​Clipper 2019-20 Race Crew #ReasonToRace: Heather Broadbent

29 November 2018

NAME: Heather Broadbent

AGE: 50

NATIONALITY: UK

HOMETOWN: Cheshire, UK

LEGS: Full circumnavigation

Heather Broadbent, a self-employed gardener and PA from Cheshire, UK, is planning to swap flower beds for rolling ocean waves next year as she takes on one of the most epic endurance challenges on the planet; the full 40,000nm Clipper Race circumnavigation.

We caught up with Heather who shares her #ReasonToRace with us.

After turning fifty Heather decided it was about time for a grown up gap year and, after watching the Clipper 2017-18 Race Finish on TV, immediately Googled the sailing event. Heather explains: “I knew about the race as I have watched it in previous years but it had never really clicked that it was a race for amateur crews. I wrongly made the assumption its crews were professional sailors.

“The fact that Wendy (Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper in the 2017-18 edition) was the first female skipper to win the race and Nikki (Skipper of the Visit Seattle team) came in a close second piqued my interest. I saw the tagline ‘It could be you’, read some of the crew biographies and filled in the form. Next thing I knew I was meeting Della (Clipper Race Recruitment Director) in Liverpool. The rest is history as they say.

“I had been looking for a new adventure and nothing else seemed right. At first I was considering doing a single leg, the Atlantic crossing, but then it snowballed into signing up for all of it.

Losing her husband to cancer at a young age, Heather has faced a fair few challenges in her life as she cared for her husband whilst raising her two daughters and foster children. Unafraid of hard work, Heather set her mind to charity fundraising. She says: “With a small group of friends I started a charity fundraising called ‘505050’ we set ourselves a target to raise £50,000 for local cancer charities by arranging a series of ’50' themed events. These included a 50 mile run, a 50 mile bike ride, teams of five running ten miles and several 5km Santa runs for our local hospice.

We smashed the target raising £100k. This time I am hoping to raise awareness and hopefully £40k for the charity. That is only £1 per mile so should be a piece of cake.”

The Clipper Race is like nothing Heather has ever done before and something she is wholeheartedly embracing. Reflecting on her progress made during the first two of four training levels, Heather says: “I absolutely loved every minute. It was amazing to learn so many new skills. I thought the quality of the teaching was second to none and it really put my mind at ease that we will be fully prepared for this adventure. I soon realised that I learn better by seeing and doing rather than talking. So the hands on approach suited me perfectly.

“I was surprised at how quickly the weeks went by and felt really emotional to leave my new pals and the training boat. Heaven help me when I get attached to my team and the Clipper 70 that will be my home for 11 months.”

In addition meeting new people, Heather is looking forward to visiting an array of new places and learning new skills.. She says: “I am looking to push myself to the limit to achieve something extraordinary”

Heather adds: “Being away from my family will be the hardest part of the challenge. Tiredness when cold and wet will be tough. I am sure there will be times that I will wonder why on earth I am putting myself through something so gruelling and relentless.”

Heather has a huge support network. She explains: “My family and friends are all hugely supportive of my adventure. My Dad is SO proud. He is a charter skipper based in Port St Mary, Isle of Man, taking wildlife and birdwatching trips. After spending his whole life on the water he is really looking forward to hearing about my adventure.”

Keep up to date with Heather’s progress as she gears up for the race of her life, the Clipper Race circumnavigation, via her blog, https://dreamitnowdoit.com/.

Want to join Heather and circumnavigate the globe? To find out more and apply for the race of your life, hit the button below.

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