At pyd we have had a long association with the Clipper Challenge Round the World race by virtue of the fact that many of their skippers have been members of our team either before or after the race itself.

Names from the past include Danny Watson, skipper of ‘Qingdao' in the 2007 race, who started as a deckhand with pyd in the mid nineties; Sam Fuller Skipper of New York in the 2005 race has worked with us on number of occasions as have Ed Green, Rupert Parkhouse and Adam Kyffin, who took Liverpool Clipper round the World 1n 2002. In fact Adam has recently been back on board with us delivering a brand new Beneteau Oceanis 54 up to Estonia.

We should also mention the race’s founder and driving force Sir Robin Knox-Johnston kindly signed a batch of his brilliant book ‘Force of Nature’ when we gave them as presents a couple of years back – he also let us use an extract from the book in our Christmas cards that same year.

We were delighted therefore when it was announced recently that two of our long standing group skippers have been allocated boats for the 2009-10 race, which starts in September.

Forty three year old Peter Stirling has been with us for over ten tears and was already an experienced sailor when he joined. He took his experience to new levels during his time with us completing at least 70 passages including memorable ones from Martinique to Thailand aboard Chris Gordon’s CNB77 ‘Chrysalis T’ and the first Sweden Yachts 80 from Scandinavia to Turkey December! He also heroically nursed an ancient steel schooner back from Bombay to Turkey managing to reduce the resident rat population by an estimated 50% en route.

Matt Pike is the other successful candidate from the pyd stable. Now 40, Matt joined us as a deckhand some years ago and worked with us on numerous deliveries gradually building his experience and qualifications until he was offered a skippering opportunity in 2001.

In between periods as a charter skipper he has worked extensively on our deliveries and learned to cope cheerfully and resourcefully with all the problems that going to sea entails.

We will miss them both over the next year and a half, but very much expect to see them back. Importantly they have left behind numerous capable skippers and mates who have benfited from their guidance and leadership over the years.

We know they’ll both do a really good job for their sponsors and their crews and in the meanwhile we’ve placed a confident wager on who is going to be the first of the ten skippers home!

‘photo credit: Clipper Ventures PLC

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