Crew Changeover Day in Albany

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on Crew Changeover Day in Albany

It is Friday morning on November 27 here in Albany, Western Australia and that means crew joining leg 4 here are due to report to the Race Office today. With that preparations for leg 4 are now starting with all leg 4 crew members, which will include a mandatory refresher sail tomorrow. It’s probably a good idea to remind ourselves on what to do when with these pesky running backstays.

With the exception of two boats, all other teams are in port and working on their boats. Unicef is due within a few hours with ClipperTelemed+ now expected to arrive some time tomorrow evening. Let’s hope that the leg 4 orientation meeting does not get in the way of greeting our team upon arrival.

It’s shopping day for me today… shopping for “boat stuff” that is. I think I’ve tracked down everything on the list, but I guess we’ll find out. However, I am off to the Race Office first…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good Morning from Hong Kong

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on Good Morning from Hong Kong

Just about an hour ago, team LMAX Exchange crossed the finish line in Albany to win leg 3 – congratulations! ClipperTelemed+ on the other hand is not doing so well and I am sure we are all wondering when the boat will arrive for us to get started with leg 4.

My last blog post talked about my personal preparation for the race and the things I had decided to focus on. Besides the need to become physically as strong as possible so that my 5-foot one-inch frame would survive the big boat, I thought that knowledge of Racing Sailtrim and Marine Weather would be beneficial to be able to bring to the team.

Speaking of which… many people supported the preparation for the race and it’s time to acknowledge “my team”, so here we go: I want to thank Michael Gaffney, Toronto for introducing me to the Clipper Race while we were sailing offshore more than two years ago. Essentially this is all his fault :).

Norman Martin and Greg Metcalf were great teachers when I learned everything I needed to become a licensed captain a few years ago. Many of those lessons apply every day were are out on a boat. And yes, I still know the lights and stuff.

Tom Tursi’s team at the Maryland School of Seamanship in Maryland taught me Celestial Navigation while Jack Morton and David Gifford are entirely responsible for the fact that I caught the bluewater bug. Thanks guys!

David Burch and Larry Brandt at StarPath in Seattle patiently helped me get my hands around marine weather, a topic that didn’t come easy to me. I hope they are comforted by the fact that I’ve prepared ClipperTelemed’s weather routing intel for every leg to-date. For the first time I will get to see how it all plays out on the boat as we tackle the All Australian leg.

Bill Gladstone has written one of the best books I’ve ever read about sailing and is an outstanding instructor. I am sure he had no idea a future offshore racer was sitting in his classroom that cold day in March in Newport, RI when he lectured us on racing sailtrim.

A thank you is also in order when it comes to the area of physical fitness: Mike Pellegrino at Peak Performance in Boston fixed every ailment I had and developed my training programs. He probably knows more about sailing now than he ever wanted to know. My friend Anna Scire was on call for emergency massages when I returned from Clipper Training more than just a bit sore. Thank you guys.

Thank you also to Rob Lawnsby and the team at Narragansett Sailing in Barrington, RI. Rob always keeps an eye on my boat when I am away sailing the big boat. Thank you for always being there for me. I am quite certain none of this would have ever happened without you!

In a few hours, I will catch my flight to Australia and in a few days leg 4 and the race to Sydney will start. Not sure when it will all sink in, maybe when I get my hands on that wheel again :).


Off to Australia!

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on Off to Australia!

With Clipper Telemed+ just under 1000 nm away from Albany, it is time for me to make my way to Australia. Our new skipper made a big gamble and took time to position the boat well north of the rest of the fleet. We’ll find out whether or not this strategy will pay off, however right now Clipper Telemed+ is estimated to arrive in Albany next Saturday.

My bags are packed and I am flying out of Boston tonight, which should get me into Albany on Tuesday afternoon local time. It sounds like I will have plenty of time to recover although I am hoping that the team will be faster than currently anticipated.

Please follow the race on as I am not sure how often I will be able to post updates here. Keep your fingers crossed for us on leg 4!

The Journey to the Start Line of the Clipper Race

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Clipper Preparation, Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on The Journey to the Start Line of the Clipper Race

While this blog started when the last edition of the Clipper Race returned to London last summer, my journey to the start line of a Clipper race began in the summer of 2013 when I first learned about the race.

Once I had decided to go for it, a long, but intentional phase of preparation began. I had three goals for 2014, one of which I began working on in late March on a very cold Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island. Bill Gladstone was in town to teach the North U Sail Trim curriculum – easily one of the best classes on sailing stuff I’ve ever attended. I read his book several times and spent the entire season until late November (read: when ice came off the mainsail upon hoisting) improving my sail trim skills on my own boat.

Another area I wanted to get into was Marine Weather because of its importance in long-distance racing. The American Sailing Association offers a Marine Weather class, so I became a certified instructor learning a lot about the subject in the process. Last, but not least, I kept up my workout schedule to improve my physical fitness. The Level 1 training in October that year was a first test and my training program was ultimately adjusted as a result of that first week on a Clipper yacht.

This year’s preparation mostly focused on completing the additional three levels of training while continuing the now more specialized fitness training. There is a separate blog on how this year’s workout plan was put together to accommodate the trainings and the ramp-up to the race in late November. I also was in London for the start of the race, which was an awesome experience.

My journey also included the need to get comfortable with the possibility of losing my job because of the race. As it stands, my employer has approved a 2-months Leave of Absence for leg 4. The assumption is that I will return to my job, but there are no guarantees. On that one my mindset is whatever happens happens. My personal preparation has been in my control, that stuff is not.

So, here we are: I am just about a week away from getting on a plane to join my team ClipperTelemed+ in Albany for leg 4 of the race. The first race of that leg from Albany to Sydney will start on December 1st. After that we will be one of 111 boats at the starting line for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on December 26th. I discovered my name on the crew list posted on the race website the other day – that gave me goosebumbs. Race 3 of that leg will then take us from Hobart, Tasmania to Whitsunday, Queensland.

Let’s hope that we’ll have an enjoyable and competitive, but most importantly safe race around ¾ of the continent of Australia. Those of us who’ve been offshore know how hard it can be, so completing leg 4 with people and boat intact will be an accomplishment. Everything else will be icing on the cake. Thanks for reading.

Clipper Fleet on the way to Australia

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on Clipper Fleet on the way to Australia

Leg 3 of the 2015/16 Clipper Round the World race started from Cape Town, South Africa yesterday. By all accounts, the fleet has been experiencing strong winds “on the nose” and gusts up to 50 knots – conditions to make people sick in a hurry. The entire crew on ClipperTelemed+ was visited by the “green monster” on leg 2, so we’ll see how they fare this time.

This Southern Ocean leg will provide some of the most challenging sailing during the entire race. The teams will experience the Roaring Forties, strong westerly winds generally found between latitudes 40 and 50 in the Southern Hemisphere. With these strong winds that blow uninterrupted by any land at these latitudes, large ocean swells are the result. Boat speed is expected to be well over 30 knots! Leg 3 will conclude in Albany, Western Australia.

ClipperTelemed+ Updates

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on ClipperTelemed+ Updates

With the remaining two boats that started the race late having arrived in Cape Town today, it is now confirmed that ClipperTelemed+ finished leg 2 in 5th place! Congratulations to the team.

However, that great accomplishment was overshadowed by the news we received on Saturday that our Canadian skipper Diane Reid resigned citing personal family reasons. While this is of course a loss for the ClipperTelemed+ team, the larger significance may be the fact that the Clipper Race lost one of the two female skippers in the race. Many of us will now show up at Crew Changeovers around the world not knowing what our new skipper Matt Mitchell is like and how he will manage the team. We will all of course find out in due time.

For me, the countdown is on: Less than four weeks until I leave to join the team in Albany, Western Australia.

South Atlantic Challenge

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on South Atlantic Challenge

Leg 2 of the Clipper Round the World race will start tomorrow and takes the teams from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Cape Town, South Africa. They will sail approximately 3,400 nm across the South Atlantic in about 16 days.

Upon leaving Rio, the boats will likely head south before turning east with the exact route determined by decisions like whether or not to go for the scoring gate as well as the position of the South Atlantic High Pressure system. Last years winning boat went quite far south trading distance for more wind. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out this year. Good luck to all the teams.

ClipperTelemed+ arrives in Rio

Posted by on Oct 2, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on ClipperTelemed+ arrives in Rio

My team ClipperTelemed+ arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil yesterday after sailing about 5,200 nautical miles from England to Brazil. The team completed this first leg of the race in 7th place. Congratulations to team LMAX Exchange who won the leg in impressive fashion.

Today is crew changeover day, which means preparations are well underway for leg 2 from Rio to Cape Town, South Africa. That race will start on October 7.

Pictures from the arrivals in Rio can be found here:

The Race is on!

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on The Race is on!

After final preparations, the 2015/16 edition of the Clipper Round the World race is now underway. As I am writing this, the boats are sailing down the Bay of Biscay. By the time they reach Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, they will have sailed approximately 5,200 nm on this first leg of the race.

The Race Village at St. Katharine Docks in London was a busy place last week as all teams were working on their final preparations. On ClipperTelemed+, cups and mugs were numbered, fans were installed, names were put on foulies and yet more food was being stowed away. My home for the week was the navigation station as I worked on route and weather planning for the trip to Rio.

Then Sunday came and the race finally got underway. Every team got to take the stage before stepping aboard their boats to get it all started. Three of us who will join the race at a later stage were there to slip the lines – and with that team ClipperTelemed+ began their adventure. One boat after the other left St. Katharine Docks and paraded under the open Tower Bridge before heading east.

The race got underway in earnest on Monday at 12:30pm BST with favorable winds to sail down the English Channel. Since then we’ve all been glued to the Race Tracker, which you can find at this link:

Go team ClipperTelemed+!

Clipper Fleet due in London tomorrow

Posted by on Aug 19, 2015 in Clipper Race, General | Comments Off on Clipper Fleet due in London tomorrow

The Clipper fleet of twelve identical boats left Clipper HQ in Gosport on the south coast of England yesterday morning to make their way to London. They are expected to arrive at St. Katherine Docks tomorrow afternoon British Summer Time.

The race village opens on Saturday, August 22 – more information on the schedule can be found here:

The race will start on Sunday, August 30th. Look for a blog post on ClipperTelemed+ final preparations for the race!