Offshore Yachting : Offshore Yachting Jun-Jul 2015
tack & Gybe 050 six, which was from China to San Francisco. A skipper on another boat broke his leg so we gave our skipper to the other team and then went in tandem across the North Pacific. While we were very competent, and top of the leader board, it was just knowing that if something went wrong, we were on our own for a period of time. And you know we did some crash drives, we almost broke the traveler, we did a few other things along the way, we had big seas, big winds, but we managed that boat, we took it on. The other crew had suffered the shock of having their skipper injured and removed by the Japanese coast guard so our skipper had to settle them down, get their confidence back and get them going again. We wanted to continue racing, so the other challenge for us, or the hardest part, was Clipper saying that we couldn’t race as we were now in delivery mode. We were winning that leg and we wanted to just crack on and race but because it was the best way for us to deal with the situation, we were told we were no longer allowed to race and they would redress us as appropriate later. So learning to sail slowly was a challenge. And all we wanted to do was get out of there and go like hell to San Francisco. So that was a real challenge. During that leg, another boat rolled in the North Pacific, and we went to their aid. So then we were travelling as a group of three with 2,000 nautical miles to go. The boat that had lost its mast had all the fuel, so we had to sail while they motored. And trying to sail when they’re going six knots and trying to surf down big waves was quite a tricky experience, but the seamanship skills that we got out of it were tremendous, and we stuck together as a crew and got on with it. “Mother nature doesn’t care whether you’re a professional or an amateur, she’ll throw down the gauntlet either way.” Kirsty Whyte NO eXPeRIeNce ReQUIReD Managing director of clipper Ventures australia, kirsty Whyte, with one of the clipper training boats based in Sydney. And what was the best part? I think the best part was all of the people I met along the way – my crew mates and then the crews from all the other teams. I have friends in every country, who I can, if I’m going somewhere, catch up with for a drink. In your normal circle of friends, if you consider your work friends and your personal friends and your sporting friends, you’re all fairly similar. Whereas the Clipper race actually takes you out of that comfort zone, and you end up being friends with people that you wouldn’t normally have done that with. So at different ages, different backgrounds, different cultural backgrounds, you know, everything is different. And you form these really strong bonds with people. You spend quite a lot of time with them especially if you’re doing the full circumnavigation? There’s no privacy on the boat. It is a 24/7 working boat so you are pretty much sailing, eating, sleeping, and that’s your routine. You do have a lot of fun in the middle of it and celebrations and all sorts of things, but it’s hard and it’s meant to be hard, otherwise everybody would do it. You might not like the meal that’s being served that night, but in a couple of weeks time you’re going to be in some fabulous country somewhere and you can enjoy all the tourist attractions, the food and the wine, and really have a great time. So that’s probably the other part that I love, visiting the world and going to places that I either hadn’t been to or arriving somewhere a different way – sailing in under the Golden Gate Bridge, or coming into Manhattan at midnight and admiring the skyline – arriving like that was amazing. Is there anything the crew can’t be prepared for and will only experience once they start the race? Probably just the people that they are sailing with because we have such a diverse crew of people coming to Sydney to train. The way the training program is designed is it’s a build- on build-on experience that mimics the race. So all of the procedures are the same, the calls are the same, the sails are the same, the boat is slightly different but you do train on it and get time with your skipper, and most of your team mates you’ll get to sail with. We do say that it’s easier on race than it is in training so level one training is the hardest part of the course because we are actually trying to test you out physically, mentally and emotionally. If you can get through level one then you are off and running on your way. So the training very much builds them up to do the race so there’s no surprises. Physically, what was the impact of the race? Did you get stronger or fitter? I went into the race really fit. I had a personal trainer. As you go around you actually get unfit because you don’t have the aerobic fitness. It’s more strength from hauling sails up the deck and from hoisting sails, and the grinding. These are sails that are designed to get you across the biggest oceans in the worst weather. They are very thick, very heavy. Aerobic fitness decreases but your general strength increases. And when you get to port, you’re not going off to the gym, you’re going off to party.
Offshore Yachting Apr May 2015
Offshore Yachting Aug-Sep 2015