Leg 0 - Race Prep, Let's Go

I have no clue to where to start these musings but bear with me. Having finished at work (the legendary Estera Cayman), packed up the Cayman life and decamped back in the UK things got really fun. 

I have been able to catch up with tons of friends mostly apologising for hiding across the Atlantic for the last 4 years. Best of all these were Flora and Steino’s, Jack and Alice’s and Sam and Tasha’s weddings. Thank you all for having me. 

Sometimes repetitive but never tedious, there was a lot of talk about the Clipper race at all these catch ups which just got me silly excited - coupled with 4 weeks of training in-between I cannot wait for the start in Liverpool on Sunday 20th August.

We are the bright pink boat aka The Pink Panther, CV20, Liverpool 2018, Team Lance, Team Heather.

Training

The Clipper training is pretty damn good. The training skippers are extraordinary, they are hugely qualified and can keep calm when teaching 20 sailing novices (not all who totally grasp the English language) on board a 70ft 34-ton yacht on occasion in a Force 8 gale. Shout out to Dave W, Dale, Paul, Spanish Alex, Nigel and Carol. 

Every crew member must do the same four weeks of training to ensure consistency. So no matter your sailing background you have to do it all. The Clipper training puts a lot of emphasis on the safety aspects and we have now all completed RYA Sea Survival course and an ISAF offshore survival course along with our RYA competent crew certificate not to mention countless man over board drills. 

These MOB drills are pretty thrilling. Each boat has a life size and weight man overboard dummy, usually called Bob. Bob is about as surefooted as Bambi on ice and never seems to be tethered to the boat. At any random moment, the training skippers may give him a gentle push over the side and the crew has to spring into action. The real life practice has been invaluable and gives us all a lot of confidence in the rest of our team mates in case anyone does go over - fingers crossed I will never write about that.

During all this training we have crossed the English Channel a number of times, sailed round the Isle of Wight and had everything from 1-knot wind to 44 knots. We have worn through mooring lines in the middle of the night, snapped staysail sheets and even knocked the West Shambles cardinal (a giant metal buoy) which had us checking for a hole in the boat before the race has even bloody started!

I have also volunteered/been nominated as the medical assistant on board. This meant 2 extra days training to practise putting in IV drips and sewing up pigs trotters. My two failed attempts at medical school definitely prepared me well for this role.

But the best bit has been meeting so many fantastic new people both on my team and on the other boats who I will be sharing this journey with over the next year. 

So on to Punta Del Este, Uruguay. I’ll check in once I’ve got settled there. Thank you all for the support and encouragement so far (especially those who have donated and “bought me a beer”) and thanks as always to Peripheral Life and Style sunglasses and Musto.

Elliot Brown

I applied and have been chosen to be one of the two ambassadors for Elliot Brown Watches (www.elliotbrownwatches.com). I love these guys watches. They are pretty damn tough and they prove this by fixing a number of them to the clipper boats going round the world.

So there will probably be a significant amount of shameless product placement in photos and videos. Check them out, they are awesome.