Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.

I have just returned from Team Punta del Este’s team-building weekend in West Sussex. This is a big event in the pre-race calendar as it’s the only time the team gets to all be together. I say this, but we were not actually the full team, probably just over 55% of the team was present, due to the cost of international flights and competing work and family commitments for some crew.

It was a relaxed weekend that involved doing things we’ll never get to do together on the race; relaxing, sitting by a campfire, drinking too much and having a BBQ. Although the standard of our accommodation wasn’t dissimilar to living standards on board CV25 (otherwise known as Punta del Este); narrow bunks, shared toilet facilities, poor plumbing, shared catering and limited utensils and food!

This was a good opportunity to test our team spirit, but also get to know one another away from the regimentation and demands of life aboard CV25 when ocean racing. Unlike other teams, we deliberately wanted a cheap weekend so that it was as inclusive as possible for all crew to attend, since we have a number of students and people with limited incomes on our team (I count myself in this) so we didn’t want a flashy, corporate team-building weekend, nor hotel accommodation. We also wanted the location to be cheap and easy to get to for the many crew flying into the UK from overseas. Gaveston Hall fitted the bill perfectly. Aside from the Isle of Wright Island Bakeries Cricket Club who were on tour playing a local team, we had the place to ourselves and took full advantage of the indoor pool and slack line course in the woods.

Slack-lining proved to be a good test of our core stability; a requirement of life onboard a racing yacht.
Absolutely nothing like the last time we all met in the pool for our RYA sea survival training!

Luckily the sun shone on the Saturday so our intentions of having a BBQ and sitting around a camp fire were not sabotaged by British weather either. We all just enjoyed being together and getting to know each other in an informal and unstructured way and recognising the preciousness of being together when the reality is that very few of us will be sailing together at any one time. It will only be those crew who are doing the full eleven month circumnavigation (the ‘Round-the-Worlders’ or RTWs as they’re referred to by Clipper) and our Skipper and Mate who will get to know the full Punta del Este team.

Our Skipper making all his crew his family’s tried and tested Sangria recipe!
But it didn’t last long!
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Our Mate, Ryan (on the RHS), helping Vincent wash up after the BBQ.
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Luckily the rain held off for our BBQ and camp fire.

Not only does this video made by my team mate, Steven Smith, capture the spirit of our team-building weekend, but it also discloses our official team song! …Do you know what it is?

This was the most popular tune which we finally voted on during the team-building weekend after months of indecision and many, many song suggestions. I think fellow crew voted for it because it’s sung in Spanish so honour’s our Spanish Skipper’s native language and the chorus captures something of the spirit of adventure and challenge that we’ve all embarked upon by being race crew in the Clipper Race; “I’m going to laugh. I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to live my life”. It’s an upbeat song about seizing life and remaining positive in adversity. Sums up our motivations for doing the Clipper Race for all of us in a nut shell!

If you meet us at the finish line of races or attend the podium awards at the end of each leg (which we’re hoping to bag all the way around the world!) then you’ll be hearing a lot of this song. So you better get learning it in Spanish to show your support for Team Punta del Este! 😉

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