Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: Ollie Phillips joins Great Britain

Skipper Simon Talbot (centre right) and Ollie Phillips (centre left ) and crew in front of their Clipper Ship outside the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London.
© PA Wire/Press Association Images
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14. Former England Sevens Captain Ollie Phillips is used to facing tough opposition on the pitch but he’ll be taking on a very different test of strength and endurance as a crew member on board GREAT Britain during the 40,000 mile unique ocean challenge.

Ollie Phillips is an England international rugby sevens player who previously captained the team in IRB Sevens World Series and was named 2009 IRB World Sevens Player of the Year. He was introduced to fellow team members in Trafalgar Square today where the GREAT Britain racing yacht is currently on display in front of the National Gallery.

Ollie will join his GREAT Britain crew members at the Clipper Race’s first stop in Brest, France in early September after completing a charity cycle ride from London to Brussels for the Alzheimer’s Society, a cause close to his heart.

'This is a cause really close to my heart and I hope through all these challenges and events, I can increase the awareness and help to continue the fight against dementia. As the current Alzheimer’s Society campaign says ‘Talk Creates Change’.

'My Grandma, someone who I love with all my heart, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in June 2012 and Breast Cancer swiftly after that; she passed away at the beginning of this year. My Grandmother's health deteriorated so quickly following her diagnosis that I decided to do something to help fight this terrible disease.

Ollie Phillips in front of a Clipper Ship outside the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London.
© PA Wire/Press Association Images
'Throughout my career as a rugby player I have always sought to improve and challenge myself. That challenge has not only been to be a better rugby player, but also a better person. There have been ups and downs along the way as is expected with these things, but I have to admit that the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race poses my biggest life challenge to date.

'I think that mentally, physically and emotionally it is going to push me to my limits, but that is something that I look forward to facing and overcoming.

'I have an ambition to play at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games for Great Britain. I'm immensely proud to know that part of my mental and physical journey towards fulfilling that ambition will be tested and conquered under the sails of The GREAT Britain Clipper Race yacht!'

The GREAT Britain yacht has been on display in Trafalgar Square since Wednesday and will remain available for public viewing till 8pm, Sunday 4 August. The crew and skipper received their first official tour of the boat today during an official team building weekend in London, ahead of the Clipper Race start from St Katharine Docks on the Thames at Tower Bridge.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only race in the world where the organisers supply a fleet of 12 identical 70-foot, stripped down racing yachts – each sponsored by a place or a brand – and manned with a fully-qualified skipper, employed to lead the crews safely round the 40,000 mile, 11 month, global adventure. The event was established by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give everyone, regardless of sailing experience, the opportunity to discover the exhilaration of ocean racing.

The crew of GREAT Britain is made up of a variety of people from across the country and all walks of life and includes; nurses, students, teachers, bankers, directors, web designers, construction workers, a film director and a retiree, among many more. London-born professional yachtsman Simon Talbot, 44 will Skipper the GREAT Britain entry which is part of an innovative new campaign partnership between the race organisers, UK Government and British brands to showcase UK trade and tourism on a global platform.

Skipper Simon Talbot said: 'I am very proud to skipper the GREAT Britain team in the Clipper Race. Both myself and my crew feel very honoured to be flying the flag for the UK around the world. With just a few short weeks left of our training and preparations, we are all looking forward to the incredible journey we are about to start together.'

There are a limited number of berths remaining for people of all ages to compete in the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race on Legs 5 and 6 and applications are now open for the 2015-16 Clipper Race. There is a minimum age limit of 18 years old.

More for information visit Clipper Round the World