Future Crew Catch Up – Meet Deepak Pande

16 January 2015

This week, we catch up with 2015-16 crew member Deepak Pande from Mumbai, one of only six Indians to take part in the race since its inception in 1996.

More than 40 different countries took part in the last edition of the race and the Clipper 2015-16 Race is set to be an equally diverse mix of nationalities.

Deepak has completed three of the four levels of compulsory training at our Clipper Race Australia HQ so that he could experience sailing in the iconic Sydney Harbour.

A keen sailor, Deepak tells us about his race experience so far.

Name: Deepak Pande
Age: 48
Nationality: Indian
Occupation: Telecommunications
Signed up for: Clipper 2015-16 Race, Leg 8

What led you to sign up for the Clipper Race?
I have been sailing small keel boats and dinghies in Mumbai and always wanted to take it to the next level. I joined a local sailing club to do a course on cruising and my instructor told me about the Clipper Race. I looked up the race website and here I am!

Why did you choose Leg 8?
Actually, my biggest worry has always been the cold. I am used to sailing in shorts, T-shirt and bare feet in India. Leg 8 just seemed right at all levels – it has the right temperatures, multiple races, and an ocean crossing.

What have you found the most challenging so far?
I decided to do my Level 2 and 3 training courses back to back. It was exhausting. There is so much information coming your way that processing it, as well as acting on it requires considerable focus and effort. Working with the spinnaker was a great experience and maintaining sail trim an almost constant endeavour.

I feel the key challenge for me was to get into the rhythm - once you get in the groove then everything is fine. For me the real tough part of the training was the food. I am used to food, which is much spicier and meal times on board weren't so much fun, until I discovered a tin of lime pickle in the galley.

What advice would you give to someone preparing for their Clipper Race training?
This is especially for people like me who have never sailed on a big boat, or sailed at all. There is a lot of new information that you are going to learn. Don't be overwhelmed by it, focus on the task and try to get it right. It will all come together. For the days that you come back to shore, there is nothing that a hot shower, a cold beer and a good night’s sleep does not cure.

What do your family and friends think about you doing the race?
Everyone around me is very excited - my family, friends and co-workers! I don’t think there are many people from India who have done the Clipper Race, so a lot of people wait to hear from me about my training experience and some have also started following sailing races. My family have been wonderfully supportive of my plans. I remember when I first told my wife that I was thinking about applying, the only thing she said to me was "just do it."

The 2015-16 race starts on Sunday August 30, 2015 and will be the tenth edition series. Crew places are now 80 per cent full but places are still available on most legs. We are also recruiting for the 2017-18 edition of the race.

If you would like to join Deepak, find out more here.

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