“Would you have thought to do that?” Share your Clipper Race ‘One Key Lesson’ and help inspire future race generations.

Back to archive

As you may already know, Clipper Ventures and Learning and Development Partner, Mission Performance are appealing to crew members to submit ‘One Key Lesson’ from your personal Clipper Race experience.

What is the ‘One Key Lesson’ idea?
We are looking for your most powerful learnings from this race. Specifically, any story that illustrates what individual crew members, a skipper or a team did to perform really well or to overcome key challenges. 

Stories may cover a single event or the entire leg/race or simply a moment onboard that inspired or motivated you to give more to your crew mates. All crew and skippers are invited to submit.

Mission Performance has a successful track record of taking lessons from challenging environments and sharing them with the wider world. Their experienced consultants cover ocean racing, polar exploration, combat operations on the battlefield, mountaineering, disaster relief operations, professional theatre and elite sports. 

The logic is simple: If ordinary people can get extraordinary performance out of themselves and those around them in such challenging environments, then these lessons are worth exploring.

The aim is to share the personal lessons and wisdom of those that have completed this unique challenge to inform, inspire and coach future crew members and best prepare skippers for the challenges of leading and managing their boats to best performance levels.

We are hoping for positive, inspiring stories but a negative one can also reveal important lessons. In either case, you can be specific about names, places and circumstances or you can remain anonymous if you prefer.

How will ‘One Key Lesson’ be shared?
Mission Performance plans to publish the submissions in a book and make them available by Spring 2015 to you, your friends and families, 15-16 and 17-18 crew and anybody who is fascinated by how people achieve in the most trying circumstances. Proceeds will be donated to the RNLI and to fund future crew.

How to get involved
To submit your ‘One Key Lesson,’ please email your story in the following format to: [email protected]  

“My One Key Lesson” ….

You can also tweet @MissionTeam using the #1KeyLesson

The deadline for submission is 31 August 2014


Here's an inspiring submission to get you thinking:

“My One Key Lesson”

My story is not a single event, but a host of small almost unnoticed events.Individually – pretty insignificant. But collectively – so powerful.Here are a few that helped give me the best 5 weeks of my life……….so far!

Would you have thought to do that?

Imagine this: One of the daily checks is the steering gear in the lazarette. No one likes this job. It’s your turn & you are feeling sea sick but haven’t told anyone. You open the hatch. Your next move will be to lower yourself down & enter a dark cave that reeks of diesel. It will be a long slow job in this smelly confined space as you move rubbish bags to clear room so that you can crawl, first to the port side then to starboard. You gag a little as you prepare to climb below. A crew mate taps you on the shoulder & says ‘Your eye sight is better than mine. If I do the lazarette, will you do the rigging checks for me?

Would you have thought to do that?

Or this:You are on mother watch & have spent the day cooking & cleaning at 45 degrees, in big seas with many tacks. I can promise you this is hell! The final washing up & cleaning regime has taken longer than normal in these conditions and your bunk is way overdue. You know it’s cold, wet & miserable on deck so you stick your head out the hatch & shout ‘Anyone fancy a hot cup of soup?’ You cannot see the faces under the hoods, but you can hear the delighted ‘Yes pleases.’ It’s another hour before you finally find the warmth of your sleeping bag.

Would you have thought to do that?

Or even this: It’s hot. I mean hot. The surface water temperature is 30 degrees. On deck it’s 40+ and below is off the Richter scale. The wind picked up quickly & there was a hurried drop of a spinnaker which was replaced by a yankee. It was a tough, rushed affair & didn’t go smoothly. You are all hot & exhausted and finally slump on deck for a well-deserved rest. A team is below ‘wooling’ the spinnaker which must then be bagged & stowed in the sail locker. All in furnace like heat. You get up & climb down the hatch, tap a flagging crew mate on the shoulder & say "Let me take over, you go get some fresh air."

Would you have thought to do that?

Or finally this: It’s been a pig of a watch. Cold, wet and exhausting. You clamber down below in full foulies & along with 8 other bodies you struggle to de-robe at a 45 degree angle. You all have just one thought, to get undressed as quickly as possible and hit your bunk. With frozen fingers, you are fighting to pull your smock over your head and it jams around your neck (a common occurrence). You cannot see anything & you are being bounced around when there is a tug – you are free – and there is the grinning face of a crew mate gripping your smock.So simple, but in those conditions, would you have thought to do that?

Key Lesson: 1.Be conscious & aware of your crew mates’ feelings, at all times.

Key Lesson: 2.Remember Key Lesson 1, even when you are at your lowest ebb.

It’s not the moments of heroism I remember; it’s the moments of kindness. You know who you are. Thank you. 

Ross Turnbull
Mission Performance
Leg 1, Port Watch