A new batch of 15 keen sailors and non-sailors attended the Clipper Venture offices in Gosport for a presentation which, we were promised, was to scare us from joining. Those that survived until lunchtime were offered an interview to make sure they had the right personal and team skills to make it to Clipper Crew 15-16.
It was remarkable how fast the time went. For two whole hours Clipper Crew Recruitment and Development Director David Cusworth entertained us with stories, things to consider and answered many questions. It shows that with the right audience and subject there is no need for “Death by PowerPoint”.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable and reassuring day with like minded and very exited grown-ups. It is so good to hear that you are not the only one who is shaking of exitement and who is thinking whether to do the full circumnavigation or a few legs or how competitive you need to be to race. Amazing that the average age of participants is in the upper thirties, seemly because there are many people in their twenties often wanting a change of career and lifestyle but equaly many pensioners that want to get a little bit more out of life. So I will definitely not be the only sixty year old in the fleet!
I heard on a number of occasions that the purpose of the day was really to sift out the “Axe murders” and was wondering how many are slipping through the net. But of course it is all about ensuring we know what we are getting involved in and recruiting the right individuals for a tough ocean race. There have been people that have cancelled the whole thing after seeying the stripped down racing boats. The door between the living quarters and the “heads” – the loo is a canvas screen with zips and we will be practicing “Hot Bunking”!
After the presentation and interview, yes I have decided to continue with this challenge, we were given a tour of the boats. It was very helpful chatting with former crew members and hearing the intricacies of living on-board an ocean going racing yacht. It certainly took me back to my Royal Navy days of bulk head doors, galleys, engine rooms and cramped spaces. The deck is flush with many coloured lines and strange names on “jammers”. I am sure that will become very familiar over the months.
We will hear next week whether we have been given a provisional place on the race and to sign the contract which will be firm after we pass the first training week – Level 1. It was good to hear we have until the end of the year to decide how many and which legs we want to do. A good suggestion was to split the legs if you want to do multiple legs. Doing one leg, going home to recuperate and coming back onboard with the same crew to do it all again seems very inviting. So maybe I will do leg 1 and then 5 and 6. More decisions to make!! It’s not getting easier.