Tag Archives: Clipper Race

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.

Everything you need to know about the Clipper Race

Fifteen different races, 40,000 nautical miles, across six oceans and calling at countries, lasting 11 months…..all on a 70ft yacht.  The Clipper Race presents one of the toughest mental and physical challenges in sailing, if not sport in general.

Given its daunting nature, you would assume only a pro, or someone with substantial sailing experience at least, would be suited to embark on such a journey.

Instead, the race is open to anybody, and that is the beauty of it. Whether you are a graduate, a 40-year-old policeman or a 60-year-old midwife, you are eligible for the race of a lifetime.

You’ll need a lot of time on your hands for starters, plus plenty of courage. The race starts in August this year and end in July 2018; it is an endurance test like no other, with countless obstacles encountered on the way.

The following is a breakdown of each leg and what competitors may experience on the way.

Leg 1: The Atlantic Trade Winds Leg 

London – South America / 5,968 miles / 33 days

The crew say goodbye to their loved ones and head into the Atlantic. The Doldrums, a low pressured area around the Equator, tends to serve up a stern test with its unpredictable winds and debilitating humidity.

A visit to the Court of Neptune is also a major highlight. Practiced in the Royal Navy, seafaring tradition dictates that any ship crossing the Equator must pay their respects to the Lord of the Seas, King Neptune, to gain his acceptance.

Over a month after departing from London, the teams are greeted in carnival style as the first leg ends in party mode in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Leg 2: The South Atlantic Leg

 South America – South Africa / 3,932 miles / 18 days

The swells of the South Atlantic can bring boat speeds up to 20 knots (23 mph). As exhilarating as it sounds; it is a marathon, not a sprint.

As the yachts head to South Africa, they may get an Albatross swoop overhead or catch sight of giant blue whales.

‘’Night watches are what makes this race what it is. The challenge and the adventures, and the time to get to know one another and develop what will hopefully be long-term friendships. When the moon is out and the winds are good, there is nothing so beautiful and peaceful,’’ says Julia Ramsay, participant in the 2013-14 Clipper Race.

The leg ends in Cape Town, where a traditional African welcoming waits.

Leg 3: The Southern Ocean Leg

South Africa – Western Australia / 5,575 miles / 23 days

Maybe this leg should be renamed to something a bit more telling, considering the fleet encountered two hurricanes and gusting winds up to 100 knots (115 mph) a few years back.

As thrilling as it is, the Southern Ocean offers up its fair share of beauty, like double rainbows for example.  It is known among sailors as the place to experience Mother Nature at her most raw and beautiful.

The race ends in Perth where a warm welcome waits, courtesy of the Australian summer.

Leg 4: The Australia Leg

Western Australia – Eastern Australia / 5,015 miles / 28 days

The Australian continents sits above the cold Antarctic waters where icebergs flow north, meaning the crew pass through one of the most inhospitable seas on the planet.

Once you have battled through the adverse weather conditions, you are rewarded by the stunning sight of Sydney Harbour where the race concludes to the welcoming of thousands.

Sydney Harbour is a sight when 150,000 people see off the crew as they set off in the next race through the Tasman Sea, via Bass Strait, which has a dangerous reputation with its extreme conditions yet shallow waters.

Leg 5: The Asia Pacific Leg

Eastern Australia – East Coast, China / 7k miles / 53 days

After conquering Australia, the next race begins with the crew heading north through ‘Cyclone Alley’. Storms, squalls, winds, huge waves and blistering temperatures are all likely to be encountered at some stage along the way before ending in Papua New Guinea.

The second race in leg 5 sees the fleet leave Papua New Guinea and straight into the winds of the North East Monsoon.

Some say leg 5 is the most challenging out of all the legs; 7k miles, 53 days and temperatures anywhere from -5C to 30C, a real test of endurance, character, and mental strength.

A heroic welcome waits in China with Qingdao’s famous welcome ceremony attracting huge crowds.

Leg 6: The Mighty Pacific Leg

East Coast China – West Coast, USA / 6,637 miles / 33 days

There is a good reason why few people cross the Pacific Ocean. The closest you will get to humans at times, apart from your own crew members, will be those on the International Space Station.

After reaching Japan, a significant tactical dilemma comes into play: take the shortest or great circle route and risk headwinds or take the southern route which is longer, but with following wind.

Erratic conditions heading towards the American west coast can be challenging. The common sightings of sharks and whales tend to make it all worth it, as does the first sighting of landfall for about a month.

Leg 7: The USA Coast-To-Coast Leg

West Coast, USA – East Coast, USA / 7,115 miles / 38 days

After the fleet bypass the tricky Californian current, the speedy race down the coast of Mexico, via the dreaded Doldrums, could decide the finishing positions coming into Panama.

Panama Canal, one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world, is the iconic starting point the crew depart from as you head up north towards the gusty Caribbean Sea.

Thunderstorms tend to provide a spectacular backdrop as the crews head to the East Coast; the Big Apple waits.

Leg 8: The Atlantic Homecoming Leg

East Coast, USA – United Kingdom / 4,894 miles / 22 days

The crew head through the Grand Banks, known for its thick fog and light winds, passing close to the wreck of the Titanic – so they’ll be on ieberg watch.

After a final stopover in Derry, Northern Ireland, the race concludes where it all began 11 months ago. With the podium in sight and a warm reception to go with it, the race a lifetime is all but complete.