Mission possible for Mission Performance’s fearless females

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The three female round-the-world crew members remaining on Mission Performance made a pact to complete the circumnavigation together. As they return into the ‘home’ waters of the Atlantic, they are looking forward to completing their ambition. 

With a number of Mission Performance’s crew leaving the race due to injury, the three fearless females Sophie Hetherton (19), Kate Davidson (25) and Claire Carroll (37), have pledged to support each other through the tough conditions so they can complete their journey together. 

Claire Carroll, a sound engineer from Dumfries, UK, said the trio made the commitment to keep going and keep each other motivated, within the depleted core team of round-the-world crew members remaining on board. 

“Kate, Sophie and I all found we had similar motives - we wanted to race and push the boat as hard as we could. We are pretty tightly knit. I always say that the only way I'm going back into London is on the boat as a circumnavigator so I don't have an option to get off, serious injury permitting. Sophie and Kate feel the same, so it's really good to have that strength there. 

“We learnt that to feel a sense of achievement you just had to get stuck in. Losing some of our crew mates through injury has been tough but in some ways it has made us realise that we don't want to get off.” 

Kate Davidson, a bartender from Georgia, USA, said the three were too stubborn to quit and it was nice to know that they will have each other through to the end. It’s also tough coping with the fleeting relationships made with crewmembers who may only be participating for a single leg. 

“It feels terrible to watch people you really like and get on with leave the boat when they have finished their leg, and I think any one of us would feel guilty about doing that to each other and Matt, our skipper. Ultimately we are the core of this boat. 

“Time together tends to be either on deck during happy hour or while one of us is on Mother Watch. We'll always gravitate to each other to talk about silly things like crazy cheese-induced dreams or show off particularly spectacular bruises. 

“The best thing about having Sophie and Claire around is just that we do really understand each other. If we're on deck I can count on them to be in the right place at exactly the right time for any sail evolution. Likewise, I know we can share frustrations and stresses and the occasional exhaustion-related cry,” Kate added. 

Sophie, a student from York, UK, is the youngest female crew member on this edition of the Clipper Race. She said: “I accepted this whole race was going to be tough physically and mentally but I was never sure how I was going to react to it. 

“What I have found is that I love the physical hard work, the hard days are what make part of the experience for me and when you return from the bow after getting thrown by waves and pulling down sails that are being difficult it give me a sense of achievement that we did it and hopefully no one was hurt. 

“I always love the first evening in port. We arrive in after finishing a race and we can all sit down, talk and even laugh at the times when we were frustrated. It's only then that I can start to comprehend what we have just achieved. It was tough and relentless but we got through and I am that one bit closer to saying I have sailed round the world.”