Race 13 - Day 1
Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool
23 July

Charlotte Garratt
Charlotte Garratt
Team Dare To Lead
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Well here we are, the last ever race of the Clipper 17-18 race! Its strange to think that it's all coming to an end, this has been my home for 11 months yet in 6 days time I shall be stepping off in Liverpool for the final time. I'm not sure I am ready to leave the Clipper bubble.

Life is quite simple aboard Dare To Lead you know what to expect the only curve ball you'll really get is from the weather. Certain boat norms will have to be trained out of me, my sister has already started doing this in Derry; apparently in land based life it is not acceptable to sniff your clothes to see if they have another days wear out of them?!

I am looking forward to life's luxury's such as a proper bed, shower and toilet I know that after a few days my appreciation of the little things will dissipate and once again I shall take such luxuries for granted. I shall also have to remember that I am not stepping back on a boat therefore I am unable to carelessly eat and drink what I want, my gym membership will have to be reinstated – the clipper diet worked for me so I must keep it up, although the phrase “boat fit not land fit” will surely be making an appearance – I apologise in advance!

I've met some amazing people through the race for me its been a race of two teams, my Dare To Lead crew and the Sea Hags. The Sea Hags officially started in Airlie Beach, a group of us girls wanted to go out for dinner and naturally this needed a whatsapp group to be created (Oh how I won't miss the umpteen different whatsapp groups I currently have on the go!) so called the Sea Hags as this is the name that Dale gave OBR Dani on leg 2. What originally started as a girls dinner developed into a strong group of females who gave each other love and support throughout this journey. Spread across the fleet we are able to understand what each other was going through and remind ourselves that actually that time you had a bad day on board because of whatever, everyone else across the fleet also had a bad day for similar reasons. The Sea Hags have given me the space and encouragement to flourish during each of the stopovers as well as the opportunities to meet so many other wonderful people from across the race. Bill from Garmin has been with me since Level 1 training, she is a very strong female who is always there with wise words when needed she has taught and shown me that I can be more resilient. Bill rarely lets anyone get her down and one of these days I may just be as good as Bill is at this! Simone from Garmin is probably the most self confident person I've ever met, she may not know it but just from being around her she has helped me become more confident in myself. If you have ever seen her dance not only does she have some moves but she really does dance like no one is watching. Lou from Dare To Lead is the kindest person I have ever met, she has so much time for everyone and is such a loving and giving person, never asking for anything in return. She took me under her wing while she was aboard for legs 1-4, we'd often be found giggling a watch away either through her “friday night head in the bilge” or her attempt at keeping me warm by insinuating that the glow from the red lights was the warming glow of a fire. Dani OBR for the race has kept me sane many a time throughout the Pacific leg, I've also picked up on her love for a shimmy – much to the annoyance of my sister! You'll find me doing a shimmy quite often these days when I'm happy or excited for something. She'll also suffer no fools so you know she will tell you like it is. There are many many more who I could name but just know that each and everyone of them has helped get me through this race. The sailing really does come second to the people on this race, we are all here for our own reasons yet come together as one to make sure that we get through this. I do not want this race to finish as it will mean saying goodbye to the Sea Hags – They have been my family for this year, I can honestly say that without them I may not have made it around the world.

I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me through my race campaign, those that have had to listen to me talking about this since 2014 as well as crew who I've met along the way. To my family who were unsure that selling my house was the best idea but supported me anyway. To my friends who have allowed me to drop off the face of the earth for 11 months knowing that I am absolutely useless at staying in touch yet still send me messages of love and support. To Rona Sailing Project for being awesome and introducing me to sailing, I've come a long way since my first 6 days on a boat where I was holding on so tightly that my knuckles turned white. Also to Ocean Safety who picked me to be their ambassador, the kit they have provided me with kept me dry and warm, my head torch and MOB torch has been the envy of a few of my crew!

Liverpool will soon be here so I must make the most of my last few days onboard. It does not feel like I've circumnavigated the world, I think it may take me a while to fully comprehend that its all over as well as all that I've achieved. I thank you and apologise in advance for all the stories that I shall be telling for the rest of my life!

I can not wait to see everyone in Liverpool, no doubt there will be tears but here's to the next adventure!


Until Race Start : The Atlantic Trade Winds Leg Map + Race Standings