Richard Clarke is one of Canada’s most experienced Olympic Class, keelboat and offshore racers. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Clarke excelled in Finn sailing. He represented Canada in the Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy discipline and sailed a Finn at the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. During the decade and a half that Clarke sailed Finns, he attained the ISAF #1 world ranking and he was on the podium countless times, including winning a silver and two bronze medals at the 2004, 1994 and 1999 Finn Gold Cup regattas, respectively. He also won a gold medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games in the Finn.
Clarke carried the athleticism and tactical savvy gained from his Finn sailing with him to keelboat racing. He has been helmsman, tactician or trimmer for world championship keelboat and offshore teams including the 2003 and 2009 Melges 24 world championship team, the 2001/02 Volvo Ocean Race as the helmsman/trimmer for illbruck and the 2003 Daimler Transatlantic Race. Other feathers in his offshore racing cap include winning the 2003 Transpac Barn Door Trophy for the overall corrected time and setting a double-handed record with Philippe Kahn during the 2007 Transpac. The pair also was the first to finish and the overall winner of the 2008 Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii.
Clarke was the Canadian Yachting Association Male Athlete of the Year in 1993, and won the coveted Rolex Sailor of the Year Award in 1999. He won the Gerry Roufs Trophy in 2002 for achievement in international Offshore Racing. He was recognized as the British Columbia Sailor of the Year in 2010.
The most recent chapter in Clarke’s sailing chronicles has barely just begun. At the end of 2009, he teamed up with Canadian Sailing Team member, Tyler Bjorn in the Star. Sailing a chartered PStar in their first regatta together, they were second in the 2009 Star North Americans. Some may have attributed the win to beginner’s luck, but that theory was disproved at the Bacardi Cup where they finished fourth in an 84-boat fleet. With Bjorn tuning the boat and pulling a lot of the strings, the newlyweds went to Nassau where the wind blew like stink and Montagu Bay was frothy throughout the warm up event and the Star Western Hemispheres. To go with their victory, Clarke and Bjorn won their first silver star. The momentum carried over to Europe where they were the early leaders of the 2010 European Championship, the largest Star regatta in history. In the end, they were third on count back in a very light air regatta.
Clarke has done a phenomenal job juggling family, Olympic Class and big boat sailing. He is helmsman on the Southern Cross 52, Vela Veloce, winner of the 2010 Rolex US-IRC National Championship. He manages and skippers the Wind Athletes Canada Open 60 program, O Canada. He is tactician on Mayhem, the Canadian TP52 and he is doing a formidable Star campaign and enjoying time on land with his family on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.
Clarke comes from a seafaring stock. His great grandfather ran grain on a tall ship between the UK and Australia and rounded the Horn many times. Both of his grandfathers died at sea – his father’s father was killed on a PT boat off the coast of the UK during WWII and his mother’s father died in a sailing race on the west coast of the UK. His parents met while sailing at the University of London. His father sailed a Finn in the 1972 Olympics, and was on the same team as Peter Bjorn, Tyler’s father. It should come as no surprise that Clarke met his wife, Andria while sailing in Victoria. They were married on a Santa Cruz 70 off the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
Plus successful campaigns in TP 52, Farr 40, Melges32, Mumm/Farr30.