We happened to be visiting family in Liverpool in August 2017 and I saw on Facebook that there were yachts in the Albert Dock, preparing to set sail on a round the world yacht race. I suggested to my family that we could go along that Saturday and take a look.
As we walked along the dock looking at the fleet of boats, I got chatting to one of the crew members – who I later found out was called Chrissie. It turned out she had never sailed big boats before, but had heard about the Clipper Race during a visit to the London Boat Show. Having undertaken the full training, she was going to be sailing a couple of legs of the 2017-18 race. I mentioned to my teenage daughter that one day she could do this race (she’d had previously loved sailing with Sea Scouts).
Chrissie went on to tell me that her team was ‘Visit Seattle’ and their Skipper was the 24 year old English woman, Nikki Henderson.
“Great, I’ll follow you and see how you get on” I said.
The race started on Sunday 20th August 2017 and I watched it on Facebook. I then started following the Race Viewer on the Clipper Race website to see how ‘Visit Seattle’ were doing. In addition, my lunch breaks were taken up reading the daily blogs from the skippers and crew.
After 6 weeks or so I mentioned to Mike, my husband, how it looked amazing; and how I’d love to do something like that.
“Go for it!” he replied.
“No, it’s too expensive and I’ll never get a place”, was my rather cautious response.
Nevertheless, with Mike’s encouragement I sent off my application form. To my delight I was offered an interview at the Clipper Race HQ in Gosport. Della, who interviewed me, had done the race previously and told us all what we could expect – the good and the bad. It was pretty surreal to take a tour around one of the training boats!
You can’t imagine my excitement on the 4th December 2017, when I received the email saying my application had been successful.
I’d got a place on the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race.
So here we are, 20 months later. I’ve completed 3 weeks of training so far (more of which in other blogs to come) and have wholeheartedly loved every second of it.
I’ve met some amazing and truly inspiring people from all corners of the world. Although it is fair to say my family are extremely bored of me talking about Clipper, with over 12 months still to go until I sail my leg. Much to their dismay, we also had to cook on our camping stove for 6 months; because I’d spent the money for our new (much needed) kitchen on sailing. Needs must!
As I write this, we’re only 3 weeks away from Crew Allocation – an important event in the build up to the race starting later this year. Crew allocation reveals the team you will sail for, as well as who your skipper is. So, with that date in my calendar, suddenly the Clipper Race is feeling more like reality as the race draws closer. The prospect of this is equally terrifying and exciting, as I prepare for the Race of My Life.