Luxembourg-born Jack Ridgway, now based in Ireland, is gearing up for an extraordinary adventure - the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

The race kicks off on Thursday 7 March 2024, as Jack meets his boat in Zhuhai, China, before setting sail to Qingdao on 12 March. After arriving in Qingdao on 22nd March, the next leg of the journey commences on 27 March, taking the crew across the vast Pacific Ocean to Seattle, USA. The voyage concludes on 25 April, marking Jack's arrival in Seattle before disembarking on 28 April 2024.

This remarkable journey is not just about sailing; it also aims to raise awareness and funds for charity. Jack has nominated two charities in Luxembourg - the Fondation Cancer and Think Pink, along with the Irish Cancer Society in Ireland and the Our Isles & Oceans charity. His goal is to raise approximately €20,000 to support these causes close to his heart, in memory of his mother. had the opportunity to interview him and learn more about his journey. Please tell us about your inspiration for participating in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and what motivated you to nominate these particular charities.

Jack Ridgway: I found out about the existence of the Clipper Race almost nine years ago, my dad brought me to see a man called Brendan Hall speak. He participated in a previous version of the race as a captain, and wrote a book called Team Spirit: Life and Leadership on One of the World's Toughest Yacht Races. His talk describes his journey with his crew around the world, wins, the hardships and the leadership lessons he learned. The leadership lessons didn't have a massive impact on seventeen-year-old me but the idea of doing something like the Clipper Race stuck. My dad and I both left that talk thinking that was really cool and wouldn't it be amazing to go on some kind of an adventure like that? And that spark sat there collecting dust for a long time, the idea was cool but going about it seemed long and complicated and I was busy going off to university so I had other things to do.

Early into my master's, I re-read the book because reading books about leadership seems like something you should do when you go to business school, right? I enjoyed the story again and I even paid more attention to the leadership lessons the second time around! Towards the end of the master, summer 2021, I got a sponsored post on Instagram from Clipper (so if I thought my phone was spying on me before, now I was totally convinced). I clicked it and I think it was a mix of the wanderlust, the lack of travel during the lockdowns, the misery that is trying to find a job, or just the general sense that I needed to do something totally different, but I didn't really think about it for too long before applying, I definitely didn't think about the realities of ocean sailing before applying, but I did it and got the interview. They have to make sure you're crazy enough to do it but not completely insane; there must be a grey area where people like me live. Only told my dad that I had signed up after I had got the interview invite so there wasn't much discussion or overthinking before I pressed send. What are your links to both Luxembourg and Ireland and how do you feel about representing these two countries on such a global stage as part of this race?
Jack Ridgway: I was born in Luxembourg to Irish parents and spent all my childhood in Luxembourg. I went to Ireland for university, returned to Luxembourg when I graduated and started working, did a master's in Dublin during COVID, returned to Luxembourg and worked part-time after graduation. Got a job in Dublin after a year and have been here since then. I have always had a strong connection to both countries, Ireland is home but Lux is home-home, if that makes any sense. Telling people where I am from always includes both countries, I am not one without the other, so it was only right that I represent both. Sure, it makes the answer to “Where are you from?” a little longer but I've always been proud of that. Please share some insights into the preparation process for this challenging 37-day journey across the Pacific Ocean.
Jack Ridgway: After Clipper decides you're the right kind of crazy, you can start training. The training process is four separate weeks and you have to pass each week before moving on to the next. They have this amazing ability to take anyone, even if you have never sailed before, and over the four weeks, make you into a very capable crew member of a 70-foot ocean racing yacht. Physically preparation has been fairly straightforward: weights at the gym, core and back strength, running and swimming. Climbing probably would have been a good one to have because that's what it feels like when you're below deck on the boat, but I stuck with a fairly simple routine. I've always done a mix of sports and I wasn't going to change that too much. Over the past three years I've done obstacle courses, a triathlon, a half marathon, and a couple of 10 km runs for charity. I like working towards a goal, it makes training [...] I like doing activities that require a mix of skills and different types of fitness. Preparing mentally is a little more difficult. The four weeks of sailing training only give you a taste of the real thing but largely I'm heading into the unknown when it comes to spending that long on a boat in the middle of the ocean. For me, it's all about how I deal with and react to situations. What do you do when you're tired and wet and cold and sore? [...] Once we leave the dock there isn't really any turning back. There are situations where you can run away, and there are situations where you've to just put your head down, dig deep, find your limits and tell those limits "I'm busy, go away". I like the word grit a lot, it's the ability to persevere in the face of challenges. One of the obstacle courses I did isn't timed because they believe it's not about winning or personal bests or one winner everyone else is a loser; it's about a group of people getting together and completing a challenge. That's what this journey is for me, a challenge to overcome. Physically it will be demanding, psychologically [...] it's going to be interesting, and I can't wait! I'm actually looking forward to doing this! I'm starting to understand why I'm the right kind of crazy... What message would you like to convey to the people of Luxembourg and beyond as you embark on this remarkable journey for a charitable cause?
Jack Ridgway: [...] Don't overthink it; if you spend your time just thinking about it, then it'll never happen. Think about it just enough so that you go for it, and the rest will work itself out. My logic is quite simple, I have the opportunity to do something really cool and adventurous and raise money for causes I care about while I do it. I held my mother's hand as she died of cancer at 53, after having had the disease for nine years. [...] People will tell themselves “I'll do this or I'll do that eventually, it's not the right time”. But maybe you won't. Maybe you'll run out of time. So do it anyway, especially if it's something you really want to do. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Where are you currently located and what do you currently do?

Jack Ridgway: I live and work in Dublin as a Development Executive in Organisation Development at Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government's Trade and Development agency. I've been there for a year and a half.

To track Jack's progress and contribute to the cause, visit his GoFundMe page here.

Jack's mother with the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg earned for 30 years of service