New York Fire Department make it a day to remember for Clipper Race crew  

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Clipper Race crew members have adapted to braving storms and extreme conditions during the past ten months after racing through some of the planet’s toughest oceans, but they faced a bravery challenge of a very different kind today at the New York Fire Academy. 

In an invitation to experience just what it it takes to be known as New York’s bravest, the FDNY hosted Clipper Race crew members for a special training day in north Manhattan, where training facilities include a wide range of buildings, structures and situations designed to simulate authentic fire and danger scenarios encountered within in the city.

Male and female crew members from Old Pulteney, Team Garmin, Jamaica Get All Right, Qingdao, Mission Performance, Derry~Londonderry~Doire and GREAT Britain were kitted out in full firefighting clothing and protective gear and FDNY firefighters guided them through a series of real life scenarios, including extinguishing a car fire, entering a burning building and carrying out a high rise rescue, which involved traversing down a building from the top floor.

FDNY Health and Fitness Director, Lt Mike Cacciola, a veteran firefighter with more than 25 years’ service, trains all of New York’s firefighter recruits. He explained: “We invited the Clipper Race crew to experience a taste of what happens on a daily basis in our world while they are visiting New York. I was surprised at how resilient they all were. They rose to the occasion without fear and participated competently in every event, and we really enjoyed having them here.”

As a reward for all the efforts and hard work, Qingdao crew member and London chef Lawrence Lingard took the opportunity to crew invite the FDNY team down to North Cove Marina to tour the yachts as a personal thank you.

He cooked up a feast of chilli wraps, followed by apple crumble and custard.

After touring the boats, Lt Pete Critsimilios noted: “There are certainly comparisons between the Clipper Race crews and the FDNY in terms of the training, leadership, doing your fair share and being a good team member. It’s quite apparent that these boats don’t go anywhere unless there is a team effort involved and that is certainly emblematic of the New York Fire Department, where putting out a fire takes a collaborative effort.”

Lt Mike added: “After working with the crew today and coming down to see the boats, I have a much greater understanding of the challenge they are undertaking. I didn’t realise the scale of the race, before, it is incredible and I have so much respect for them all.

“I know they thanked us for making them feel welcome at the Academy but in return, coming down and meeting the crews and getting a greater insight into their world was a memorable experience for us also. We wish them all success and safe travel in their homeward journey. New York Fire Department salutes you all.”

Mike Carter from Team Garmin summarised his experience: “We had an incredible day today with the New York Fire Department. To get the chance to actually walk in their shoes was an amazing and rarely given opportunity.  We were really put through our paces, in some pretty incredible and authentic feeling situations. It certainly makes you realise and respect what these guys do for us.

“It was really fascinating to learn the drills and witness first-hand the teamwork that resonates through their department. It is like a brotherhood which is similar to the Clipper Race. You become a family that look out for one another and work together in each other’s best interests to achieve the end result. It’s by far one of the best events of my Clipper Race experience, thank you to the FDNY for having us.”

Patrick “Paddy” Hayes from Mission Performance said: “This was an unforgettable day. The drills were so much fun and everyone at the Fire Academy was so welcoming and they made us feel confident in everything we did.

“The Fire Department treat each other like family, and the same is true within the Clipper Race. You only achieve by working together and trusting each other and to notice that today, so strongly, between two completely different, but fundamentally similar organisations, was a very powerful and affirming experience. What a day, thank you to everyone at the New York Fire Academy.”

Race 14 to Derry Londonderry starts Saturday 7 June.

To view the images from the FDNY Clipper Race Day, click HERE