In June, Clipper Events welcomed 84 employees from JP Morgan, a global leader in financial services, to race seven of its Clipper 68 yachts in Round the Island Race (RTIR) – an iconic one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight.
With some 1,400 yacht entries, Round the Island Race is one of the largest yacht 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.
For JP Morgan, Clipper Events’ turnkey solution provided the perfect platform to offer employee recognition rewards, open up networking and development opportunities and to raise funds for charity.
JP Morgan Executive Director, Cy Lloyd Jones, “The sailing was competitive, challenging and fun, exactly what we wanted. Everyone was encouraged to get involved. We had employees on the helm at key stages of the race and proactively changed sails where the conditions dictated. All the crews arrived back after the race buzzing with excitement.
“With Clipper Events yachts having the capability to hold 12 people on board, they create a fantastic environment for team building that you don’t achieve with smaller boats. The Clipper 68 yachts are great for novices, requiring crew to perform a variety of tasks that support people with varying levels of ability and experience, making it a very inclusive activity. Clipper Events is very professional. The sailing team is highly experienced and the events team provides a great service.”
JP Morgan was keen to use the event primarily as a unique and memorable form of employee recognition. Crew members were selected by senior staff based upon their performance above and beyond their day to day work, including helping out in office and with community schemes and other activities that can otherwise go unrewarded.
Networking and Development
The Clipper Events fleet of racing yachts are hands-on, stripped out racing machines that require collaborative teamwork and strong leadership to achieve the best results on the water. This gave JP Morgan the opportunity to add an element of junior talent development to the weekend, to build coordination and management skills.
Sailing the Clipper Events yachts is also a real leveller, where there is no discrimination between job roles, hierarchies or backgrounds. This allowed JP Morgan to also use the weekend for inter-business networking amongst employees from different locations and business functions.
The Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust is the official charity of Round the Island Race and JPMorgan has had a long tradition of supporting the charity in this event, having raised over £300,000 for them over the past 14 years. It was important therefore, to continue a fundraising element to the event.
Clipper Events’ turnkey solution
Clipper Events’ designed a bespoke programme for the JP Morgan Recognition event, providing a package of on-and-off the water activities that met the business requirements and spanned the Round the Island weekend from 24 – 26 June 2022.
Arriving on Friday morning, the teams were decided then allocated to one of seven identical Clipper 68 racing yachts, with 21 professional Clipper Events sailing staff. Crew briefings followed, before each team headed out on the water for basic training and sailing practice.
Later in the day, the teams arrived in Cowes, Isle of Wight – a famous yachting haven in itself and a town buzzing with anticipation for the weekend’s race – for an evening networking dinner and charity auction at RTIR organisers, the Island Sailing Club.
Cy Lloyd Jones, JP Morgan Executive Director, said: “We raised an impressive £6000 for the (Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust) charity by holding a raffle and auction at the Friday night dinner. This will be used to take eight young people, who have suffered from cancer and other life changing diseases, sailing for a week. Whilst the event is employee recognition driven, it is a wonderful additional outcome of this event.”
Saturday saw the teams up early and ready to race. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the teams slipped their lines at 05:30 to set off on the 55 nautical mile route westbound, to The Needles, round St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes. It was an impressive year, with the Clipper 68 class winners managing to hold the third fastest time in the history of the Clipper 68 fleet at RTIR.
The teams raced the Clipper 68s, which are robust racing machines designed to handle the toughest of conditions and with plenty of hands-on opportunities for crew members to get involved.
The competition was tough on the water and after nearly 9 hours of racing, just 18 minutes separated the JP Morgan teams. Once back on dry land, it was time for celebrations at the race village in Cowes where there was much chatter of tactics, tales from the water and celebrations for all that was achieved.
Celebrations continued on Sunday morning with breakfast, prizegiving and awards given out on deck. Afterwards, the crews headed back out on the water to put their new skills to use sailing back to Portsmouth Harbour and departing in the afternoon.
Reflecting on the experience Cy said: “It is just a phenomenal team building environment. Employees returned to the office lauding to their management about the experience. The whole event acts as a real motivator not only for the team members that attended this year, but to their colleagues who are keen to be selected for future events.
“Clipper Events has been outstanding, very pragmatic in volatile times, always professional, and all throughout with a sense of humour. Nothing was an issue. All of the yachting staff were very professional and the feedback was wholly positive from all the crews. I was on board with Greg Miller on CV8 (Tenacious). He and his team were exemplary, making sure everyone got involved. We had JP Morgan employees on the helm the entire race, from start to finish, and everyone rotated around. There was a healthy level of competitiveness on the boat. I look forward to a continued great partnership between JPMorgan and Clipper Ventures.”
Clipper Events combines access to record-breaking offshore racing yachts with proven, highly experienced professional skippers and crew for industry leading sailing race events, team development and corporate sailing hospitality.