Opinion: Clipper Race a “Sporting Cult?”

The Clipper Race changes lives–but at what cost?

Joining the Clipper Race is a serious step that leads a novice or wanna-be sailor on a long, very expensive path away from family and friends into an isolated world full of like-minded people all dedicated to the this life-changing experience. This requires several training classes onshore and on the water, and up to 10 months racing around the world on a 70′ yacht. Many crew members have never been on a yacht in their lives and must commit to paying around $10,000 for one leg or $75,000 for the entire race.

This sounds and looks like a cult to me!

So I looked around the web and found an “ethical contract” used by the medical profession that has been re-purposed into a mock contract for cult membership. It is used as a teaching tool for cult survivors, and I have re-written it to create a contract for participants in the Clipper Race.

Judge for yourself….

Contract for Membership in the Clipper Race

I, ____________ hereby agree to join THE CLIPPER RACE.

I know what I am doing and agree to all of the conditions:

  1. I understand that my life will be changed personally and financially by my participation in the Clipper Race.
  2. I agree to ignore my own needs and goals as I learn to sail a Clipper yacht and become a Clipper crew.
  3. My clothing, personal appearance and diet will all be dictated by the Clipper organization.
  4. My total mental attention will focus on learning the skills, language and rules of the Clipper race.
  5. My family and friends will be neglected as I spend more time and money on training and race legs.
  6. I will accept and cherish the skipper’s opinions and skills more than my own.
  7. My self-esteem will depend on my relations with the crew, the skipper, and the Clipper management.
  8. My fear of rejection will determine what I say or do on board a Clipper yacht.
  9. While at sea, I waive my right to maintain contact with the outside world.
  10. In port, I will follow the directions of the organization by attending official events and staying with the group.

Now you can decide if this a joke, satire, or a skeptical opinion piece. I look forward to your comments…….

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