Just grabbing an hour between unpacking from Poole Harbour boat show and re-packing for my Level 4 Clipper Race training, in order to tell you about an inspiring person I met at the boat show over the weekend; Pip Hare.
In November 2020, Pip will be racing around the world, non-stop and single handed in the Vendee Globe Race. That’s the same race that the likes of Ellen MacArthur and Dee Caffari have also competed in. Pip’s racing yacht was moored alongside Ocean Youth Trust’s boat, Prolific – they couldn’t have been two more contrasting ocean-going vessels in many ways!
When I stepped aboard Pip’s ocean racing yacht, I was immediately blown-away by it’s simplicity. These photos I took do not do justice to quite how bare and stripped out her yacht is and, therefore, how mentally and emotionally challenging her race will be for her, as there’s no allowance for comforts. Seeing Pip’s yacht is the only time I have thought the Clipper 70s are luxurious (relatively speaking).
Given I will have shortly returned from my own inaugural ocean racing experience, I will be fully-supporting and following Pip as she heads off next November. Where for me, one of the challenges of the Clipper RTW Race will be living in cramped conditions with others (i.e. no privacy), her challenge will be the opposite; almost too much privacy with very little interaction with other people. I am in awe of what she’s embarking upon.
At first I was really excited, finally, after months of waiting, to find out who they were…and then after about 5 minutes, it sunk in that they were all white men! I felt deeply disappointed, as I honestly thought there might be a woman or two in the line-up; especially given the successes of Wendy Tuck and Nikki Henderson in the previous edition of the race and with Tracey Edwards’s film ‘Maiden‘ released just over two week’s ago, which celebrates and promotes women in ocean racing.
Whilst I congratulate all those who have succeeded in becoming the next Race Skippers – I can’t fault Mark Burkes as he was my Skipper during my Level 2 training last August – I do ask myself why women did not apply this year (according to Clipper they did not)? What factors discouraged them?
I for one, was really keen to race under a female Skipper, so I feel disappointed by the announcement, but now I know who the eleven Race skippers are, I guess I should just focus on them and their credentials and time will reveal soon enough who I am to crew under.