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News > Alumnae News > Maisie Bristow - racing yachts around the world

Maisie Bristow - racing yachts around the world

19 Jan 2023
Alumnae News
aisie on the left, helming her yacht across the North Pacific
aisie on the left, helming her yacht across the North Pacific

Maisie Bristow, who left SWPS in 2019 after her GCSEs is following her dream to race ocean going yachts around the world. 

Maisie’s passion for sailing started young, having been introduced to the sport by her dad when she was eight. Joining a local sailing club, Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club (IBRSC), she started sailing a single-handed dinghy called a Topper. As her skills grew, she was selected to join the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training squad – which saw her travel all over the UK training and competing in national and international events. Having qualified as an RYA dinghy instructor, Maisie taught at both her sailing club and at Woking Sea Cadets, continuing to build on her skills as a sailor and as an instructor whilst at school. 


Maisie was awarded her professional RYA Yacht Master qualification in February 2022, after completing her A-levels at Godalming College. A month later, Maisie was selected to join the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - ‘One of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other’. The Clipper Race had been postponed for two years due to COVID and all the competing boats had stopped in the Philippines. Maisie flew out to join the 70-foot Ocean racing yacht called ‘Dare to Lead’ as one of three professional sailors, sailing with thirteen amateur crew, competing in a race across the North Pacific from the Philippines to Seattle in the United States. 


At the end of this leg, Maisie was promoted to Additional Qualified Person (2nd in command) on a different yacht, ‘Qingdao’, sailing down the west coast of the USA, through the Panama Canal and continuing to Bermuda. She sailed from New York on her third boat ‘’Ha Long Bay’, finally crossing the Atlantic to Derry, Northern Island, crossing north of Scotland and ending up back in London at the end of July 2022. 


“Maisie has been selected for this (AQP) leadership position as she showed a high level of skill and excellence on the race across the North Pacific. During this tough crossing, which resulted in the longest race in the Clipper Race history, Maisie excelled and supported her Skipper and AQP, proving to be a very accomplished sailor. We have several young skippers and AQPs at the Clipper Race who have gone on to great things in the sailing industry and we recognise Maisie as having the potential to do the same” - Mark Light, Clipper Race Director.


During her three legs of the Race, Maisie spent over 100 days at sea, experienced wind conditions from 0 to over 50 miles per hour, with waves up to 14 metres and saw some amazing wildlife including whales, dolphins and flying fish.


Maisie is currently working for Clipper in Gosport, refitting the yachts ready for the start of the 2023-24 global race - which she aims to be part of! 


Some former and current parents of SWPS pupils spent a weekend last September being put through their paces by Maisie before winning the inaugural Knox Johnston Cup race around the Isle of Wight in one of 16 70-foot ocean going yachts.


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