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Mother and daughter from Wrexham set sail in world’s largest ocean race

03 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Mother and daughter, Amanda Shehab and Megan Allpress, who will both be spending the next eleven months circumnavigating the globe together. Photo Jason Bye/

A mother and daughter from Wrexham have set sale as the world’s largest ocean race gets underway.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, features over 700 people representing 55 nationalities sailing on a fleet of 70ft racing yachts.

They depart from Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, on Sunday ready to tackle freezing temperatures and 40-foot waves as well as the blistering heat of the tropics.

Amanda Shehab, 56, from Wrexham, will be competing with her daughter, Megan Allpress, 26, after her husband, who planned to sail around the world with her, died of cancer aged 51.

They are the first mother-daughter duo to sail together on the same boat in the race’s history.

Ms Shehab said it was “fitting” that they were setting sail almost exactly two years to the day of his death.

“I want to think of it as a positive, happy thing.

“We went and saw the clipper race in 2018 in Liverpool.

“I said to him, ‘shall we do it?’

“We then thought we want to sail around the world so we bought our own boat and we were going to do it that way but sadly then he got a brain tumour and he didn’t make it.

“I thought after he’s gone I’ll disintegrate, I don’t know what I’ll do, but then I thought of clipper and I thought, right, I’ll do that.

“I signed up almost immediately after he’d gone.

“We’re so lucky to be able to do this together.”

When Ms Allpress heard her mother had signed up for the challenge, she decided to quit her job as an engineer and join her.

She said: “I just thought, ‘life is short – if you want to do something, do it’.”

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

The Clipper Race was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world in 1968.

The fleet is currently racing 1,200 nautical miles to Puerto Sherry, Spain, a brand new destination on the Clipper Race circuit, ahead of crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The race will also stop at locations including Cape Town, South Africa, Fremantle, Newcastle and Airlie Beach, Australia, Halong Bay, Vietnam, Qingdao and Zhuhai, China, Seattle and Washington DC, before returning to Portsmouth at the end of July, 2024, via Oban, Scotland.

According to the race organisers, 22% of competitors had never sailed before signing up to the challenge, which required them to take part in four intensive stages of training.

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