Racing across the world’s oceans is no easy feat, and to
prepare for the challenge, crew members must complete a comprehensive training course
on board our fleet of ocean racers.
The race is a big venture that touches on the lives of not only the crew that take part, but their friends and family too. Recently, we caught up with Susanna Hetherton, the Aunt of 2013-14 round the world crew member Sophie, to see how she is preparing to join the unique alumni of Clipper Race sailors for the race of her life.
Name: Susanna (Susie) Hetherton
Lives in: York, North Yorkshire, UK
Occupation: Retired Teacher
Signed up for: 2015-16, Leg 7
What led you to sign up for the Clipper Race?
My eldest brother invited us to watch the start of the 2009-10 Race from Hull where we waved the crew off on their adventure. That influenced another brother of mine who began following the race and inspired his daughter Sophie to do the race. Sophie was a round the world crew member in the last edition of the race and was the youngest female on board.
Sophie’s achievement inspired me to sign up for the challenge, if she can do it as the youngest female; I hope to be able to do it as one of the oldest females!
Why did you choose Leg 7?
Leg 7 sounds really exciting and I am definitely a hot weather person! I would love to sail through the Panama Canal which is a once in a lifetime experience, it also covers the Pacific and a bit of the Atlantic so it sounded like the route for me.
How have you found your Clipper Race experience so far?
Over 30 years ago I lived in Bermuda and did a bit of sailing there but it was Gin at six o’clock sailing and very different from the race.
The race is my opportunity to learn how to sail and understand how it all works. I have found it a challenge but being on a watch system working as a team out at sea for Level 2 training has helped consolidate what I am learning, it’s great to understand and see how the winches, lines and ropes all work and why things have to be done in a particular order.
What has been the highlight so far?
Meeting new people and working together as a team has been great, and being at the helm, I love seeing the sails at work.
What do your family think about you taking part in the race?
They initially thought I was nuts, but my niece Sophie and my brother James have been really supportive, Sophie has been giving me lots of advice on packing and other parts of the race experience to prepare for.
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