‘Go Andy!’ - Skipper from Skegness plays ‘Joker’ for GREAT Britain in first leg of Round the World Yacht Race

The GREAT Britain crew, with skipper Andy Burns of Skegness, leads the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race out of Albert Dock in Liverpool. ANL-170821-073539001
The GREAT Britain crew, with skipper Andy Burns of Skegness, leads the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race out of Albert Dock in Liverpool. ANL-170821-073539001

A skipper who grew up in Skegness made the nation proud yesterday as he led the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race out of Albert Dock in Liverpool.

Former Skegness Grammar School student Andy Burns, 31, was watched by thousands of supporters, including family and friends, as the GREAT Britain boat and its crew of amateur sailors set out on one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet.

The GREAT Britain crew, with skipper Andy Burns of Skegness, leads the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race out of Albert Dock in Liverpool. ANL-170821-073555001

The GREAT Britain crew, with skipper Andy Burns of Skegness, leads the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race out of Albert Dock in Liverpool. ANL-170821-073555001

Twelve yachts are taking part in the race which ends in a year’s time back in Liverpool.

The GREAT Britain team decided to play its Joker Card in this opening race, making the team a potential contender to climb ahead early in the leaderboard by doubling all points won in that stage.

This morning, nearly 20 hours into the race, the GREAT Britain crew are eighth, with Visit Seattle taking the lead overnight.

The night before the start of the race family and friends joined Andy for a farewell dinner. His mum Kaite Waite told the Standard this morning: “We were all very emotional,

Andy  (front row centre) saying goodbye to family and friends at a celebration dinner before the race. ANL-170821-075132001

Andy (front row centre) saying goodbye to family and friends at a celebration dinner before the race. ANL-170821-075132001

“Andrew was apprehensive but just wanted to get going - he isn’t good with all the hype.

“He just wanted to get out onto the water and do what he does best.

“We all did a lot of crying. It’s a big thing for us as a family as we are all so very close.”

Andy, who began his sailing at the age of 12 and was also a Skegness lifeguard, is a former training skipper for the race.

An emotional farewell to GREAT Britain skipper Andy Burns of Skegness with mum and dad Kate and Tim Waite. ANL-170821-075212001

An emotional farewell to GREAT Britain skipper Andy Burns of Skegness with mum and dad Kate and Tim Waite. ANL-170821-075212001

He underwent a series of intense interviews and trials before being announced as one of 12 professional skippers for the 40,000 nautical mile race.

He said: “I feel incredibly proud to be selected as a Clipper Race skipper for the 2017-2018 edition.

“It is an opportunity that mixes my love for sailing, ocean travel, people and teaching.

“I cannot wait to sail around the world and return having forged great bonds over incredible shared experiences”

GREAT Britain skipper Andy Burns from Skegness  chats before  the race.

GREAT Britain skipper Andy Burns from Skegness chats before the race.

Andy’s vast sailing career already spans 19 years and has seen him log over 100,000 nautical miles working around the globe in sail training and superyacht industries.

An experienced yacht racer, he has competed in three Round the Island Races, six Superyacht Regattas, Cowes Week, the Panerai Classic, The Bicentenary, Sydney Harbour Twilight Series and Lion Island Races.

“Naturally, I would like to win and sail competitively but only doing so without pushing the boat or crew to any unsafe limits to get there,” he added.

Andy, sat centre, preparing for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race. ANL-170819-064044001

Andy, sat centre, preparing for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race. ANL-170819-064044001