Nik Brbora - Story17 SEP 2012
Despite encountering heavy seas and at one point being evacuated by the US Coast Guard, a London based Software Engineer is now encouraging others to take up the challenge of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. No experience necessary!
Nik Brbora, 29, will be inviting Londoners and rail commuters across the country to ‘watch my story’ next week after being selected to share his experiences in the world’s longest ocean race, which he completed this summer after almost a year at sea.
“It was an incredible adventure, full of challenges. I did it because I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone. That was my main motivation,” explains Nik.
“I’ve gained a lot more confidence. I’ve just sailed around the world! My outlook on life has definitely changed. I would never have done anything like this before. I hope my story will inspire others to achieve something remarkable through participating in the Clipper Race.”
People from all walks of life take on the challenge of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, with around forty per cent of crew members have never stepped on board a yacht before their Level 1 training
“The training was very tough and eye-opening. At times I thought ‘what the hell am I doing?’ It was tough but also very rewarding as I learnt a lot and I realised that I could probably go on and do it,” recalls Nik.
Crew can take on the full 40,000 miles circumnavigation, or one or more of eight legs. The race fleet takes almost a year to visit 15 ports of call on six continents. Conditions are variable, from the frustrations of the doldrums with little or no wind to challenging everything Mother Nature has in her armoury.
“The highlight of the race was probably our first big storm in the Southern Ocean. I remember climbing up the mast to get the sails down and you could just see this awesome force of nature – the grey sky, the really big waves and the strong wind. It’s probably not a sight that many people in the world will ever see; A scary and very tough moment but one that I’ll never forget,” adds Nik.
The most challenging time came in the Pacific Ocean when Nik’s yacht was hit by a freak wave and he had to be evacuated for medical attention. “At that time you go into survival mode – everyone has to secure the boat and also look after the injured. Everyone pulled together. I was relieved when I was rescued but at the same time I didn’t want to get off the boat because the other crew had worked hard and I didn’t want to let them down. I actually managed to make a full recovery during the stopover in San Francisco Bay and I was able to join the crew to continue the race.
“The most enjoyable part of the race for me was the people. It was great to have so many people who you wouldn’t normally meet in your own life and you were all working together for the same goal. We all gelled well – had lots of fun and lots of jokes and a great experience. That for me was the most fun part of the race,” says Nik.
Because of his bravery and determination Nik was selected by Clipper Race officials to star in one of a series of short online videos which feature former crew. He will also be seen on posters at main line railway stations in London and across the country, encouraging rail travellers to ‘watch my story’ and maybe swap the tedium of their commute for the excitement of racing across some of the most challenging oceans on the planet.