Garmin Clipper 2017-18 Race Highlights

30 August 2018

Garmin was a team that went from strength to strength with every Leg of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, and the hard work was well rewarded with a fourth place overall finish in Liverpool.

You always knew when Garmin was coming. Nicknamed early on as his Pirates by Skipper Gaetan Thomas, the Garmin crew would regularly break into song, with the particular favourite set to the tune ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’. The stentorian cry of ‘oh when Garmin…’ from round the world crew member Dave West became a much-loved feature of every arrival.

IMAGE: Garmin seals third place in Race 2 to Cape Town.

Cape Town was a special Stopover for Garmin, with the team finishing third and achieving its first race pennant. Upon arriving at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Skipper Gaetan said: “It’s a good feeling to have clinched a podium. It’s a big relief after we worked so hard.”

Garmin really came together as a team during Race 3. Round the world crew member Erik Hellstrom became ill halfway across the Southern Ocean and after some excellent care on board, particularly by fellow round the worlder and Doctor Nell Wyatt, Erik ultimately had to be medivaced to an Australian Air Force Submarine Support Vessel. Thankfully, Erik made a full recovery and re-joined the boat for Legs 7 and 8, and wrote soon after leaving Seattle that it was “nice to come 'home' again and catch up with all old and new friends.”

IMAGE: Erik back on board and doing sail repair with Nell.

2017 ended on a big high, with Garmin securing its second podium after finishing third in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which doubled as Race 5. Two more podiums were to come, with Garmin blitzing Leg 8 with back to back third places. The two pennants were the icing on the cake for crew member Nell, who said: “The year has been an extraordinary cacophony of emotions; much laughter and fun with a motley group of strangers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds many of whom have become great friends. I do feel that by completing this race and our circumnavigation against all odds that nature can throw at us that that goal has been achieved and for that I am very grateful.”

IMAGE: Big waves during the race across the mighty North Pacific.

What really made a difference on the leaderboard in the end was the bonus points the team accrued along the way. Garmin was the undisputed champion of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, with the team earning a fleet high of 14 bonus points in the sprint, setting fast times in Race 1, Race 8, Race 9, Race 11, Race 12, and Race 13.

IMAGE: The Garmin team with their third place pennant in Derry-Londonderry.

Pennants and accolades weren’t the only highlights for the Garmin team. Round the world crew member Bill Lyons wrote in a crew blog: “A legger was asking me the other day which has been my favourite leg so far and I was honestly stuck for an answer. Yes, we look at the sea and sky a lot, but no two days are the same and you feel joy with every sunrise or play of the light.

“We've seen countless shooting stars, a moonbow (a rainbow at night, extraordinary!!), dolphins frisking the phosphorescence into laser beams, whales breaching, jellyfish the size of a dining table that glow a luminous purple, a total eclipse of a full moon, waves bigger than apartment blocks, suicidal squids on the deck and today a seabird has floated past - taking a ride on a turtle. Whatever my future holds, I never want to stop taking the opportunity to explore our planet.”

IMAGE: Round the world crew member Mick Pattni during the Panama Canal transit.

The great team spirit on board the Garmin ‘Black Pearl’ was also a highlight for all on board. Round the world crew member Simon Talfourd, who was only initially signed up for Leg 1, said: “The worlders on Garmin are a special bunch (you might say a motley crew... but I'll go with unique). Unsurprisingly after living together for over eleven months we know each other very well but we also seem to still like one another.

“I have a lot of respect for what we've done and I now have a smelting pot of friends for life. Although I'm still holding all the worlders responsible for bullying me into doing round the world, I was only meant to be away for 6 weeks!”

IMAGE: Round the world crew member Simone hard at work during Race 2 to Cape Town.

Fellow circumnavigator Gerardo Injoque from Lima, Peru, added: “This has been the hardest challenge of my life and - as I suspected - I'm coming back to normal life as a different person... a better person. As all my crew mates know, this experience puts you out of your comfort zone in sooooo many ways... and that's very good because being out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow. I feel quite privileged to have been able to do this now... old enough to appreciate the lessons but young enough to have time to put them into action.”

Well done Garmin!

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