Clare Francis

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This article is about the author. For the critic of scientific publications, see Clare Francis (science critic).
Clare Francis at a book signing in 2008.

Clare Mary Francis MBE (born 17 April 1946) is a British novelist who is also known for her former career as a yachtswoman.

She was born in Thames Ditton in 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.[1]

In 1973, after working in marketing for three years, she took leave to sail singlehandedly across the Atlantic, departing from Falmouth in Cornwall and arriving, 37 days later, at Newport, Rhode Island.[2] Following this, she received sponsorship to take part in the 1974 Round Britain Race with Eve Bonham. They finished in third place. In 1975, she took part in the Azores and Back and the L'Aurore singlehanded races; and, in 1976, she competed in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in her ohlson Ohlson 38 yacht Robertson's Golly, finishing thirteenth overall and setting a new women's single-handed transatlantic record. She also took part in that year's L'Aurore singlehanded race. During 1977 and 1978, she became the first woman to skipper a yacht in the Whitbread Round the World Race, finishing in fifth place in her Swan 65 ADC Accutrac.[3]

After writing three accounts of her experiences while sailing, she turned to fiction and is the author of eight international best-sellers.[4]

Francis suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and is a trustee of the UK charity Action for ME.[5]



  • Night Sky (1983)
  • Red Crystal (1985)
  • Wolf Winter (1987)
  • Requiem (1989)
  • The Killing Winds (1992)
  • Deceit (1993)
  • Betrayal (1995)
  • A Dark Devotion (1997)
  • Keep Me Close (1999)
  • A Death Divided (2001)
  • Homeland (2003)
  • Unforgotten (2008)


  • Woman Alone (1977)
  • Come Hell or High Water (1977)
  • Come Wind or Weather (1978)
  • The Commanding Sea (1981)

As editor[edit]

  • A Feast of Stories (1996 anthology; co-edited)


External links[edit]