Merseyside represented by 13 amateur sailors on the Clipper Round The World Adventure
We chat to the Merseyside amateur sailors swapping Liver Birds for life jackets as they embark on the challenge of a life time.
Since Liverpool played host to the Clipper Round the World Race start and finish back in 2017/18 a whole new wave of intrepid explorers has been born.
On Sunday 1st September, seven of the 13 Merseysiders taking part in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race will be lining up on the River Thames, London, to embark on the twelfth edition of the epic ocean racing challenge. The adventurous seven include a software engineer, software developer, three doctors, a laboratory specialist and an orthopaedic surgeon.
Rheumatology Registrar at Aintree Hospital turned Clipper adventurer, Ines said: ” I just popped down to the Albert Dock to watch when Clipper Race was in Liverpool, I didn’t know anything about the race. There was just a lovely atmosphere. I read the brochure and just thought, it’s now or never.”
“I’m really excited about the challenge, see how I cope with adversity. You think you know yourself but until you’re at that spot, you don’t. The team atmosphere is great, I take my energy from people, we’re already getting to know the other team members, it’s a real joy to meet other people who are complete lunatics like me!”
Laboratory Specialist Hisham added: ” It’s all thanks to the city of Liverpool. I was doing my PhD at the School of Tropical Medicine and I saw the Clipper race in 2018. It ignited a fire in me, I had to have a new challenge and this was it.”
Junior Doctor Cecelia is taking on the entire Round the World race. By the time she turns 34 she will have circumnavigated the globe, all 40,000 nautical miles of it and she’ll be competing against her Dad.
Cecelia explained: “My Dad had already signed up! He’s on another boat and taking on the full challenge too. I don’t know if I had fully settled into medical life after uni really, but a trip to one of the Clipper open events sold me – along with some coercing from my dad. My friends have pointed out that its a pretty big challenge I’ve signed up for!
“I went into town to say goodbye to a few people last week. They’re all intrigued because none of us are sailors. They’re wondering how we’ll adapt to life on board. I’ve learnt I’m just the kind of person who just goes for it.”
The Clipper Race is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other. With no previous sailing experience necessary, it’s a record breaking 40,000 nautical mile race around the world on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht. Liverpool was the Race Start and Finish partner to the previous edition of the Clipper Race.
Crew members, who come from every walk of life and representing over 40 nationalities, can choose to do the whole circumnavigation, or any combination of individual legs.
While the challenge affords the crews an unforgettable experience, it’s far from an easy ride. Some legs of the challenge are more gruelling than others, while crossing the equator and sailing into host ports brings a real party atmopshere. Ines explained: “At times we’re geographically closer to space stations and Antarctica than you are to land, so its going to get very cold. There’s the likes of 30 metre waves to contend with in the southern ocean so it’s going to be quite challenging.”
Hisham said: “I didn’t tell my parents until like two weeks ago! They thought I was just training for sailing. On board everyone has a chore, you have to pull your weight and work hard. I’m kind of like a sponge, I’m just taking it all in, watching other people, how they think, how they trouble shoot. I can learn a lot from that.
“There’s a lot of emotional support between the team too. I think we’re at sea from around 30 – 55 days. I will miss the Liverpool accent while I’m away. I’ll miss the Bold Street restaurants and the warmth of people at home.”
Ines wrapped up the general feeling in London ahead of the start of this years race, she said: “I love Liverpool, I love Scousers and I couldn’t think of a better city to represent.”
You can follow Ines on board WTC Logistics @SailingForScleroderma on Instagram and Hisham on board HaLong Bay Vietnam @teamhalongvietnam and watch the Clipper Round The World Race 2019-20 unfold on Twitter @ClipperRace.