Given it’s the halfway point of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, it’s not surprising that all eleven teams are undergoing a big makeover as we say goodbye to some crew and welcome new ones on board. However, there a few familiar faces returning, with several alumni crew taking on the challenge of the Asia Pacific Leg 5 for Unicef.
IMAGE: Asia Pacific Leg 5 joiners.
IMAGE: new Leg 5 crew with PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell.
Clement Lee, a 39 year old Management Consultant, is one who has returned, swapping the snow in Alberta, Canada, for the sunshine in the Whitsundays ahead of Race 7.
IMAGE: Liverpool 2018 crew member Clement Lee.
“There was a little bit of anxiety in the last couple of weeks but now that I’m here I feel like I’m ready,” says Clement.
“It’s great to join up with what looks like a great crew.
“It’s always the excitement that makes you want to do it again. You get to get into a different routine and it’s good to get away from work for a little while! It’s also nice to just being able to enjoy being on the water for a while.”
Clement will be joining the team aboard Liverpool 2018 for the 5,954 nautical mile Leg 5 which is made up of two races, the Whitsundays to Sanya, and Sanya to Qingdao. After taking part in Legs 2 and 8 on ClipperTelemed+ in the Clipper 2015-16 Race, he is looking forward to the new challenge of racing to China and crossing the equator.
“It’s very exciting to be racing to Sanya. I was there a few years ago competing in dragon boat racing and it is really an up and coming area, great resort town, so I’m really looking forward to being back.”
IMAGE: Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck and crew.
Sanya will be a totally new destination for Denise Oakley, who is returning for a third consecutive Clipper Race campaign, this time on board Qingdao.
“It’s always exciting when you get to race to a new place,” says Denise.
“The first time I went into Singapore, the second time was into Da Nang, and this time will be Sanya. It just adds so much more to it.
“But I really enjoyed the race to Qingdao last time, it was actually the better of the two races. We had a massive storm which was quite interesting but the crew really gelled at that point. I always like going into Qingdao because you have that massive welcome but it will be amazing to be able to come into a home port this time!”
IMAGE: Denise during the Clipper 2015-16 Race.
This will be the second time the 62-year-old from Newport, UK, who went round the world in the Clipper 2013-14 Race and did Leg 5 in 2015-16, has begun her race in the Whitsundays and she couldn’t be happier to be back.
“It’s brilliant to be back in the Whitsundays, I really like this place.
“I retired two years ago so to come out here in the sun whilst it’s cold at home is lovely. I’ve just been scuba diving in Cairns so it’s sort of like having a holiday and then tagging the race on.
“I like the challenge and it’s always a different challenge when you’re on the Clipper Race. You have different people on board every time so the whole dynamic is always different so it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens on this race.”
After officially registering with the Race Office, Denise and Clement gathered with the other Leg 5 joiners for a meet and greet at Abell Point Marina. It will be one of the last times for the new Clipper Race crew to relax before the preparation for race start ramps up. The teams will depart the Whitsundays for Sanya on Monday 29 January and you can catch all the excitement on the Clipper Race Facebook Live page.Join The Race