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.