Daughters racing against their Dads wish them a Happy Father’s Day

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Two daughters racing their fathers across the Atlantic have wished them a Happy Father’s Day today. 

Lizzy Fitzsimmons, now on Old Pulteney after doing Legs 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 on OneDLL, is racing against her father, Leg 1, 2 and 8 crew member David Fitzsimmons on Henri Lloyd. Lizzy’s mother and David’s wife Wendy did the Clipper 2011-12 Race. 

And skipper of Switzerland Vicky Ellis’ father is on his last leg of his eight year solo circumnavigation on his boat Fleck, also crossing the Atlantic at the same time as Vicky and the Clipper Race fleet on Leg 8. 

Lizzy said it has been brilliant to know that whoever wins, when arriving in port the other one will be there waiting to help catch lines and give out the first beer. 

“It is competitive between us at times, but all good natured.  I was there waiting for him in Brest, and unfortunately it was the other way round in Rio and Cape Town”, she said. 

“The best in port memory was in Rio. We were all so busy as it was a super short stopover and having made all these plans to see the sights we all seemed to run out of time, so at 4pm one evening Dad and I ran away from the marina and hot footed it across town to Sugar Loaf Mountain. We managed to get one of the last cable cars up just in time for sunset, had a beer and some pringles, it was brilliant and really the first chance we had to catch up on all the Transatlantic action from Henri Lloyd and OneDLL. 

“It has also meant that I have a secondary team of friends that I know really well. It is always fun to have some close racing with them, and the two boats have developed a closer relationship for it I think, even when neither of us were on board. 

“This all stemmed from when my mum did the Clipper 2011 - 12 Race so it really is a family affair, so the credit really has to go to my mum Wendy. 

“It is just so much fun to have him around. I spoke to him yesterday when we were overtaking Henri Lloyd (just a minor detail!) so it was good to hear his voice. Happy Father’s Day dad!” 

David Fitzsimmons added: "I have loved seeing Lizzy embrace all the challenges of the Clipper Race experience, and become an accomplished sailor.  I know it has been, and still is, a wonderful experience for her that will stay with her forever. It has been wonderful to welcome each other into port. It was very special to see her lovely smiling face on the pontoon as we arrived in Rio.  I am grateful to Wendy for taking the brave step that got us all started." 

Vicky Ellis said her father was a wise cruiser whom she had had many adventures on the sea with. 

"My Dad Richard made me my first boat, a wooden optimist, when I was 8.  it was called Promise because that is what I got for Christmas, a piece of wood wrapped up and a promise it would be turned in to a boat by the spring! 

"He patiently pushed me out from the shore at the local sailing club on a Sunday,  calling out useful tips as he lapped me on the race course in his own boat and I worked out how to get mine moving!  Every summer we would enter a sailing regatta in Cornwall together as a family and here I learnt about sailing in sea waves, racing in tides and getting towed back in by the safety boats!!

"We first started our sailing adventures together when i was a teenager when he bought a small yacht and kept it in Cornwall. We explored the French coast, the Channel Islands and had many adventures.  We learnt a lot about sailing together, like tidal streams, pilotage around rocks and how not to dry your boat out alongside a harbour wall! 

"When dad retired, he swapped his coastal cruiser for a sturdy boat capable of getting him around the world and set off.  That was 2006 and I flew out to the Canary Islands before his first transatlantic crossing to make sure he had packed enough tins of beans onboard!   I took 3 months off work a few years later and spent it with Dad in the South Pacific, sailing from the Marquesa Islands to Tonga.  It was one of the best three months of my life, a great adventure and quality father-daughter time, totally uncomplicated by everyday life.  It inspired me to take up sailing full time in search of this adventure I'm now on. 

"His voyage on Fleck is nearly at an end as he is now en route to the UK at the end of his circumnavigation.  Mine on board Switzerland will be finishing around the same time.  What we shall do once we have washed the salt out of our skin I do not know but the salt is in both of our bloods so I doubt we will ever be able to stay away from the sea!

“He spends half the year at sea and the other half at home, and by solo I mean when he can't keep the other members of his family or friends off the boat!  He will be finishing his voyage in Fowey in Cornwall about the same time we will be finishing our race in London.  

“He has been chasing the Clipper Race fleet since we arrived back in the Atlantic, albeit it on a shorter race course going from the Caribbean to Bermuda, where he is leaving from now, then on to the Azores then the UK.  Although I can't share this last leg with him in person (my youngest sister gets that luck) at least we can share a weather system or two as we cross the Atlantic together. Here's hoping for fair winds all round.

"Happy Father's Day Dad from on board Switzerland.”

The ladies on board Derry~Londonderry~Doire (pictured) have also wished their fathers a Happy Father's Day from mid-Atlantic, as did skipper Sean McCarter in his daily skipper's report.