14 December 2017

The Australian and UK crews of Invictus Games Sydney 2018 DOWN UNDER and Invictus Games Sydney 2018 GAME ON have met for the first time, as the countdown to their Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race debut continues.

In what’s tipped to be an ‘Ashes on the Water’, Clipper Ventures has been working with Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and Help for Heroes to give wounded, injured and ill UK and Australian veterans and defence personnel the opportunity to take part in the iconic Bluewater Classic. The race will form part of their rehabilitation as they use the healing power of sport to move forward in their recovery. It’s also a chance to highlight that the fourth Invictus Games, to be held in Sydney in October 2018, will debut sailing on the competition schedule.

After a few days acclimatising to the Australian summer, the eight UK wounded, injured and ill Veterans arrived at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay to see their beautiful Clipper 68 in person.

It was also a chance to meet Will Parbury, who will be the Skipper of Invictus Games Sydney 2018 GAME ON (CV10). Will couldn’t have been more impressed with the energy and attitude of the group, saying: “All the guys seem pretty amped to be getting started and we are also really excited to have them here and to get stuck in.

“I think we will definitely have each other’s backs but I think the banter and the competitive drive with the Australians on the other 68 is alive and well so, game on.”

In a big boost to the UK crew, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will be the Navigator on board Invictus Games Sydney 2018 GAME ON (CV10) in what will be his third Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Sir Robin met the UK veterans during their first training week at Clipper Race’s HQ in Hampshire, UK, and Will says: “I think everyone is just excited to be taking the legend Sir Robin down to Hobart so it is quite an honour for everybody on board.”

The last time both Clipper 68s took part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 2015, Will was competing against Sir Robin on board CV5, now Invictus Games Sydney 2018 DOWN UNDER. The boat finished seventh in Division 2 and 40th overall, so the Skipper knows first-hand how special an experience it will be for the crew, saying: “Even just saying Boxing Day already gives me goose bumps.

“It’s epic, there’s no race on earth like it. A hundred plus boats out on the start line, and also having the Clipper Race 70s as well will be really special. In 2015, it was just an absolutely electric day right from early on the morning on the dock right up to the gun going.”

But there is still plenty of work to be done before that magic moment on Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, with all participants needing to complete their intensive training provided by Clipper Ventures. Will adds: “Today is a meet and greet like we normally do so we can get to know each other a little bit. We will take the groups through the boat, have a full rundown from the bow to the stern, on all the operating systems, and basically just focus on safety and making sure everybody knows where everything is and how it all works.

“The guys will go off to do their sea safety course tomorrow, and on Sunday, we will go out for just a shakedown sail, so we can get everybody back into the groove with reefing drills, headsail changes, and man overboard drills. We will then head back in, probably for their last shower in a while, and then head out to do our 500 nautical mile qualifier. That will be a really good chance for everybody to settle into boat life before the big day on Boxing Day.”

The makeup of the teams for both Invictus Games Sydney 2018 DOWN UNDER and Invictus Games Sydney 2018 GAME ON will be formally announced in the days leading up to race start on Boxing Day.

Participation in the race is being led by Invictus Games Sydney 2018 with support from; Jaguar Land Rover, the presenting Partner of Invictus Games Sydney 2018, Help for Heroes, Clipper Ventures, ClubsNSW and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

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