Time for an update. Inevitably as I'm not due to start the race until Leg 8 (aka the champagne homecoming leg, my favourite kind btw), the Clipper race has taken a back seat as other major life events unfolded. I got a new job and bought a house. And turned the big 4..0..so a busy few months to say the least. Actually, all of those things happened in the same week!
I'm taking some time out before I start my new job to 'ground' myself. One of my crew mates used the expression 'Autumn of life' in one of his posts on FB, and the expression resonated with me. Am I where I want to be at this mid life milestone? I started the new year with a set of intentions on how I want to feel this and the years to come, rather than what I want to achieve. Of course the race is on the cards and the family flights to New York are booked, and time off scheduled from school and work in June. I suspect my turn will be here in a flash!
Getting back to the race, it all kicked off on the 1st Sept 2019 from St Katherine's Docks in London. I had been down to London for our boat naming ceremony with our sponsors, the Clipper Crew party (crazy funny dance off between our and Punta's Skip) and finally race start, so there was a buzz of activity around Race start. On race start day my family toured the boat for the first time and met my crew mates, and of course the star that is Nathan, the Nautical Turtle, our team mascot. I joined in parading around the dock for the crowds, with Skip (at least our first Skip, Mark Burkes) leading us behind the WTC Logistics banner. We rallied together in a 'Right Here, Right Now' battle cry to match our FatBoy Slim anthem. It felt good to be part of the team and I guess this is the closest to being a celebrity I've been in my life (so far)!
Our team were near the end to throw off lines and head out of the dock. There was an awesome parade of sail under Tower Bridge, the bridge was raised specially for the boats. It was pretty amazing, to appreciate the spectacle that the race actually presents to the general public. There were crowds lining the bridge and waving at the boats and the teams. We were on a spectator boat and sailed with the boats until the Thames barrier. Along the river there were signs of good wishes hung on peoples balconies. I'm a bit disappointed that I won't have that on the return leg home to London as we are coming back to Docklands rather than St Katherine's. It will be special to come 'home' to London, nontheless.
It has been frustrating watching from afar. As of race 5 we're in the latter half of the table, which has been disappointing. This is ocean racing and even if we have the best team spirit, there are external factors and randomness at play. The team are currently in the Whitsundays, and my good friend Gareth will be joining in Leg 5, so I will be watching even more closely to the race blogs from the team. Fundraising is going well. I've taken on the role of Unicef coordinator...just call me Ms Ambassador, and we're 4th in the league tables of the teams, so pretty proud of that.
Mark Burkes has stepped down as our "Skip"and been replaced by another Brit, Rich Gould.
Nathan, the Nautical Turtle above doing some important fund raising work.