Globetrotter’s Circumnavigation by Rail and Sail

18 June 2016

As our round the world crew members prepare to join a very elite club upon completion of their global challenge in six weeks’ time, the achievements of all of our ocean racing ‘leggers’ will also be celebrated.

Lucy Nunn, a 38 year old solicitor from Greenwich joined the race in Qingdao for the final three legs, but by the time Lucy arrives into London on 30 July, she will have completed a circumnavigation of her own. Setting off from the UK in January, she travelled by ferry and train across Europe, Russia and China before meeting her Visit Seattle crew mates to cross the Pacific.


I left London in January and took the ferry to Holland and that was the start of my overland journey from London to China. I’m doing my own little circumnavigation, including the Clipper Race as part of it but without any planes as I have a slight fear of flying.

I’d always wanted to do the Trans-Siberian which was part of the reason for doing this. I went up to northern Scandinavia and saw the Northern Lights and did some Husky Sledding which was amazing, and into Russia and took the Trans-Siberian railway. I had a stop in Mongolia along the way and rode a camel and went to stay with a nomadic family.

The Pacific was scary but awesome. I have to admit, when I originally signed up I chose Legs 7 and 8 but I met a girl from Siberia on my Level 1 training course and she mentioned the train. I kind of had the idea then of doing this trip but I probably wouldn’t have chosen Leg 6 if I hadn’t had to find a way to get from China to Seattle to help complete my journey round the world. I’m not an experienced sailor, so crossing the Pacific was a slight baptism of fire. I had virtually no previous sailing experience before my training. My Dad sails and I had been on his boat a bit but not actually sailed much.

The first time we had really big waves and really heavy weather in the Pacific, I just remember sitting there and it could have gone one of two ways. I could have been absolutely terrified but I basically just thought this is awesome. I just remember sitting there with a massive grin on my face, looking out. I had my birthday in the Pacific as well and I got a very wonky but very wonderful and very well received birthday cake. Someone apologised as I think the Happy Birthday Lucy wording was a bit wonky but it had been made in hurricane force winds so I was kind of impressed with that!

The US Coast to Coast Leg was completely different, very hot and really good fun, and coming third into New York was amazing. In Seattle, our home port, we would wander around in our team kit and were given freebies and attention everywhere. It was a very cool experience, brilliant.

I have no idea what happened on this Leg but we have really good fun on board. Such a good group of people. I don’t know what we did differently to tell the truth but whatever it was worked!

I’d seen the posters on the tube and I wanted an adventure, to do something different. I’d been in my job a really long time, about ten years. It was great but I needed to do something different and get out and this seemed like a good one to do.

I don’t know what my expectations were. I almost tried not to have too many and just enjoy it as it came. I feel slightly nervous that it will be over in six weeks, particularly giving that I gave up my job to do this. I am excited to see everyone as I have lots of friends and family who are coming along to see me in London and that will be amazing. Try to get myself back into real life after that.

I guess the first part of my journey was more of a holiday. The Trans-Siberian had some similarities to the boat as both have somewhat cramped living spaces though I didn’t have to share my bunk with anybody on the train, and it was quite cold!

When I go back I don’t want to work as much. I want more of a balance in life. Taking a break gives you a different perspective on life. I’ve met so many amazing people that I will be friends with forever and I’m sure I will do more sailing in the future.

I had kind of forgotten about the next ocean crossing as it already feels like we’re nearing the end. Derry will be great as it will feel like we’re almost home. Sailing into London will be amazing, particularly as I live in Greenwich so get to sail very close to my home.

I don’t think my previous self would have believed I could do something like this. I signed up two years ago but it all seems to have gone quite quickly. It is hard to sum up. It’s been absolutely awesome and I’ve enjoyed the whole thing. I’m sure it will change me but I don’t know if I will really know how until I settle back into real life.

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