How do you reward employees? A weekend of racing through big conditions in the Solent!

Clipper Events once again hosted JP Morgan for the highly anticipated Round the Island Race, which took place on the very breezy weekend of 15-16 June.

For many years, JP Morgan, one of the world’s largest financial companies, has worked with Clipper Events to reward its employees for their hard work and recognise their success by organising a bespoke weekend of sailing with the Round the Island Race as the highlight.

Regularly attracting over 1,000 yachts, the Round the Island Race is one of the largest sailing races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.

Year on year, JP Morgan primarily uses the event as a unique form of employee recognition, where the company’s staff are selected for the event based upon going above and beyond their role. Participating in the Round the Island Race event with Clipper Events is not only a memorable way for employees from across JP Morgan’s offices to be rewarded for their work, it also encourages personal development, as they step out of their comfort zone the unique environment provides a platform for building relationships with employees from different offices.

On Friday 14 June, 84 participants from across the JP Morgan company arrived in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, set to spend a weekend sailing on board the fleet of Clipper 68 ocean racing yachts. The weekend featured a day of preparation and training, followed by race day, competing in the classic Round the Island Race, a world-famous race around the Isle of Wight.

















JP Morgan employees were split across seven teams, each led by professional Clipper Ventures Skipper, First and Second Mate, who have a huge amount of sailing and racing experience. The lineup of staff included round the world Clipper Race Skippers such as Guy Waites, the Skipper and Mate of famed all-women sailing yacht Maiden, Heather Thomas and Rachel Burgess, that recently won the Ocean Globe Race, and a number of accomplished Clipper Ventures Training Skippers and Mates.

A hearty breakfast and introduction to the weekend’s events at All Bar One kicked off the weekend on Saturday, with opening remarks from Cy Lloyd-Jones, JP Morgan Executive Director and the Clipper Events organising and sailing staff.

















Once the crew were introduced to their Skipper and Mates, it was time for a day of training.  In their teams they sailed over to Cowes on the Isle of Wight, giving those on board, most of whom had never sailed before, the chance to familiarise themselves with the yacht and learn the key manoeuvres used during the race.

Following sundowners, in the lovely south-coast sunshine, to reflect on the day’s sailing and race ahead, it was time to swap the foulies for some formal gear and head to the Island Sailing Club in Cowes for a celebratory dinner, and an auction which raised a massive £7,000 for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Clipper Events donated a range of prizes to the auction, including a voucher from Hamble School of Yachting, a copy of Sir Robin’s autobiography ‘Running Free’ (which will be signed with a personal message), and a selection of the Oarsome Chance sailcloth bags.

Speaking after the first day’s training, JP Morgan employee Drew said: “We’ve been sailing around the Solent for a few hours. It’s been a fantastic time, we’ve learnt a lot and it’s been an exhilarating journey and I’m loving the idea of tomorrow! The weather isn’t looking great but hopefully there will be a lot of wind which should be exciting.”

The Solent served up some of the most challenging conditions for this year’s Round the Island Race, with winds upwards of 50 knots, and a sea state that could rival some of the ocean crossings of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. From the start line, where the seven teams lined up alongside hundreds of yachts, all of the clients got stuck in, with plenty of manoeuvres as they navigated the racecourse.

The breezy conditions provided opportunities for fast sailing, but also meant it was one of the toughest Round Island Races in recent history.  As the yachts rounded the Isle of Wight, the first team in the Clipper Class was over the Finish Line in 06 hours 42 minutes and 57 seconds. A record time for any Clipper Race yacht in the Round the Island Race! The record-breaking team on CV11 SKIRR2, led by Jake Carter, Rachel Burgess and Rhiannon Massey claimed the win and collected the coveted ‘Vaphio Cup.’ With some close finishes between the teams, it was an exciting end to the race, with the remainder of the boats crossing the line and arriving in Cowes ready to celebrate.















JP Morgan employee Drew commented: “It was great fun! When we started it was nice and sunny, and then five minutes in, we had loads of rain and wind as we came down to the north west of the island it was very stormy. All in all it was great fun! I’d 100% do it again.”

Cy Lloyd Jones, Executive Director at JP Morgan said: “This weekend was simply phenomenal. In the 17 years that I have done the Round the Island Race, those were the toughest conditions I’ve ever seen! The fact that most JP Morgan employees had only sailed for half a day before taking part is unbelievable.”

Addressing the participants at Prizegiving, he said: “You are all exceptional, and it really is testament to the people we hire at JP Morgan.”

















Tom Myatt, Clipper Events Business and Events Manager reported on the race: “What a race this turned out to be, and what a way to get out of the office!

“The success of the day is testament to the boats and fantastic sailing staff who showed incredible seamanship, leadership and did it all with a huge smile. All 84 Clipper Events clients disembarked at Gunwharf Quays on Sunday morning with a smile, and saying what an experience it was.

“We look forward to welcoming JP Morgan back next year!”

Sailing is one of the most unique experiences for a team-building day, personal development, or simply to provide a memorable day (or weekend) to reward your staff for their hard work. If you are a company looking to put on a development day for your team, or simply reward your employees for their hard work, get in touch with Clipper Events via our website or reach out direct to Tom Myatt at [email protected].