Don’t miss the boat - Clipper 2015-16 Race now 70% full

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The Clipper 2015-16 Race is now 70% full after a surge of crew sign-ups over recent weeks.

The 2015-16 Clipper Race, starting next summer, will be the bi-annual events 10th Anniversary series and the second circumnavigation for the Clipper 70 fleet.

Over 400 crew are now signed up from 28 nationalities, including the UK, Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Sweden and more. The race will also welcome its first ever crew members from South Korea, Colombia, Latvia and Bulgaria.

The only race of its kind for amateur sailors, crew member occupations are also vast and varied, already representing over 100 occupations including; Police Officers, Pilots, Teachers, Students, Nurses/Medical Professionals, Psychologists, Entrepreneurs, Firefighters, Pilots, Farmers, Engineers, a Travel Agent, a Soldier, a Pathologist, a Landscape Gardner, a Hotelier and a Cirque du Soleil Automation Manager, among many others. 

With Level 1 and 2 training already well in process, the adventure is fast becoming a reality for the future crew.

Elaine Hargreaves, 42, an Engagement Manager for Microsoft from St Albans, Hertfordshire starts her Level 1 training this weekend. She has signed up to be a 15-16 round the world crew member and explained the reason behind her decision. “It was a combination of factors - the death of my stepdad last August prompted me to think in a different way about what I wanted to do next in my life. I really want to live for the moment. After a few months of reflection and after a chance meeting with a friend of a friend who was talking about her yacht, I recalled some of the memories of learning to crew a 37ft yacht more than eight years ago when I was studying.  My mind then turned to yacht racing.

“In the past I have climbed mountains, raised money for charity or taken on challenges that lasted weeks or months and wanted to do something different - I searched on the internet and up came the Clipper Race. I must admit that I hadn't previously heard of it and started to read about it.” 
Asked what she is most looking forward to, Elaine said: “I like meeting new people from around the world of all ages and backgrounds and putting myself to the test. I'm going to have a fantastic opportunity to learn but I hope I can 'give back' too.

“I'd like to meet Mother Nature face to face and then be able to tell the tales of the difficult times and the most fun times too. I think the race experience begins the moment you decide to sign up and are accepted.”
Aaron Lomas, 39, an IT Manager from London, is signed up for Legs 5, 6, 7 and 8. He will be undergoing Level 2 training in October and explained: “I’m pretty active, have sport hobbies and have done a decent amount of travelling. So while I’m working in London I need to have regular breaks and travel experiences in order to keep me sane.

“In July 2013 I saw the tube advert, got the details and had a visit to the Clipper Race HQ scheduled for a couple of weeks later. In the meantime I told everyone I came across I’d be doing the Clipper Race - it’s a tactic I sometimes use to make sure I see things through to completion. If I tell enough people that I am going to do something, I can’t not do it without having to explain myself.

“What I am looking forward to on the race is the satisfaction of becoming a competent sailor - I hadn’t sailed before my Clipper Race training started. Also finding out more about what sort of person I am when times are tough, the anticipation before race starts, the exhilaration of racing a yacht at speed, creating memories that will always stay with you and forging bonds with people with whom you’ve gone through a lot together.  

“The biggest one I’m looking forward to though is crossing the North Pacific in winter - feeling completely alive, getting to appreciate first-hand the raw power and scale of nature in an environment that very few people would want to put themselves.  It doesn’t sound like much of the Pacific leg will be enjoyable at the time, but it does sound awe inspiring, possibly terrifying at times and above all utterly humbling. Not something that you conquer, but that you are permitted to endure.”

One crew member who knows exactly what the challenge will be like is Sascha Bonus, 45, an Office Manager from Vancouver, Canada. Sascha completed Legs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 on Old Pulteney in the 2013-14 race and is now signing up to do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 for 15-16.  

She explained: “In the Clipper Race questionnaire it asks what do you think the hardest part of the race will be. I said, the end. Having to get off the boat. This has definitely proven to be true for me. Although don't get me wrong, there were some other really hard parts to the race too. Being cold, wet, tired and sore. It's tough! But the feeling of accomplishment and the challenge you face multiple times a day is awesome! Working and living together as a team was such a great experience.

“When I got home I knew right away that my Clipper Race experience wasn't over. I wanted to do it again! Hands down this has been the best experience of my life.”

If you are still considering joining the Clipper 2015-16 Race next summer, don’t miss the boat. Places are filling up fast. Click here for more information and to book an interview to start the journey for the Race of Your Life. You can also speak directly to the Crew Team by calling 02392 526000 (Press 1).

Crew members must be 18 or over – there is no upper age limit. You can sign up for individual legs or the whole, eleven month circumnavigation. No previous sailing experience is required but you do need a strong sense of adventure and a desire to take on Mother Nature’s toughest conditions.