Future Crew Catch Up – Meet Steve Sonneveld

12 December 2014

In today’s edition of Future Crew Friday, we catch up with Steve Sonneveld from Hobart, Tasmania who is swapping his scrubs for wet weather gear to do Leg 5.

Steve recently completed his Level 1 training at our Sydney training centre in Australia, where crew can complete Levels 1 to 3 of the four compulsory courses right through until June 2015. The chance to experience his training in his home country was one of the reasons Steve signed up for the race this year.

Find out how Steve is getting on in his race adventure….so far.

Name: Steve Sonneveld
Signed up for:
Clipper 2015-16 Race, Leg 5

What led you to sign up for the Clipper Race?
I originally found out about it in 2000 from a boating magazine. I have always been interested in round the world solo sailing so may also have seen something online. Back then, the training was only available in the UK so not feasible for me due to time and funds.

I finally decided to enter the race when the Clipper Race fleet was in Hobart, Tasmania after the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race in 2013 after talking to one of the crew members on board. The availability of training in Sydney also made the race more accessible in terms of time and funds.

Although I still considered putting it off for a few more years, I finally made the decision to enter because my health is good and there are no guarantees in the future. Many people my age are either getting illnesses, injuries or dying so it is a case of now or never. Many people live with dreams, others decide to live them – why not?

Why did you choose Leg 5?
I have previously sailed in Hobart in the River Derwent and D’EntreCasteau channel (God’s paradise for sailing) for the last 15 years. I have sailed solo to New Zealand in the Roaring Forties so I decided to try something completely different. Leg 5 - sailing north across the Equator into different temperatures and weather zones - seems exciting and challenging. Having looked at what the last race dished out weather-wise it looks daunting, especially near Taiwan and China.

What has been the highlight of your Clipper Race experience so far?
I enjoyed the experience working with a crew. Each crew member brings different skills and personality to the experience. The whole thing is fun. The anticipation is also enjoyable. We all look forward to the next session either during the week of training or even when back home waiting for the next level of training.

What have you found most challenging so far?
Learning to work with a crew is fun and a challenge. Although I have sailed before, these boats are far bigger, faster and safe. Everything on these large ocean racing boats requires a team effort so there is a steep learning curve. I don’t delude myself into believing I know it all. There is plenty to learn – techniques, terminology and cooperation. My cooking skills are lacking and I doubt they will improve during the training – crew members beware!

What advice would you give to someone waiting to do their Level 1 training?
Go for it – enter the Clipper Race rather than sit on the sidelines and dream. Do not worry about your abilities. Whatever you can’t do, someone else can step in. You have skills someone else hasn’t. Everyone brings something personal to the experience and mix of crew.

What do your family and friends think about you taking part in the race?
My wife is very pragmatic. For any new clothes etc bought soon before a big event such as this, leave the tags on just in case I don’t return or lose too much weight so they can be returned to the shop. I suspect one daughter will follow suit and enter the race in the future. She is keen on sailing. My other children are not interested. Having said this, my family is supportive. For them it is win win. If I do the race, the grumpy old man is away; if I don’t return, they get their inheritance.

If you are interested in joining Steve in the next edition of the race that starts next summer, or a future race, contact us here.

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