Former cadet Nikki Henderson will be the youngest skipper in Clipper Race history when she sets sail this August.
The 23-year-old, who will lead a team in the 40,000-nautical-mile Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, spoke to Sea Cadets about the challenge ahead.
Life at sea runs in Nikki's family. Her family are keen sailors, while one of her uncles is in the Merchant Navy. Nikki herself even considered a career in the Royal Navy at one point.
"I was involved with cadets for about a year," she said. "I enjoyed the fact that everyone was equal. Everyone is on a level playing field. Everyone gets to do everything.
"I enjoyed getting outdoors and seeing something different. It's so exciting to see a different side of life; when you're at school, it's so academic."
Born on 26 July 1993, Nikki will have just turned 24 when the race gets under way, taking the record of youngest skipper from recent Vendee Globe runner-up Alex Thomson, who won the 1997-98 Clipper Race, aged 26.
"I have always enjoyed showing people that it doesn't matter what your background is, what your age is, what sex you are," said Nikki, of Guildford, Surrey.
"I'm excited about leading by example and showing that you can go for it, and you can achieve it.
"It's exciting, and a big step in my career. I'm really looking forward to getting going."
Speaking about what lies ahead, she admitted: "It's a big challenge. I'm young, so that may be an advantage for me, as I don't have a huge number of ties back home."
Of the 12 selected skippers, Nikki is one of two females, the other being Wendy Tuck, 52, from Australia, who also competed in the last edition of the Clipper Race.
The 11-month challenge starts with a race across the Atlantic to South America, followed by the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Western Australia; around to East Australia taking in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race en route; back into the Northern Hemisphere to Qingdao, China via Sanya; across the mighty North Pacific to West Coast USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; and then a final Atlantic crossing before arriving back to the UK in summer 2018.