Future Crew Catch Up – Meet Richard Foulkes

20 February 2015

This week, Clipper Race crew members around the world dusted off their sailing boots to take to the water for the first two training courses of the New Year.

Training in preparation for the biennial race this summer kick started after a short winter and summer break in our UK and Australian centres respectively. The first course of the year in the UK saw crew race on board a Clipper 70 for the first time in their Level 3 training.

On board was Richard Foulkes, who signed up for the race for the opportunity to experience big ocean racing in remote parts of the world. We caught up with Richard to find out why he thinks Level 3 is the most exciting so far and why he is considering adding more legs to his adventure.

Name: Richard Foulkes
Age:
58
Nationality:
British
Occupation:
Hospital Manager
Signed up for:
Clipper 2015-16 Race, Leg 4, 5 and 6

What led you to sign up for the Clipper Race?
I was vaguely aware of the race, then like a number of other people I was in London on the underground one day and I saw the race poster. I got home from work that evening, started searching on the internet and thought “oh yeah, that’s a good idea.” It all went from there really.

I tracked the last edition of the race on the Clipper Race website. For the Race Finish day, I went to London and went downriver on a river boat to watch the flotilla come into St Katharine Docks. It was a fantastic atmosphere, it was absolutely crowded but there was a really good buzz about it.

What made you sign up for Legs 4, 5 and 6?
Originally I had just signed up to do Legs 5 and 6 and then before Christmas last year once the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race was confirmed, I thought, I’ll just do that one as well and signed up for Leg 4!

Part of the logic behind my leg choices was that I wanted to do the Pacific. I was thinking that I will hopefully be able to the Atlantic one day in my own yacht but I thought I probably won’t get to do the Pacific. I’m wondering about adding another one or two legs and am trying to weigh it up with everything else that has to happen in life to see if it’s possible.

What has been the highlight of your Clipper Race experience so far?
One evening on my Level 3 training, we had a decent breeze, not too strong, but we had the spinnaker up and it was a lovely clear, starlit night. We were passing Portland Bill Lighthouse in Dorset and the light was flashing across the water at us. There were only two or three of us up on deck but everyone had their own job and it all ran really well.

I definitely found Level 3 the most exciting. I think partly because we were in the race boats themselves. One of the amazing things that we were commenting on during our final night of training, and this applies to all the levels of training, is that you get a bunch of complete strangers that meet up for their course, and within hours, if not minutes, everyone is starting to gel well and there is such a great spirit of co-operation and team work.

What have you found the most challenging so far?
I have not really had any low points, just some frustrations when I get things wrong or do something silly sometimes. But there is nothing that has made me doubt or think about not doing it.

What do your family and friends think about you doing the race?
My two daughters think it’s a really good idea. They have both sailed with me as well. My eldest daughter was the Commodore of the sailing club at her university. I think they’re rather jealous really.

I hope they will come out to Sydney. The original plan had been that they would come out to San Francisco, or wherever it is in the West Coast of the States that Leg 6 finishes. But then when I added Leg 4, we sort of thought maybe Christmas in Sydney would be a nice idea.

If you would like to join Richard on Legs 4, 5 and 6 get in touch as places are filling fast with limited availability. The race is now more than 80 per cent full with Leg 1: Trade Winds to Brazil, Leg 7: America Coast to Coast and Leg 8: The Homecoming 100 per cent full and only 18 round the world places available.

The Clipper 2015-16 Race starts on Sunday August 30, 2015 and will be the tenth edition series.

To find out more, click here

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