Right now, on the open ocean, amateur sailors are running a global race aboard thoroughbred sailboats. This is happening because one of the efforts of legendary competitive ocean sailor Robin Knox-Johnson, the first man to circumnavigate the globe single-handed.

In 1995, Knox-Johnson conceived of the Clipper Round the World Race, which allows paying amateur crew members to race as crew aboard a racing yacht. Race organizers provide the fleet of identical yachts, and provide qualified skippers to lead each team. Participants can either sign up for the entire race or just part of it. Unlike other races, the Clipper race uses lighter, faster boats that follow prevailing currents and winds.

The race is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring yacht racers to join an epic global race on the raging sea, racing aboard the Clipper 60 one design. This is a 60-foot yacht, based on the Camper and Nicholson Bluewater 58 cruising yacht. For the uninitiated, these are high performance off-shore racers capable of speeds exceeding 30 knots.

In creating the race, Knox-Johnson wanted to give novice sailors the opportunity to experience the hard core, rigorous conditions he came to thrive upon as a world class sailor. This year’s competition is under way off the western coast of Africa, with teams on their way to Rio to complete the first leg. You can follow the race on-line. 

Two teams, LMAX Exchange and GREAT Britain are running first and second place respectively out of 12 teams as they head south for the equator, according to Sail World. To the victor goes the Times Clipper Trophy.

The Clipper Round the World Race is one that opens the world of off-shore performance global yacht racing to virtually everyone, keeping alive the jaunt factor and the grand adventure that can only be found on the high seas.