Monday 7 March 2022

After a busy few weeks of preparation, maintenance and Race Crew arrivals here in Subic Bay, all team yachts are getting ready to hoist their sails for a week-long Refresher Training course in the Philippines’ tropical waters.

Seattle Team ready to depart for Refresher Training

The week is compulsory and will provide both new and returning Race Crew with the opportunity to refresh the skills learnt throughout their Clipper Race Training programme. The crew will run through all safety procedures and manoeuvres and practice sail evolutions and technique over the course of the week to hone their skills and teamwork ahead of the Mighty Pacific Leg (Leg 6)

Crew on board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Punta del Este Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzales giving his crew the safety brief

Jacqueline Kavanagh, Round the World crew member on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam said: “It’s so exciting, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach this morning! I’m really looking forward to getting the team gelled and working together, and of course refreshing the skills which may have gotten a bit rusty over lockdown. It’s just great to have everyone back together, and I can’t wait to start working hard and get those muscles going again!”

27-year-old Londoner Charlie Freeman, a new Race Crew member on board Punta del Este, tells us how he’s feeling about the training week ahead: “Mixed nerves really! I’m incredibly excited but a little nervous as it’s been a while since I’ve been on one of these yachts. However I’m really keen to get stuck in and refresh my skills with the fantastic team we have here on board Punta del Este.”

With the final preparations and victualling complete, Race Crew attended an in-depth safety briefing led by their Skipper and First Mate.

Crew safety briefing on board Dare to Lead

The safety briefing covers all aspects of personal, equipment and team safety on board. On deck, in addition to general deck safety, teams cover winch safety, cockpit safety and manoeuvring around different zones. Lifejacket safety forms part of the daily rituals on board during racing, and the safety briefing reaffirms the correct fitting, pre-departure inspections and daily checks to be carried out. Other safety equipment, including EPIRBs, danbuoys, tethers, personal AIS, flares, VHF radio, fuel and gas shut offs, fire safety and medical stores are also covered.

Safety procedures are also covered in the safety briefing and these range from man overboard drills to engine start/stop, ships log maintenance and emergency radio procedures.

Skipper dockside briefing led by Clipper Race Director Mark Light

With safety briefings complete, each of the eleven Skippers gathered on the pontoons at Subic Bay Yacht Club for a dockside briefing led by Clipper Race Director Mark Light before each team slipped lines for a parade of sail, a spectacular sight and the first time the entire fleet has been on the water in two years.

Imagine Your Korea leads the Clipper Race fleet parade of sail from Subic Bay, Philippines.

It is set to be a busy week for each of the crew members, with and intensive Level 4 training programme including a long checklist of safety drills, sailing evolutions, towing and transfer drills, heavy weather procedures, Le Mans practice race start and the all-important Clipper Race Crew Assessments.

When teams return on 13 March, there will be a week-long gap for preparation .before the Clipper Race officially gets back underway on 20 March with Leg 6 - a marathon 6,100nm race across the North Pacific Ocean.

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