Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Clipper Race gets new top team

United Kingdom
21st November 2022

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Clipper Race gets new top team

After 26 years of building Clipper Ventures and successfully hosting 12 editions of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and CEO William Ward are stepping back from the day-to-day running of the business. Clipper Ventures will now be led by internally appointed MDs, Chris Rushton and Laura Ayres.  

Clipper Ventures, which will see its 13th edition of the Clipper Race launch in 2023, also manages experiential sailing brand, Clipper Events, along with adventure expedition sailing company SKIRR Adventures, RYA sailing school – Hamble School of Yachting, and Clipper China.

Rushton has over 20 years of experience in the maritime industry, owning and running Hamble School of Yachting from the age of 21. Since the leading RYA sea school became part of Clipper Ventures in 2018, Rushton has continued as its director, with additional responsibilities as director of training for Clipper Ventures. He also oversaw the launch of adventure sailing brand, SKIRR Adventures.

In her previous role as head of partnerships and events, Ayres has overseen a multi-million-pound global sponsorship portfolio, with a reputation for showcasing brands and building international trade links between partners and host destinations. Ayres also manages Clipper Events. This experiential sailing events brand recently relaunched with the inaugural Knox-Johnston Cup held in September and an upcoming Fastnet Race campaign in 2023.  

Clipper Ventures’ experienced new management board, led by the joint MDs, will be supported by a finance director (Anna Navarro) and race director (Mark Light). William Ward will sit on the board as executive chairman and Knox-Johnston as non-executive director and president.

As part of the long-term succession plan, the business has engaged with FRP Corporate Finance, to start a process that will enable the co-founders to reduce most of their shareholdings and find a new custodian to take ownership of the business.

Knox-Johnston said:

The first Clipper Race crew left Plymouth in October 1996 on board eight 60-foot yachts, and today more than 5,000 people and three generations of Clipper Race ocean racing fleets have competed in what is known to be the world’s toughest ocean-racing challenge.

The route of each edition of the race is unique, often formed by host ports around the globe. In the race’s 25-year history, more than 50 cities have played host to the Clipper Race.

Rushton continued:

About Clipper Ventures


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