Ross Daniel, a 24-year-old professional skipper from Oreston in Plymouth, will take over the reigns of New York's entry in the Clipper 2002 Round the World Yacht Race during the current crew stopover in Hong Kong.
Colchester's Samantha Fuller is standing down as skipper of New York Clipper following the first half of the eleven-month race, which started in Liverpool last October.
Commenting on her decision, Samantha said: "I have loved working for Clipper, what it is and what it means. Competing on the race has been a wonderful and valuable experience for me, one I will treasure. The intensity of the competition has proved to be highly demanding, although at the same time it has been greatly rewarding.
"I love sailing and my talents lie in teaching, so it has been a joy to watch the crew become excellent sailors over the last 6 months. I am proud of them and I know my wonderful crew will work as hard for Ross as they have for me.
"Standing down as skipper has been a difficult albeit necessary decision to reach, as I found myself no longer enjoying the task especially on the longer ocean races. I can however promise everyone involved that I'll continue to follow the Clipper 2002 race from afar."
Samantha also expressed her confidence in the capabilities of new skipper, Ross Daniel, before wishing him and the New York crew well for the inward stretch of the circumnavigation. Ross will get acquainted with his crew during the Hong Kong stopover, assuming the helm on the start of the fourth crew leg.
Ross' involvement with race organisers, Clipper Ventures plc, was initiated in 1998 when he was involved in the maintenance of the round-the-world yachts prior to the Clipper 98 race. This proved to be an inspirational time for Ross and, with thoughts of one day racing around the globe himself, he secured his Yacht Master qualification in 1999.
Ross then returned to Clipper as First Mate, training the amateur crews for the 2000 round the world yacht race, before going on to achieve an impressive racing record as a skipper for Formula 1 Events.
With six Atlantic crossings already under his belt, Ross is the current record holder for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). The 2002 ARC saw Ross take line honours aboard the Farr 65 Spirit of Diana; the first time in the ARC that the any yacht has taken line honours in two consecutive years.
A racing force to be reckoned with, Ross' successes in 2002 also include lifting the Caribbean Big Boat Series Cup, as the youngest and first British winning skipper, victory in the BVIs Regatta, and a creditable 2nd place (IRC) on the Sydney to Hobart Race.
The fourth leg of the Clipper 2002 series will start on Thursday, 17 April 2003, with the Clipper fleet competing on the San Fernando Race, a 480 nautical mile offshore contest across the South China Sea organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Considered one of Asia's classic offshore races, the biennial race to San Fernando is both a major event for yachtsmen and a significant sporting event for Hong Kong, attracting interest from serious sailors both locally and internationally.
Commenting on the skipper change, Race Director Colin de Mowbray said, "Sam Fuller has done an amazing job in skippering an ocean racing yacht from the UK to Hong Kong. I speak for everyone when I say how very sad we are that she has decided to leave at the halfway stage of the race, but we wish her well and know she will take her professional skills and charm to new horizons.
"Over the 18,0000 miles of intense ocean racing so far, Sam has shown she is a most diligent skipper and her win into Cuba on the second race of the Clipper 2002 series was immensely popular amongst the whole fleet. To have achieved all this with a full complement of 14 crew members, at the age of just 25, is a credit to Sam's racing abilities.
"We wish Ross every success aboard the New York yacht for the second half of Clipper 2002. He is well known within Clipper and his previous skippering experience speaks for itself. I am sure he will prove to be a big hit with the New York crew," he concluded.
Following stopovers in Hong Kong and San Fernando, the fleet will sail down to Singapore for a 5-day visit before the fourth leg of the Clipper 2002 series concludes in Mauritius in late May. The fleet then races to the South African port of Cape Town before embarking on the crossing of the Southern Atlantic to the port of Salvador in Brazil.
Leaving Salvador in late July, the final leg of Clipper 2002 will see the yachts head north and an especially warm welcome awaits Ross and his crew aboard New York Clipper as the fleet call into New York, USA.
To ensure a thrilling finish, the yachts will visit Jersey in the beautiful Channel Islands before the final sprint via Holyhead to the homecoming celebrations in Liverpool on 27 September 2003.