CLIPPER RACE AMBASSADOR BLOG 1 + 2
BLOG 1: RACE WEEK: LIFE ON BOARD
All of the months and years of training and preparation for the Clipper 2023-24 Round the World Yacht Race led me to Race Week. At the start of the week I caught the ferry to Gosport along with dozens of crew from the fleet to register for the race. The energy was like the calm before the storm breaking. After registration and safety briefings, we prepared to slip lines for man overboard drills and a fleet photo shoot. Like every time I hold the mooring lines, I thought of how Marlow Ropes make them from recycled materials and that they are fully recyclable. I smiled. #purpose
The next couple of days were a lot of final preparations, including the big final pack. What do you pack for 11 months at sea? Then the final race day activities were upon us. After the crew party on the Friday night, and crew briefings on the Saturday, it was Race Day. I was nervous yet excited. Sad to say farewell to those I love, yet happy for the adventure ahead. I felt….ready. Ready for the Race of My Life!
Race Week’s lessons were about what mattered. What jobs MUST be done, and done well, before we left, and what could we do at sea during any watch lulls. This included ensuring all of the critical lines had anti-chaffing sheaths applied and were all whipped. Marlow Ropes produce high quality products, and our skipper wanted us to ensure they maintained their integrity for as long as possible by adding extra layers of protection on the high action lines.
This approach is the first step in sustainability. Regardless of whether a product is recyclable or reusable, like Marlow Ropes products, if we can prevent the need to retire a rope to a secondary function in the first place, we can go a long way to reducing our environmental impact on this planet.
RACE 1: PORTSMOUTH TO PUERTO SHERRY, SPAIN
LIFE ON BOARD
Race one was all about settling in. Into the watch system, the roles on board, the rhythm of the boat. Including how we eat. Ocean racing can burn up to 5000 calories per day. So we eat to support the potential for endurance-style exercise. I was on galley duty with my friend Justin on the third day. We still had some fresh meat, vegetables and fruit, so we made sliced meat and salad brioche rolls and fruit for lunch, Mexican chicken and bacon fajitas with refried beans, salsa and guacamole for dinner, and fresh baked bread and granola for breakfast.
We came 5th in the race, which was full of highs and lows. The lows being that the race ended before the course was completed due to unfavourable winds. The highs were abundant. From big winds and squalls to stunning sunsets and spotting whales, multiple pods of dolphins, and having a little bird join us on the boat for the last couple of days. Like my first galley duty, this race was a taste of what’s to come.
I had the chance to manage the spinnaker trim at one stage during the race. This was the first time I had held the spinnaker sheets as every time we’d hoisted the spinnaker during training I seemed to be at the helm. I was surprised at their length, how thin they appeared compared to the other sheets, and yet how incredibly strong and robust they were. It was a work-out holding and easing these sheets with so much wind in the sail!
Food and food waste is always top of mind for me. We had a short race and we’re trying to use all of our fresh food first before tapping into preserved options. Supporting this, the galley watches were finding ways to reuse left overs from one meal into the next or in the next days cooking. This behaviour will hold us in good stead should we face any unfortunate conditions that keep us at sea longer than expected – we won’t run out of food.