100 days till race start from my favourite place in the world...
Time for an update! There's been a hive of activity over the last few weeks...we now know our teams after Crew Allocation Day in Portsmouth Guildhall...check out the video below. The day was frenetic, I think is the word...I had an early start on the 8am train from Waterloo with a couple of fellow crew mates. There was a stage at the front of the room, and on the peripheries there were displays by the race sponsors; brands like Marlow Ropes, Unicef and Musto. Bacon butties were on sale, so the smell pervaded the air. I'm trying to avoid red meat though due to the climate implications; trying to fulfil my individual responsibilities to our planet. Feel slightly proud that I managed to avoid them.
Flitted about saying hi to people, then the main event started. The skippers went up and sequentially read out a list of names. Mine was near the end of the list and I was worried that my request to be put with one of my friends would not be honoured...it was as it transpires! I was so nervous when they were announcing which teams we were allocated to...over 400 crew were there. Afterwards we got together for a group photo on the stairs of the Guildhall; it was a beautiful crisp but sunny Spring day. I was a bit over-dressed with heels and a smart-ish dress; thought I'd make an effort for my new team mates, but overall just felt like it would help me if I knew I looked reasonably put together, to feel that way too!
I met the first man to circumnavigate the world solo by boat just over 50 years ago, and the founder of the Clipper Race, the indefatigable Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. He speaks Hindi...Suhaili, his boat was built in Mumbai before her round the world voyage.
During the day we found out the route around the world until the end of Leg 7...argh! Still no news on where my leg (8) will start but ecstatic that my homecoming after my transatlantic adventure will be to my adopted home (and the best city in the world), London!!!!!
The port stops thus far include: race start 1st Sept 2019 in London-Punta Del Este, Uruguay-Cape Town, South Africa-Freemantle, Oz, Whitsundays, Oz, Zhuhai, Sanya & Qingdao, China and Seattle on the West coast of the USA. The boats then travel through the Panama Canal to an as yet unspecified port on the East coast.
Our boat doesn't have an identity as yet...we're 'Team Mark' at the moment. It was great to start getting know the team. I'd requested to be on the same team as one of my friends, Gareth; I'd met him on training and we gelled; he's like a brother from another mother; my sailing homie. Everyone was friendly even after we'd parted into separate teams as we all know each other from training thus far. I know a couple of others on my team...we're going to win!
Heading back down south for June 2nd and my Level 4 training...yikes.
Full crew brief video below...but be warned it was a long day...and it didn't end until 3am for me, but that bit was not caught on camera...let's just say that we danced until the bitter end in Tiger Tiger Portsmouth before I had to get the 4 hour train journey home for a very special young man's birthday.
Fundraising efforts have begun...£115 so far...but added WWF as my third charity because what's the point of it all if we have no world left at the end of the day?