Retiree Rose ready to set sail for the adventure

Paul Rose, 65 from Essex, is retired and lives a fairly quiet life. However, that will change later this year when he takes part in the race of a lifetime. 

Rose will be competing in the 2017-18 Clipper Race – one of sailing’s most demanding events, but one that’s open to people of all ages and occupations. Check out Elephant Sport’s guide to its round-the-world challenges here.

He has recently been on various training courses set up by the Clipper organisation in order to prepare participants as much as possible for the adventures that lie ahead.

But from August this year, practice will be over and Rose will be embarking on a journey like no other.

Elephant Sport sat down with him to get his thoughts and views on his upcoming rendezvous with danger and exhilaration on the high seas.

How and when did you first hear about the Clipper race?

It was roughly six months ago. I was sitting on the couch and I caught the last five minutes of it on TV. It looked fascinating and I found out anybody could enter it, so I applied for the brochure and the rest is history.

You don’t just wake up and decide to do 40k mile race round-the-world on a yacht. What inspired you to consider it?

It just looked so exciting! It was an event on Sky and I started watching all of the episodes, and I sat there thinking ‘Yeah, I fancy a bit of that’. I Went on to YouTube, sent half a dozen people the clips that all came back to me asking if I were crazy!

Did that make you think twice?

Actually, it made me want to do it even more! I thought to myself I cannot back down now, although my physiotherapist was not too happy about it. ‘’With your back?!’’ he said.

You have a comfortable life at home; nice house, daily exercise, a lot of free time, eating out etc. How will you adapt without all that?

Well, I will start to see this week in training. No showers! I cannot function without having a shower in the morning. It is all going to be the complete opposite to what I am used to. The bed is not a bad it will be a bit of plastic, so I really don’t know what to expect.

How has training been going, and what have you been doing?

It has been tough but I have been coping, just about. The training gears you up so you half know what you are in for. We took it in turns to experience the different roles such as Pitman, Helmsman, Watch Leaders etc. All the things you usually wouldn’t have a clue about but I am an expert now!

What race are you doing specifically?

I am doing legs 5 and 6, which is Australia to Vietnam, and Vietnam to Qingdao in China. The good thing about the race I am involved in is that I am doing two legs for the price of one. Not a lot of people can take the time off work to do it, but I’m retired!

I have heard leg 5 is the toughest of the lot?

Don’t remind me.

Do you get time to get off of the boat?

I am in Vietnam for 10 days. You have to be on the boat 60% of the time, but I will have some off it, too. It will give me a chance to see was Vietnam is all about.

Who will be on the boat with you?

We have a big team, one pro and 21 amateurs. They distribute it evenly; height, weight, gender etc so it as even as possible.

And how important is working as a team in the race?

It’s probably the most important thing. These are guys and girls you spend days and days, or in some peoples cases months and months with. So it is important that everyone gets on well together if we want to succeed.

What about food?

The food is all on board, no three-course meals, I can tell you that!  There is something called ‘being the mother’ where everybody has to cook for the team at some point during the journey. A little tiny kitchen to operate in, it should be fun.

Do you think it will be more physically or mentally tough?

I am not sure. Considering I have some weaknesses in my back, I think that will make it harder. I am open-minded about this whole thing but ask me again after I finish training!

What are you most looking forward to about the face?

Coming home! But on a serious level, taking on such a big challenge genuinely excites me.

And the biggest fear you having going into the race? 

Going overboard. Call me negative but you have to be wary at all times and that is one of my fears. Sleepless nights is another, but I am expecting that from time to time.

What about the sharks or the storms?

As long as I don’t end up in the water then the sharks can’t get me! As for the storms, well I think that is pretty standard stuff.

Extreme events can also bring extreme circumstances. Two people died last year, does this compromise the event in any way?

I think with any sport or event you have to take the bad with the good. This is not the only sport/event where deaths have occurred, so I think you just have to accept it for what it is.

And finally, what is the main thing you want to get out of this whole experience?

Apart from getting back safe, then winning! But the main thing is to challenge myself. Getting out of my comfort zone and hopefully attempting something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.