Clipper Round the World : England Sevens Captain Ollie Phillips to tackle world’s longest ocean race

Saturday, 03 August 2013


Ollie Philips joins GREAT Britain team in Clipper Race on ‘road to Rio’

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.

“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.

See Clipper Round the World Race images

Amy Martindale

Ollie Philips

Rugby Career:

Ollie's illustrious rugby career has spanned over 10 years and has been full of success and achievements throughout. Having joined the harlequins academy ranks as young 18 year old, it wasn't long before Ollie tasted joys of success, winning the Middlesex 7's at twickenham.

Ollie then enjoyed 6 years at Newcastle Falcons where some of his achievements include captaining and winning the Middlesex 7's, Melrose 7's (twice) and the Tetley's Bitter Cup at Twickenham. In 2007/2008 his try scoring ability came to the fore as he picked up the award for European Top Try Scorer.

However in 2009 Ollie made the move to Stade Français in Paris. During his time there Ollie became a fans favourite at one of Europe's biggest rugby clubs, picking up the Orange Best Overseas Player award (2010/2011) & and the runners up medal for Top Scorer in the Top 14.

Having left Paris in 2011 Ollie enjoyed a brief stint at Gloucester Rugby Club, before returning to his 'home', England 7s. Ollie's international career has spanned 10 years and has seen him pick up many accolades along the way. On his debut year on the circuit (2004) Ollie was an integral part of the England squad that finished Second in the IRB World Sevens Series, with victories in Dubai & London along the way. Ollie continued to excel and show his class on the Sevens circuit before finally winning the sports ultimate prize! In 2008/09 season Ollie was named as the England 7s Captain. The year was to prove to be an extremely successful one with England reaching 4 finals and 2 tournament wins (Wellington & London). For Ollie, further plaudits were to follow as he picked up the 2008/09 IRB World Sevens Player of the Year award, a huge accolade and a major milestone in Ollie's career.

However, it is not just on the field that Ollie has delivered. In 2007/08 Ollie was voted Guinness Premiership Community Player of the Year. An award that recognises a players contribution away from the rugby field and his contribution back to society.

Ollie has managed to master another language along his travels (Ollie is a native French speaker) and is now at the beginning of what is sure to be a very successful media career, having already secured a punditry seat in front of ESPN, Eurosport & Sky Sports audiences.

Ollie is not only a quality rugby player, but also a 'fun loving guy' , who embraces life and all the good that it brings. Always with a smile on his face and always trying to do things differently. His recent decision to take on the Worlds Seas and Oceans by participating in the Clipper Round the World Race 2013/14 is testament to this and his ambition to continually inspire change in people and the world we live in.

Alzheimer’s and The Cycle

"My Grandma, someone who I love with all my heart, passed away in January 2013. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in June 2012 and Breast Cancer swiftly after that. My Grandmother's health deteriorated so quickly following her diagnosis, that I decided to do something to help fight this terrible disease. As her battle began to draw to a close I felt there was no better way to celebrate her memory than with a cycle to Brussels and marking the journey of her wonderful life. One in three people over 65 will die with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.

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 Alzheimers. As Alzheimers present campaign says "Talk Creates Change"

OllieDays

Ollie Days is about raising awareness, bringing people together and providing a platform to share personal experiences of how Alzheimers has affected them & their loved ones. The birth of OllieDays came about when Ollie decide to fundraise for his bike ride, by offering people the chance to come on an 'OllieDay'. This provided OllieDays with a voice and the motivation to encourage people to come together and have a little fun at the same time, all in the name of charity!

Full Quote:

'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 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. Within the England 7's squad we have a motto that reads 'Be comfortable, with being uncomfortable!' The suggestion is that if you push yourself to your limits and can mentally and physically deal with that pressure that feeling, then come game time you will be ready to rock and roll!

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 Team Clipper Race yacht!

Admittedly it is not the most conventional of approaches, but I'm not one to follow the norm. It is the opportunity of a lifetime and one that I intend of grasping with both hands. My hope is that upon my return to British soil, my injury troubles will be a thing of the past and my mental steel and resolve will enable me to conquer any challenge that is put in front of me.

Thank you Sir Robin and the Clipper family for welcoming me in to this fabulous family of yours! :)' 

Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race will start on Sunday 1 September from St Katharine Docks London, and return almost a year later after completing the 40,000 miles route, making it the world’s longest ocean race. 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. 650 people representing more than 40 nations will compete in the Clipper 13-14 Race on twelve brand new 70-foot yachts designed by renowned naval architect Tony Castro. It’s the largest race ever. Crew members can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of eight legs. The only qualification for the race is the minimum age of 18 (there is no upper age limit) plus a thirst for adventure. The overall race is divided into individual stages and points are accumulated in a Formula 1-style scoring system. The yacht with the highest total points at the finish wins the Clipper Trophy.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

It’s 45 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston set off on his record breaking solo and non-stop circumnavigation in 1968-69. Now, as Executive Chairman and founding Director of Clipper Ventures Plc, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Sir Robin has been involved in sailing all his life and holds a Department of Transport Master’s Certificate. He set the record for the fastest circumnavigation with Sir Peter Blake. In 2007; he completed his second solo circumnavigation when he competed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race. Sir Robin has considerable experience of the administration of round the world races having served on the Whitbread Race committee from 1990 to 1994 and having organised the BOC Challenge Round the World Race in 1982 and 1986. He has been named RYA/YJA Yachtsman of the Year an unprecedented three times and participated in the 2010 Sydney-Hobart race at the age of 71.

See Clipper Round the World Race images

Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 August 2013 )