Round the world mission for Ben

Yacht race: Ben Pate during training
Yacht race: Ben Pate during training
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Ben Pate could never claim to have a boring job.

The top test driver spends much of his time in Spain putting up-market cars through their paces.

But, always keen to find a new challnge, Ben will be leaving it all behind in July and heading for the sea.

The 29-year-old from Memory Close, Freckleton, has signed up for the longest yacht race in the world, and he is hoping to raise £1 for every one of the 40,000 miles he will cover.

The money will go towards Deafness Research UK, a charity close to heart.

He said: “I was diagnosed as being deaf in my right ear when I was about four. I never really gave it much thought until I was told I couldn’t complete a solo flight scholarship with the Air Cadets.”

Ben’s deafness meant he was unable to pursue his chosen career as a pilot in the RAF. But the former Carr Hill High School pupil is not easily discouraged. After training in automotive engineering he now works as a lead development engineer with Jaguar Land Rover.

He showed the same can-do attitude when he committed to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Despite his lack of sailing experience he plunged in with both feet and decided to complete every leg of the 11-month-long journey, which he will make on a 70ft yacht with 20 other crew.

He said: “I’ve never really sailed before, except on those outward bound style courses I used to go on with school.

“But training is provided and I’ve already completed my Clipper Level One qualification.”

Based on his performance in this he was chosen as one of a select few to receive specialist coxon training, which will allow him to take charge if the skipper is ill or injured.

He will also complete the next two levels of his Clipper sailing qualifications, as well as a Day Skipper course, before he leaves.

He said: “It’s been a steep learning curve; now I just want to do the best I can.

“This challenge will truly test my ability to work around my deafness in an environment where hearing or not hearing your crew mates can be the difference between winning or losing.”

Ben is seeking donations for his charity and corporate sponsorship to help offset the £42,000 he has paid for his place on the boat.

To donate go to or email