This week, we catch up with Zimbabwe born Briton, Muchi Lukhezo from London who was introduced to sailing whilst living in Cape Verde and working a crew under a South African skipper. He first heard about the race whilst working on board a charter cruiser when he saw the ‘Against the Tide’ Clipper Race series.
Muchi recently completed his Level 3 training and shares why he has found his experience exhilarating.
Name: Muchi Lukhezo
Occupation: IT Trainer
Signed up for: Clipper 2015-16 Race, Leg 5
What led you to sign
up for the Clipper Race?
The race is an epic 'life' experience, like climbing Everest or trekking to the poles, and it clicked with me. I fully expect it to be wild and testing, but it will also be educational and exhilarating - I fully expect to be positively changed by it. My life in general, not only as a pre-pubescent Zimbabwean immigrant to the UK, has dragged me through all sorts of hedges backwards, and I've experienced enough failures to inure me to the fear of them, and the Clipper Race presents a few more fears that I want to face down.
I am a life-long geek and like to be good at what I do. The Clipper Race Training is simply world-class and unique - not just training to sail, but to race, professionally. I am consciously investing in a new skill if not a profession and life-long passion, with the best. I want to become a good sailor, and to sail and race for the rest of my life.
What made you sign up
for Leg 5?
I want to do the whole circumnavigation, but I cannot afford it. Leg 5 has several aspects that make it the natural choice for me:
is the longest leg of the race and I want to maximise participation,
my sailing experience and miles if I am to pursue sailing qualifications
in the aftermath.
2. There's an Equator crossing, possibly with a trophy stint in the Doldrums.
3. I will turn 49 whilst on the race.
4. Sailing conditions will vary from balmy Australia to a Chinese winter.
5. I want to sail past and through romantic and exotic places I have heard about throughout my life.
What has been
the highlight of your Clipper Race experience so far?
I am enjoying meeting and bonding with the skippers, other Clipper Race staff and, of course, my training crew mates. It is a giddy experience getting to know all these well-grounded, intelligent, adventurous, interesting and fun people.
I consider myself a sportsman, and my job as an IT trainer generally confines me to the indoors all day for weeks at a time, so getting out and breaking a sweat has great recuperative powers for me. I also love the way the training forces me to forget about work and anything else I may have carried to Gosport with me.
What have you found
the most challenging so far?
Most of my challenges are in my daily life, being constrained by the academic calendar, as well as financial challenges in accruing good kit, paying insurance and so on.
I am a perfectionist, so most negativity tends to be internal, kicking myself to do better when I feel I am under-performing. I had a 1-year gap between level 1 and level 2 training so getting back into what I thought I was already good at was quite a personally humbling moment! However, the skippers and crew-mates did not say anything if they noticed, and I bounced back to some self-respecting shape.
What do your
family and friends think about you doing the race?
Zimbabwe, the land of my birth, is land-locked - we have no coast. My family generally don't get this whole sailing thing - "But why?" is a common question. Happily, I have won over my nearest and dearest siblings, and their children are starting to feel something by osmosis!
The kind of money I'm investing in this endeavour can help ameliorate some family strife here and back in Zimbabwe, and for people who think in those terms I am quite mad and even disloyal. My social back-ground in London is no more conducive. No-one in my circles sails as such, and money tends to be spent on stuff rather than experiences, especially as friends get married and have children. So they are supportive, but they have their own priorities I have no interest in compromising for my little adventure. Generally, I'm the 'black sheep' of the family to the adults and 'the crazy uncle' to the kids, but am confident that the penny will drop once they have seen me actually do it, and I don't mind.
Want to join Muchi? Contact Crew Recruitment Manager, Della Parsons firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 2392 526 000.Join The Race