January saw the first Clipper Race Crew briefing of 2015 with eager crew members gathering in London to find out what information we were to be given. The first duty was to have our photo taken which will be used on the crew photos once crews have been allocated. This was the first sight we got of the Henri Lloyd Rio jackets we are issued as this was the outfit for our photos! Once inside there was a buzz of crew eagerly awaiting the briefing to begin.
What made this briefing more enjoyable than previous Clipper Race gatherings was that I was able to see some of the people I had done my level 1 training with (big hello to Barry, Emma, Jo, Mandy and Nick!). It was good to catch up and hear what they had been up to and continue to form friendships with them as well as meeting new people. I can feel my Clipper family is forming and growing in size at each briefing and training I take part in.
There were a number of presentations to us from different member of the Clipper Race team. This included our first speech by Sir Robin Knox Johnson who welcomed us to the Clipper Race family and reminded us that the journey was to become ocean racing sailors. He seems a genuine down to earth sort of chap. You couldn’t help but become excited about what is to come after listening to him – and Sir Robin, I’m waiting for you to pop onto my yacht with my bowline at the ready!
The biggest announcement of the day was the official start date for the 2015/16 Clipper Race. This is going to be Sunday 30th August from a yet to be confirmed port in the south of the UK. That’s 33 weeks time which really isn’t that far away! Now that I know this it is a slightly odd feeling. It makes everything more real. In 33 weeks time, little old me will be setting off on the adventure of a lifetime. Just typing that brings a smile to my face along with a few butterflies in my tummy. Even though at this stage not everything is confirmed I at least have a date to work towards with regards to selling my stuff and packing up my life to go away fro 11 months. Its odd to think, sitting here typing this blog, that by the time I go everything around me will have either been sold to help raise more money or put into storage.
After the briefing we were all treated to a glass of bubbly from the official Clipper Race wine supplier Stormhoek which was a lovely way to end the briefing and gave another chance to mingle with fellow crew.
We also had the chance to go and have a look around one of the Clipper 70s which was in St Katherine’s Dock for the occasion. This gave me another opportunity to have a good look and poke about at what my floating home will be like.
2015, my race year is here and the briefing really brought home that fact. The next time we will meet en masse like this will be crew allocation in April when I will find out who my Skipper is and the fellow crew with whom I will sail with.
For now I need to remain focused on the fundraising as I still have funds to raise to pay the final few instalments to Clipper Ventures. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me so far and was very lucky in the amount of donations I received over Christmas so thank you to each one of you. There is still time to support me if you are able and I continue to be on the hunt for a business that would be interested in sponsoring me also, so if anyone reading this can help please get in touch with me.
Let the 33 week countdown begin!