Already a familiar face to many, Rob Graham first became involved in the Clipper Race when his partner completed the full circumnavigation in the 2009-10 edition. Eight years on, it’s his turn to race the world’s oceans as a Clipper Race Skipper.
Rob, 39 from Sussex, has a unique insight into both the Clipper Race and the fleet of twelve 70-foot yachts. As well as acting as a Skipper and Mate for training and corporate sailing events since 2011, Rob has also been involved in the commissioning and refit of the fleet.
"Knowing the race and boats the way I do is a big help," says Rob.
"The race was the only thing I hadn’t done, you know, having built the boats and refitted them, trained on them, this is what’s left to do."
A jack of all trades, Rob’s past professions range from postman to camel jockey. Still, he managed to find the time to graduate with a degree in law and a solicitor’s postgraduate qualification from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. An active person, Rob spends his time off water competing in triathlons and distance running.
Since completing his Yacht Masters in 2005, Rob has chalked up more than 50,000 nautical miles, including several ocean passages. When it comes to Rob’s favourite moments at sea, it would be a toss between the time he balanced the trim of eight sails aboard a gaff schooner so she sailed up the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia with no need of helming, seeing a moonbow under trade wind clouds, or crossing the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia aboard an 80-foot ex-Whitbread Maxi on ARC.
And his motto for the race?
"Give it everything. Don’t look back on the race after it’s all over and wish you had tried harder."