Now that I have taken part in my first briefing as an official member of the 2015/16 Clipper Race Crew I am certainly even more fired up about the experience then I was before. At the briefing we were asked to talk to each other about why we had started on the Clipper Race journey and I thought I would share with you all what I spoke about.
The Clipper Race will of course be an adventure. I am going to be pushing myself to the limits both physically and mentally – but why? I spend a lot of time in my job, and through volunteering, talking to children and young people and giving them spaces to discover who they are and how to reach their full potential. I want them to realise that anything is possible as at times others tell them they are not good at X or will never be able to do Y. I encourage them to follow their dreams and believe that if you want to do/be something badly enough then you can make it happen. So I have spent seven years of my professional life doing this and realise now is the moment to take my own advice. I believe that taking part in the Clipper Race will not only renew my own energies and determinations and make me reach my full potential but also I hope will inspire a generation to follow their own dreams. I have a small following of children in the form of a Brownie unit. These twenty-four girls aged 7 to 10 inspire and challenge me on a weekly basis. I intend to continue to do the same in return, not only now as their Leader but throughout my eleven months of sailing (and the wonders of modern technology of video messaging).
Following the briefing I went and welcomed back the 2013/14 Clipper Race in their homecoming celebrations. This is the first time I’ve got close to the 70s Clipper Race yachts that will take me round the world. What struck me by everything during the day was the willingness of strangers to come together and support the crews who have just returned from the 40,000 mile race, even if they had no links to the race or crews at all. I went on a supporters boat to greet the parade of sail. On the way down the river everyone onboard kept themselves to themselves. Once the fleet was in sight however the mood of the passengers changed and we became one big supporting team cheering all the crews and collectively shouting out the names of those on the clipper fleet whose family members were on the supporteris boat too. I also got my first taste of what being a clipper race crew may feel like as people were excited to hear I was going to be part of the 2015/16 Race! (Big shout out to those who bought ‘float your boat’ entries from me too!).
Watching each crew take to the podium in St Katharine’s Dock was also great to see. All the crews were happy, smiling and having fun no matter where they had ended up overall in the race. There didn’t appear to be any regrets with what they had done, more the look of achievement by all taking part.
The baton has official been passed on to me and the other members of the 2015/16 Clipper Race crew. I cannot wait for it to start!
I hope we can all follow our dreams, have no regrets, reach our full potential and inspire others.