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In the history of this planet only a handful of female skippers have ever led a crew around the world in a yacht race.  Vicky Ellis is one of them.  Rarely does life offer a challenge which demands such courage, determination and pure leadership.

At the age of 31, Vicky took the helm of the yacht “Switzerland”, one of the 12 entries in the Clipper race 2013-14, the longest round the world yacht race.

She led an international crew of amateur sailors, from all walks of life, on board a 70’ ocean racing boat on an 11 month journey of a lifetime.  They raced through some of the planet's remote oceans facing storms and dangers.

Her campaign focused successfully on team and individual development and they rose from the bottom of the fleet to the top, finishing 5th overall.  She guided her boat and crew safely around the world, developing a high performance team who were rewarded with podium triumphs.  The crew of "Switzerland" developed a reputation for solid teamwork.  

She became only the second female skipper to complete the race in its 20 year history and the first female skipper to lead her team to win a leg of the race.


Vicky has always been ambitious and determined.  She grew up in land-locked Worcestershire, sailing Optimist dinghies on the local reservoir.  In her teens she began volunteering with the youth sail training charity Ocean Youth Trust Scotland which would see her qualify as a commercial skipper before she had finished her degree.

She entered (and won) her first offshore yacht race at 18 and the bug took hold. 

After finishing her Masters studies at Bristol University (Mechanical Engineering 1:1), she completed her first transatlantic yacht race, winning the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).  Next followed a career in Project Management working for the engineering consultancy company Atkins.  In 2011 she came back to sailing full time, mixing instructing, racing and blue water sailing.  

In 2013 she was appointed as a Clipper Race Skipper by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, founder of Clipper Ventures.  She was the only female skipper in the 9th edition of the race and became only the second female skipper ever to complete the race. 

Since 2014 Vicky has been speaking across the globe on the subject of leadership.  She also delivers team building and experiential leadership courses afloat.  Not one for a quite life she works with a handful of charities/not-for-profits.

She currently lives in Hampshire, UK, close to the sea, with her young water-loving family. 

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