Crew Catch Up: Dana Nichols
23 April 2016
American Dana Nichols is a round the world crew member on board Visit Seattle. Before starting the Clipper Race, she was a tax accountant based in California who had never sailed before.
Dana admits that before the race, she was looking for something different to do and escape the daily routine. A keen traveller, Dana says that she usually picks trips that have some level of adventure and challenge her in some physical capacity, which is what interested her most about the race.
Here she tells us how she is adapting to life on the ocean and details how her race experience has been going so far.
She says: “It was fantastic to arrive back on home soil and we had a wonderful welcome into the city of Seattle. Everything feels home to me here. Even though I am not in my home state I feel like I am back in normal life not boat life anymore.
“Now we are here having crossed the North Pacific and crossed almost 30,000 nautical miles, it has started sinking in that this adventure is coming to an end soon. I haven’t really thought about it up until now. It’s only starting to feel more real that I will have to go back to normal life soon.
“When I get back home I am not sure what I am going to do yet. I may continue travelling for a while after the race and maybe visit all the new friends I have made along the way. I think everyone has reserved a place on their couch for me I hope!
“I am a very shy person when you first meet me although anyone doing the race would not think that! I have learnt a lot about myself and to be more open and I think I am definitely more confident than I used to be when I meet people for the first time, I have learnt to be myself and that’s ok. I have always wanted to learn how to sail but never like this, I wanted to do cruising sailing, I am looking forward to continuing to sail and have already had offers from crew members with boats to join then on trips after the race.
“I think I have developed as a sailor but I would say that I am still not physically as strong as some of my team mates. I know that I can take what I have learnt on this experience into other areas of my life. You learn a lot from even from just living with other people on board and my favourite thing is learning about people, it inspires me.
“I could be biased but I still think we have the best team on the fleet. I feel that all of the crew we get on each leg are amazing. Maybe the other teams feel the same but we always mesh really well and as a circumnavigator it’s fun to have a new injection of crew every leg of the race. We have quite a mix of nationalities on board Visit Seattle and I am becoming British, Dutch and Spanish - these are all the languages I am learning on the boat. We all have the same sense of adventure and like-mindedness so that helps us get along, of course we have our ups and downs and it can be tough, but generally we are a great team.
“I have been telling people that my favourite race so far is the North Pacific. I absolutely loved it, it was cold and wet the entire time but besides that the waves we saw were just amazing, I have never seen anything like that in my life before and surfing down them was the greatest feeling. That by far was the best thing, but Leg 4 the All-Australian leg has a special place in my heart too, particularly for the Sydney to Hobart Race which was really cool, especially with all the other boats we were racing with.
“The most challenging race for me was the race from Airlie Beach, Australia to Da Nang, Vietnam because it was so hot and such a long race, I found that very mentally challenging. The more my journey continues, the more and more support I get from people, my friends and family, even just people I talk to about it think it’s really inspiring and want to know about my journey. My whole family and some of my friends are coming to Seattle to see me and I am looking forward to showing them the boat.
“This race has shown me that I can do whatever I want and that you shouldn’t wait, if you want something do it now.”
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