(dot)com

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About Clipper Ventures Plc
More than 40 years have gone by since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's record breaking solo and non-stop circumnavigation in 1968-69. Now, as Chairman of Clipper Ventures Plc, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Clipper Ventures, the international marine events company founded in 1995, is focused on developing and promoting major events capable of attracting significant participation, income, media coverage and associated sponsorship revenue. Sir Robin founded the company on the premise that sailing should be made available to everyone, regardless of age or experience. More than 3,000 people have now competed in the eight editions of the Clipper Race to date. The company also owns the rights to the professional solo round the world VELUX 5 OCEANS race and runs a successful events division offering corporate sailing and development programmes.

About the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was established in 2003 as a nationwide organisation which aims to help young people who have suffered from Cancer and Leukaemia by rebuilding their confidence through sailing. The Trust works with every primary treatment centre in the UK. Studies into the psychological effects of cancer in children highlight how important positive personal relationships with others are in facilitating coping with cancer. They also state how difficult it is for the young peope (especially teens) to establish independence and a sense of control over their lives and maintain a sense of personal worth.

Young people are invited to take part in four-day sailing trips on the Solent run by the Trust throughout the summer holidays. They are all about having fun; barbeques, rib rides and lots of water fights! This enables the young people to work together as a team and to take part in the duties on board the boats. After the initial trip, the Trust invites the children back every year to take part in other sailing events until they are 18. These events include J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, Cowes Week and a week-long residential programme at the Bradwell Outdoors Centre in Essex. Inviting the youngsters back to take part in other events enables the Trust to establish ongoing relationships with them. Once the young people are over 18 those who are interested can return as volunteers.

This quote from a mother shortly after one of the first trips the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust ran sums up the Trust’s work: “It has never been the cancer that has worried me but the depression that came with it. She had lost her self-confidence and had a very low self-esteem, but the Ellen MacArthur Trust has changed all that. From the minute I picked her up she hasn’t stopped smiling, she has talked non-stop about her trip, she is singing and dancing and walking tall. She was able to have fun and relax for the first time in years. Of all the medicines she had, this one - the trip - was the one that made her better!”

Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race will start in summer 2013 and return almost a year later - at 40,000 miles it’s the world’s longest ocean race. The event was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to discover the exhilaration of ocean racing. 650 people representing more than 40 nations will compete in the Clipper 13-14 Race on twelve brand new 70-foot yachts designed by Tony Castro. It’s the largest race ever. Crew members can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs. The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 – there is no upper age limit. The overall race is divided into individual stages and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is the Executive Chairman and founder Director of Clipper Ventures Plc. Sir Robin has been involved in sailing all his life and holds a Department of Transport Master’s Certificate. He is the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world and has also set the record for the fastest circumnavigation with Sir Peter Blake. In 2007 he completed his second solo circumnavigation when he competed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race. Sir Robin has considerable experience of the administration of round the world races having served on the Whitbread Race committee from 1990 to 1994 and having organised the BOC Challenge Round the World Race in 1982 and 1986. He has been named RYA/YJA Yachtsman of the Year an unprecedented three times and participated in the 2010 Sydney-Hobart race at the age of 71.

Dame Ellen MacArthur DBE
Dame Ellen MacArthur first hit the headlines in 2001 when she raced single-handedly non-stop around the world in the Vendée Globe when only 24 years old. After 94 days at sea, Ellen returned to a different life, she had come second in one of the hardest races in offshore sailing and the response was massive. Prior to her Vendée success, she won the solo transatlantic race from the UK to the USA and went on to win the Route du Rhum from France to the Caribbean in 2002. After this successful run in the monohull Open 60 class, Ellen turned her attention to the multihull circuit leading to her departure from Falmouth, UK in 2004 on board the 75ft trimaran B&Q... she returned 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes, 33 seconds later, having sailed over 26,000 miles to become the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed. She was knighted by the Queen in 2005 and has received the Legion d'Honneur from French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. She is a founder of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and has established the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

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