Crew Brief – The race count down becomes official!

On Saturday 19th January, Dave and I headed off to London to meet Race Crew and their family and friends (Race Supporters) from around the world. We were all gathered for our first official Clipper 2019-20 Race event – Crew Brief – at Lord’s Nursery cricket ground. Whilst I was extremely pensive, as this gathering marked the official count down to the start of the race in 7 months’ time, Dave was very pleased to be at the home of cricket and was eager to see the iconic cricket commentator’s box. Sailing legends like Sir Robin inspire and fuel my dreams, but for Dave, it is legendary cricketers and commentators who he regards as his heroes and inspiration. Happy coincidence then that this event was at Lord’s. Little did Clipper Race Officials realise that they had helped me get Dave fully on board as a Race Supporter by hosting their first official Clipper 2019-20 Race event there!

The iconic location for my first Clipper Race event; where cricket and Clipper collide!

Over 240 Race Crew and 150 Race Crew Supporters were in attendance, including plenty of lovely fellow crew who I’d already had the pleasure of getting to know during my Level 1 and Level 2 training on the Solent in 2018. We all came away feeling reassured and rejuvenated by the collective camaraderie, and certain feeling that our lives were about to change forever as a result of becoming Clipper Race Crew. There was palpable excitement that it was all becoming real: especially when those 240 Race Crew present, myself included, had to queue to get our photograph taken for the Clipper Race website and collect our first item of Race Crew clothing – a Musto softshell jacket with the 2019-20 edition of the race emblazoned on it. A reminder that this will not only be my first ever sailing race, but the race of my life!

All smiles in my first bit of official race kit – a Musto softshell jacket.
Getting my photograph taken for the Clipper Race website; another milestone on the journey!

A cheeky pic with Sir Robin and meeting up again with the Race Crew I have already trained with was the perfect end to a big, epic day in my life. The starting gun has been fired in many ways. Excitement and focus now reign!

Happy to be in the company of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and a fellow ‘legger’ I first met when we were both starting out on our Clipper Race training at Gosport marina in March 2018. She’s quickly becoming a dear friend in this ocean adventure!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.

Izaak Walton.

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I type this as 2019 has gone from being on my horizon to now being well and truly here! It’s the second week of January, mid-winter has now past, so we can all begin to anticipate the arrival of spring and lighter, warmer days to come. But I am also anticipating what 2019 will actually entail for me. At times it can feel quite overwhelming and sometimes very unreal, but I sense that very soon, it is all going to become VERY real.

Dave and I will head to Lord’s cricket ground (he’s very excited about that!) for our first official Clipper Race event on Saturday 19th January; an all-day Crew Brief where crew in the 2019-20 race will gather with their significant others (Crew Supporters) in much anticipation and excitement. All crew in attendance will get their photograph taken for the Clipper website and get the chance to meet each other… Who knows, we might even find out when exactly the race is due to start this year and from which UK port! There is much speculation among those crew I have already trained with during my Level 1 and Level 2 training weeks in 2018, but only time will tell who won the bet!

At this stage, all I do know for sure is that I am halfway through my Clipper Race training and set to crew in the last two legs of the race, which will take place in Spring/Summer 2020:

Leg 7

West Coast USA to East Coast USA (via the Panama Canal)

Leg 8

East Coast USA to Race Finish at a port in the UK

At this stage in the countdown to ‘Race Start’, Clipper are keeping very quiet as to which port cities of the world my two legs will encompass.

When I first applied for the Clipper Race back in 2017, my ambition had been to crew in the entire race as a Circumnavigator (or RTW’er – “Round the Worlder” – in Clipper Crew parlance), but my medical consultants soon put a stop to that dream (that’s another blog post for another day!).

So here I am, letting the reality of my part as “a legger” sink in and occasionally being amazed I’ve got this far at all!