Clipper to Freo

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to sail into Fremantle this December.

Photography by Clipper Race

15 August 2023


One of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will be sailing into the Fremantle Sailing Club as part of the 2023-24 edition global race route.

Eleven racing yachts crewed by people from all walks of life will arrive in Western Australia from 8 December, after sailing over 5000 miles from Cape Town across the testing conditions of the Roaring Forties.

The Clipper Race sees adventurers from all walks of life take on the exceptional challenge of racing across the world’s oceans on board a 70-foot yacht. Crew can sign up for individual legs, or the full 40,000nm circumnavigation, and this edition sees 29 Australian crew join the race – including an orthopaedic surgeon, an agronomist, and an electrician. Fourteen of these 29 Australians will be sailing into their home country when they arrive at Fremantle.


The Race Crew from Australia sailing into Fremantle are:

Andrew Eggleton, 46, cyber security engineer, Carlton VIC

Dianne McGrath, 54, environmental consultant and speaker, Maroochydore, QLD

Jacklyn Wyer, 31, student, Kiama, NSW

Justin Howard, 46, agronomist, Brisbane, QLD

Michael Dye, 66, retired, South Melbourne VIC

Peter Ford, chef, 60, Buninyong, VIC

Ralph Gunkelman,48, orthopaedic surgeon, Austinmer NSW

Richard Wonders, 62, retired, Haberfield, NSW

Sean Russo,60, risk advisor, Double Bay, NSW

Brendan Wilde, 34, lead agile coach, Australian living in Berlin

Charles Werb, 64, business owner (adventure), Australian living in Qatar

Daniel Kellie, 50, retired, Australian living in France

Susan Blunt, 53, events director, Australian living in the UK

William Ackerly, 22, student, Australian living the UK


Many of the Race Crew taking part in the Clipper Race have no prior sailing experience. They take on an intensive compulsory four-stage training programme before going on to tackle some of the most testing conditions that Mother Nature can serve up, from freezing temperatures and 40-foot waves to the blistering heat and flat calms of the tropics.

Taking eleven months to complete, the Clipper 2023-24 Race will begin from Portsmouth, UK on 3 September 2023 to embark on the 40,000 nautical mile race around the globe.

Crew will arrive in Fremantle after racing from the UK down to South America, via Cadiz in Spain, and then to Cape Town. From Cape Town, the fleet will battle the huge swells and high winds of the Roaring Forties, making for a testing race, and will arrive in December ready to relax in some Western Australia sunshine and celebrate an epic ocean crossing.

Fremantle will be the finish destination for Leg 3: The Roaring Forties Leg, and the start port for Leg 4: The Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg, which will see crew tackle a cocktail of conditions as they race from Fremantle to Newcastle in NSW, and then up to Airlie Beach, Whitsundays.

Clipper Race crew, staff and supporters can expect a vibrant stay in Fremantle, with time to soak up the sun, surf and sundowners in one of the town’s many bars and restaurants and have the chance to explore some of the stunning beaches that the coastline has to offer.

Craig Evans, CEO at Fremantle Sailing Club said, “We look forward to welcoming the Clipper Round the World Race yachts in December when they arrive in Perth, Western Australia. It has been four years since Fremantle Sailing Club hosted the last stopover. Our members and the local community have great memories of the last visit and can’t wait to greet the crews and show them some of our famous Fremantle hospitality.”

Mark Light, Race Director at Clipper Ventures said, “The port of Fremantle in Western Australia is no stranger to the Clipper Race, and we are delighted to be heading back there for a fifth time after a long and arduous crossing of the South Indian Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa.

“After recharging in Freo, the fleet will round one of the great capes of the world, Cape Leeuwin, and experience the roaring forties as they blast across the Southern Ocean leaving the great Australian continent to the north.

“Strong depressions will give tremendous winds and big seas which in turn will create some fantastic downwind surfing conditions for the Clipper 70 Race yachts and their crews.  Once around Tasmania, the fleet will head north and do battle with the notorious Bass Strait, forever wary of the weather phenomenon known as the ‘Southerly Buster’ which is prevalent in these parts, as they head towards the port of Newcastle, NSW for the very first time in Clipper Race history.”

29 Australian crew members aged between 22 and 69 will be joining the adventure of a lifetime on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Fourteen crew members from Australia will be sailing into their home country after a huge race from Cape Town. Eight crew from Australia will then be embarking on Leg 4, racing from Fremantle to Newcastle and Airlie Beach.

About the Clipper Race

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. This unique, epic event sees teams battle extreme conditions as they race more than 40,000 nautical miles around the globe in a true test of fortitude and determination.

The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind which trains people from all walks of life to become ocean racers, and many have no previous sailing experience before signing up for the intensive four levels of training prior to racing. Led by a professional Skipper and First Mate, Race Crew can complete the full eleven-month circumnavigation or choose to test themselves on one or multiple legs.

The Clipper Race was founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world. 

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