Richard Clarke

Richard Clarke

2 minutes

Son of a son of a sailor, to say the sea is baked into Richard Clark’s DNA would be a hefty understatement. His great grandfather ran grain from Australia to UK during the last of the sailing ships. Both his grandfathers died at sea; one in a sailing race, the other on a PT boat in WW2. His parents met sailing in the UK on the University of London sailing team. His father went to the ‘72 Olympics for sailing. In his words: ‘Perhaps a sailing career was more destiny than choice.’

Basically born on a boat, a body of water and something to float in were never far. Growing up on Toronto Island, his first ‘sail’ in a plywood boat made by his father was at the age of 4.  And that, as they say, is where his salt water instincts kicked in; sailing in the lagoons and out into the harbour as he got older.

richard clarke canadian olympic sailor

Competition came soon thereafter; winning races and regatta following fast in its footsteps. Other footsteps this hungry sailer sought to follow in? His father’s - as an Olympic athlete. Shifting his focus from youth sailing, he pulled ‘the show’ into his sights - becoming a 4-time Olympian with team Canada. Which in turn opened the door to his professional sailing career - and endless stories of trials and tribulations as he circumnavigated the world; expressing his love for offshore and inshore sailing, setting (and resetting) records, racking up international accolades and titles.

regatta team preparing for a race

To date, he’s logged over 100,000 ocean miles. And while he’s still called to the ocean, he’s started sharing his knowledge through coaching; from junior sailors on Salt Spring Island, running National camps in both sailing and coaching development, and guiding top sailing teams to various steps on the podium. Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Clarke. A true Canadian sailing legend.

Fast Facts:

  • Grew up racing in the Canadian Youth sailing system
  • Won Canadian Youth Championships and sliver at the World Youths in Greece at age 18
  • Competed in 4 Olympics (’96, ’00, 04, ’12); best finish 9th (’96)
  • Won 4 World championship medals (1 sliver, 3 bronze)
  • Won Pan American Games Gold, numerous European and North American championship medals, and Canadian titles
  • Ranked #1 in the world (ongoing, many weeks)
  • Canadian Rolex Sailor of the year in ’99
  • Volvo Ocean Race Team - team member on winning boat Illbruck ’01-’02
  • Broken the World 24-hour sailing distance record 4 times; current record holder (618 nm, Comanche ’15)
  • Holds the both the Transatlantic and Transpac records
  • 2019 overall the Caribbean 600, Transatlantic Race and Fastnet Race (Wizard)
  • World title holder (M24 ’03 and ’09), World Championship Medals (M32 silver ’12, J70 bronze ’14)
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