For those “who paint their lives in bright colours, not pastel shades” all was (finally) revealed at Crew Allocation.

[Drum roll please]

…After two years training in the dark I now know my team!

I’ll be representing Uruguay in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2019/20 under command of a Spanish Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez. This is Jeronimo’s debut in the race and also Clipper’s 1st Spanish Race Skipper, as well as being Uruguay’s debut into the race sponsoring a yacht – Punta del Este. All these debuts mirror my own into sailing and certainly amuse me.

I love the sentiment from the Commodore of Yacht Club Punta del Este to the team: “Prepare yourselves for the challenge, be a good companion, help each other, do your best to win, and enjoy – because, after all, that is why we are alive.” Wise words and they certainly match my own values and hopes in this race of my life.

Now it’s time to learn some Spanish (in addition to learning how to sail) and for all 64 crew to pull together as a team, despite hailing from 14 different countries, and decide on a team song – for our podium wins of course! 😉

Punta del Este team stats

To see all the crew racing aboard Punta del este see:

My ‘official’ ugly mug for ‘Team Jeronimo’!
I don’t like seeing myself without my glasses. I have worn glasses since I was a child and didn’t like being asked to remove them by the official photographer; only immigration officials have requested that from me up until now!

I can’t even begin to describe the expectant atmosphere in the Guildhall at Portsmouth and how much my heart was in my mouth at this point! All 11 Race Skippers were individually brought up on stage before each took to the microphone to announce their crew.

This was my first impression of my Skipper as he was invited up on stage to take his seat beside the other Race Skippers; he was animated, cheerful and quite the showman!

Jeronimo announcing his crew.

After the official Crew Allocation announcements we all separated into our racing teams, so Jeronimo and Team Punta del Este’s Mate, a laid-back Canadian, Ryan Barkey, took us into the Council Chamber in the Guildhall to spend 4 hours getting to know each other and start to develop our team mission, values and identity. It was a very significant few hours and the beginning of our race campaign!

Ryan Barkey, our team’s Mate (Additionally Qualified Person), has spent the last six years in the sailing industry since moving from Ontario, Canada, to South Africa to acquire his Yachtmaster licence. Since then he has racked up in excess of 30,000 nautical miles and most recently has been based in Airlie Beach, Australia, as skipper and engineer for ex-maxi racing yacht, British Defender
My own significant moment with my Skipper; this time next year I’ll have already spent 2 weeks at sea in the Pacific sailing with him and my fellow team mates! I like him already. We can count Aberdeen university, Galicia, Hastings and a love of dancing among our shared connections. I think I might have met my match on the party front though!

We ended this momentous day by all the crew from across all 11 teams gathering outside the Guildhall in Portsmouth for an official photograph.

I really hope I do!
Here I am at the helm of CV25 moored at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth during Crew Allocation. It turns out CV25 will be the very yacht I race/live aboard next year! In a few weeks she’ll get her Punta del Este sponsor’s branding…In 50 weeks time I will be helming her for REAL!!!!
Looking tired but thoughtful as I process all the news and adrenaline from Crew Allocation day. The sun sets not only on me sat here, but on the beginning of a team I already know I’m going to love and be proud to represent in the race of my life.

Although for me the big news of the day was finding out which team and skipper I had been assigned to, so that I could develop my own team spirit, another crucial bit of information all crew and their supporters were waiting for was when the race would actually start and from where. I can now announce that St. Katharine Docks in London will be the location for the official race start and end.

The eleven strong fleet of 70 foot ocean racing yachts will be berthed in the docks’ Centre Basin for a week-long event from 24 August 2019, before they depart for their 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation on 1 September 2019.  This means you can all expect to see me and my team sail home into the docks in early August 2020; I really hope to see you there cheering us in.

A BIG day tomorrow: Crew Allocation

This time tomorrow I will be one of around 700 expectant crew gathered from around the world in the Guildhall at Portsmouth to hear the news I have been waiting for since I applied to this race 22 months ago…which Skipper, yacht and team I have been assigned to, as well as which ports we will visit during the race and when the race might actually be scheduled to start. All key information, which once we are informed, will make this race very, very real …and exciting! I could hardly sleep last night for the anticipation.

Last night’s race prep/homework ready to meet my Skipper, Mate and fellow team at Crew Allocation in Portsmouth this weekend.

As I head off to Portsmouth later today I will be reflecting on my responses to the questions we are required to address prior to meeting our team tomorrow. Big questions that ask each crew member to articulate their fears, expectations, measures of success and motivations for their part in the ocean race, so that each Skipper can begin developing their team’s race campaign tomorrow afternoon. I noted that 99% of my personal responses to my fears and anxieties about the race, my personal objectives, measures of success in the race and expectations of myself and others all focused on the relational, interpersonal aspects of ocean racing. I wonder what that say’s about me? I also noted that right now, in the lead up to the race, being on the winning team would be a bonus, because I value good team spirit and crew relations on board more than winning. Tomorrow I might be challenged on that by my Skipper and fellow team mates and my values may change as the race campaign gathers momentum…only time will tell!

Crew Allocation for the previous edition of the race.

For anyone reading this living in the vicinity of Portsmouth, there will be two Clipper 70 racing yachts moored at Gunwharf Quays so that anyone can step aboard and see for themselves what life aboard will be like for the race crew.

Bring your friends and family to tour above and below deck. See what a stripped-out 70 foot ocean racing yacht is like and imagine life at a 40º angle. It’s free to tour, but donations are welcome in aid of Unicef. You can tour the yachts at these times: Saturday 11 May 1000-1900 and Sunday 12 May 1000-1700. Remember to wear flat shoes though!

A Clipper 70 as viewed from the top of the mast.