Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Crew: Justin Heiner

04 August 2017

Name: Justin Heiner

Age: 37

Nationality: USA

Hometown: Kemah, Texas

Occupation: Engineer

Legs: Full Circumnavigation

Team: Dare To Lead

When Justin Heiner, 37 from Texas, USA, came across the Clipper Race, he knew the full circumnavigation was the only option for him.

“Being from the USA, I was originally just looking at Seattle through the Panama Canal to New York,” says Justin.

“But then I’ve always wanted to cross oceans and I thought ‘oh the Atlantic would be cool, the Pacific would be cool, the Southern Ocean would be cool’, and it just turned into doing them all.”

As a result, later this month Justin will set off with his Skipper, Dale Smyth, and his fellow Dare To Lead crew and embark on the adventure of a lifetime; a 40,000 nautical mile, eleven month race across the world’s oceans.

“For the race, I’m definitely hoping to improve my sailing skills with big ocean crossings.

“Just living with the toe rail in the water. You know on deck you know what you are doing, but downstairs just the challenge of doing something totally different that’s really not comfortable for anybody will be amazing. Just doing something, seeing it through the whole way around the world, and visiting all the nice new places – I can’t wait.”

Justin is no stranger to boat life, though his former workplace was considerably different to the Clipper Race 70 foot ocean racing yachts.

“I started off as Project Engineer for an off-shore pipe laying construction company and for the last eight years I’ve been a shift supervisor for the pipe laying boats.”

“The last few years I’ve been working in Congo, and before that I was working the west of Shetlands and up in Norway. I’ve also worked on boats in Egypt, Venezuela, Brazil and Trinidad, so I’m used to being on boats but usually much bigger – around 100 to 200 metres - opposed to a sailing boat.

“I’m used to working my nice twelve hour shifts and after the twelve hours I’ve got the twelve hours off so it’s a little different doing the short 4-6 hour watches that I’ll be doing on the Clipper Race.”

While Justin’s work has taken him to many places, the global circuit of the Clipper Race will still cross off a few locations on his bucket list.

“I’m really just looking forward to seeing all of it. I’ve never been to Uruguay, never been to Cape Town, never been to Australia, and never been to China either. So a lot of new places that I haven’t been yet.”

The first place the Clipper Race will take him to will be Liverpool for Race Start on Sunday 20 August. Justin will be part of the delivery team that will sail the fleet from Gosport to Liverpool, and he says the week at Albert Dock before the race begins will be one to remember.

“I’ve heard the previous Race Start in Liverpool in 2007 was a real big thing and I think this is going to be pretty much insane. The whole prep week leading up to it is going to be manic, just trying to get the boat ready, and there is just going to be so much going on that you are just trying to keep up with everything, but I will be trying to have fun and trying to enjoy everything.”

Feel inspired? There is still time to join the Asia Pacific Leg 5 and Mighty Pacific Leg 6 of the 2017-18 race, with training courses taking place this Autumn. Visit the Clipper Race website for more information on how to join the Race of Your Life.

We’re supporting every child in danger with race Charity Partner UNICEF UK. Make a donation on our JustGiving page and help us reach our fundraising target of £400,000.