A Few BIG Facts
- More people have climbed Everest than have sailed round the world.
- The Clipper race is the world’s longest professional yacht race @ 40,000 miles.
- It is the only race of its kind in the world.
- There are 10 idential 68 foot boats that compete each with a professional skipper and around 18 amature crew.
- There are 8 legs (15 races) with points awarded for winning each one, a bit like the Tour De France – no yellow jerseys though!
- We sail East round the world with the wind and the tides. Hopefully it’s just one big G&T cruise all the way!
- We each do 4 weeks of training before leaving the UK – is that all I hear you cry – yes, but I figure I’ve got a year afloat to learn a bit more.
- The race lasts 11 months.
- 40,000 miles at sea.
- 40% of people (me being one of them!) competing in the Clipper Round the World have never set foot on a boat before.
- Between the crew there are roughly 230 different professions.
- The oldest crew member to compete in the race was 71 and the youngest was 18.
- Average age of crew is 38 years old.
- The fleet repairs approximately three miles of damaged sail during the race.
- In the Southern Ocean there is a place called ‘Point Nemo’, this is the most remote spot on the planet, furthest away from any civilisation. The nearest land is approximately 2,000 miles away. If there was a cosmonaut on the international space station, they would be the closest human to ‘Point Nemo’.
Sir Robin Knox Johnson, the first person to sail around the world solo non-stop in 1969, began the race to give people like me the opportunity to be part of something life changing.
Sir Robin started the Clipper race in 1995. The race holds a strong focus on team building and leadership as we race for months, starting as strangers and becoming a cohesive team with all the ups and downs along the way, having got to know each other; the good, bad and ugly bits, through the toughest conditions most of us will ever have experienced.
And, Why Would I Do Such A Thing?
This excerpt from Della Parsons who did the 09/10 race is a perfect summary of why I can’t wait to do it. I know there will be moments when I hate every minute, everybody and everything and wish I was at home with a glass of wine on the sofa but when you read this I think you’ll agree that those moments will make the other ones more worthwhile………………..
“There should be an official Warning when you sign up to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. It should read “WARNING: Taking part in this amazing challenge could make you seriously unsatisfied with your old life. Only sign on the dotted line if you’re ready for a change!” In fairness it doesn’t affect everyone like that and a (very) few people left their yacht and their dabble with adventure behind, saying that they were very glad to have done it but were looking forward to returning to a life of steady-footed ‘Normality’.
The problem for me is that after spending 11 months on Hull & Humber, surviving the stormy conditions of the (in our race, inappropriately named) Pacific, re-claiming Arthur, our man-overboard back from the clutches of the South Atlantic, and dealing with our start line crash in Cape Town, ‘Normal’ is being on the bow and disappearing under the waves from a force 8 blow, while trying to persuade the Yankee 2 to make way for the Y3. ‘Normal’ is getting out of your bunk, struggling into all your layers at 3am and getting on deck in the dark, in less than 20 minutes. ‘Normal’ is the challenge of getting 7 cups of tea from the galley to the guys on deck, while at a 40° angle, without spilling any – which can often take longer than 20 minutes! ‘Normal’ is Pasta Dudin for lunch on day 3 of our menu rotation and vegetable curry for supper on day 7. ‘Normal’ is the exhilaration you get when at the end of your 4 hour watch you’ve put 2 miles on your lead over your nearest rival and then the sheer dejection when later that day you hit a wind-hole and watch them go sailing past, only 50 metres away. ‘Normal’ is managing to stay dry until 10 minutes before the end of watch, when you then get dunked by a wave and are soaked to the skin. ‘Normal’ is the camaraderie of the crew, the teamwork that means you get a spinnaker down, wrapped and back up in less than 15 minutes, the singing on deck under a night sky of a zillion stars, and the shared frustration when once again the skipper calls for a sail change just as the breakfast porridge is ready!
‘Normal’ is dreaming of a cold beer and a comfy bed a week after you set off from port and then after 2 days back on dry land you can’t wait to get back out to sea again.”