Clare Mary Francis MBE (born 17 April 1946) is a British novelist also known for her former career as a yachtswoman.
Clare Francis was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, and spent summer holidays on the Isle of Wight, where she learnt to sail. She was educated at the Royal Ballet School then gained a degree in economics at University College London.
After working in marketing for three years, in 1973 she took time out to make a single-handed voyage across the Atlantic, making the crossing from Falmouth to Newport, Rhode Island, in 37 days. Following this she received sponsorship to take part in the 1974 Round Britain Race with yachtswoman Eve Bonham, finishing in 3rd place. She followed that with the Azores and Back Singlehanded Race, and L'Aurore Singlehanded Race in 1975. In 1976 she competed in her Ohlson 38 Robertson's Golly in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, finishing 13th overall and setting a new women's single-handed transatlantic record. In 1976 she took part again in L'Aurore Singlehanded Race. In 1977—78 she was the first woman skipper in the Whitbread Round the World Race, finishing in 5th place.
After writing three accounts of her sailing expeditions she turned to fiction, and is the author of eight international bestsellers. Clare Francis
She suffers from Chronic fatigue syndrome and is a trustee of the UK charity Action for ME. Action for M.E