Father and son sail halfway around the globe in clipper race

Greenwich resident Benoit Ansart, 57, has now sailed over halfway around the world from Liverpool, UK, to the tropical resort of Sanya, China, as part of Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

On the challenge, Benoit said: “For me it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have been sailing all of my life in Europe and the USA and I have raced since I was very young. I was keen to try my hand at more ocean racing, and it had to be the whole way around.”

In an endurance test like no other, Benoit will have sailed over 40,000 nautical miles as part of the Sanya Serenity Coast team when he completes the thirteen individual races that make up the Clipper Race circuit.

After embarking on his lifetime dream to sail around the world, Benoit departed from Liverpool, UK, on 20 August 2017, and has since has sailed some 24,000 nautical miles across the North and South Atlantic, Southern and Indian Oceans, stopping in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Cape Town, South Africa, and Fremantle, Sydney, Hobart and the Whitsundays, Australia.

Completing the Clipper Race puts Benoit in a very special group of people; more people have climbed Mount Everest than circumnavigated the globe. Now over the halfway mark, Benoit says: “It has been great, but I am very much still looking forward to the next half of the race, too.”

But the finish of the seventh race was the most special of all for the former SVP of an independent power producer, not only because of the hero’s welcome the team received into its home port when it crossed the finish line in fourth place into Sanya, China, at 18.21 (UTC) on 22 February 2018, but because Benoit was joined by his son, Victor.

For Leg 5 and 6, from The Whitsundays, Australia, through China to Seattle, USA, Benoit is being joined on board the modern 70 foot racing yacht by his 26 year old son, who signed up to sail with his father after rearranging his work visiting him in Punta del Este, Uruguay, earlier on in the circumnavigation.

Arriving to a hero’s welcome with his team, Sanya Serenity Coast, when it berthed in its tropical home port of Sanya, China, Victor said: “Honestly, it has always been a dream of ours. When I was little, we always talked about crossing oceans and exploring the world, so this is a dream come true to do this together!”

“The next Leg will be from China across the Pacific back to the US — that will be some homecoming!”

Whilst in Sanya, China, Benoit will be exploring the very best that the city has to offer from sightseeing tours organised by the Tourism Association, Chinese cookery classes and cultural experiences.

The duo will set off for the next stop on the race, Qingdao, in Northern China, on Sunday March 4. From there, their Sanya Serenity Coast team , which is leading the on the overall Clipper Race leaderboard, will then continue to cross the Pacific Ocean to arrive in Seattle in mid-April. After transiting the Panama Canal, Benoit and the Sanya Serenity Coast team will arrive in New York, USA, in Mid-June.

Around 200 people from all walks of life and representing 22 different nationalities are taking part in the fifth of eight Legs that make up the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

The Clipper Race is seen as one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges and is unique in that it is raced by everyday people with each of the eleven teams being led by a professional skipper. In 1996, legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69, founded the race as a way to give everyone, no matter their sailing experience, the chance to become an ocean racer. Approximately 40% of crew members have never sailed before they sign up for the 40,000 nautical miles circumnavigation, which is divided into eight legs and features six ocean crossings.

Victor and Benoit Ansart

Victor and Benoit Ansart

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