Meet the 2017-18 Race Crew: Dina Stolcere

14 November 2016

Our crew members come from all walks of life with a variety of previous sailing experience. From having never stepping on board a boat before signing up, to being competitive sailors, we have all sorts. Despite their previous backgrounds though, they all have a common thirst for adventure and must also all complete the same comprehensive training course before starting the race.

One crew member who is no stranger to representing a team on the water is Latvian Dina Stolcere. The third Latvian to take part in the race in its 20 year history, Dina comes from a sailing family and both her father and grandfather were well-known competitors in professional USSR sailing.

Dina first started sailing when she was 8 years old, and at 15 she received her first title as Sailing Master of USSR following junior competitions. As the political and economic situation changed in her home country in the early 90’S however, she made the tough decision to end her sailing career.

Fast forward almost twenty years to 2009, Dina was offered the opportunity to re-visit her childhood pursuit when she was offered the opportunity to go to Moscow to compete in the Micro Cup - Micro World Championship 2009 in an all-woman team, where they took first place. It was then that her passion for sailing was reignited. Not about to let it go this time, Dina is now preparing to race across the Atlantic in Leg 1 of the 2017-18 race.

Name: Dina Stolcere
Age: 44
Nationality: Latvian
Occupation: Retail Manager

How did you hear about the Clipper Race?
Back in 2012 I was walking in St. Katharine Docks and saw an event with many yachts and a lot of people. It was the Clipper Race. I googled it when I got back home and thought how wonderful it would be to try to do the same thing. Unfortunately it wasn't possible at that time and I just followed the race in the media and dreamed about it.

You have now completed three levels of training, how did you find the latest course?
Level 3 training was very important for me because we had the chance to step on board a Clipper 70. There is some difference between the Clipper 68 and Clipper 70. It is a great boat, I liked it very much. It has more space on the deck and the down below facilities are well located. A very important thing for me was sailing with the spinnaker. I also practiced the terminology and I've got a better understanding how to be part of a crew. I was very happy with my physical fitness compared to when I did my Level 1. It's necessary to keep yourself fit, it's makes life on the boat easier and gives you confidence.

What was the highlight and why?
The highlight for me was sailing over the night. On Level 3 I was helming at night and with professional advice and knowledge from our skipper and mate. I understood how to control the boat, how important is to know main navigation rules and doing everything the same as in the day time.

What would you say was the most challenging and why?
The challenging part was to be on a boat with different characters of people. When "Mother Nature calls" when people are around and preparing meals. It is challenging not being able to have a shower and wear the same clothes for a week, but it's all makes us appreciate our everyday life and comfort, which makes us stronger.

What advice would you give to someone preparing for their Level 3?
I would say to read the sailing theory, use the yellow line which was given to you on the Level 1 course and practice knots everywhere. I have it even in my clutch and I'm practicing my bowline with closed eyes. Try this knot from different angles, knot it all the time. Recap the MOB drill in your mind, think what you can do and how can you effectively help if you are for instance sleeping, if it's happened at night, where would you go, what would you do from different location on the boat. Think every detail about what you would do first. AND make yourself comfortable, get a proper sleeping bag! If you can get proper rest even for a few hours, it makes such a big difference. Have some Skittles in your pockets too, it will cheer you up!

Would you say you are competitive?
I would say I am competitive, because I have always wanted to win races. I never give up. I always compete until I cross the finish line. In sailing you just never know, sometimes it looks like all is lost, but wind changes and your course can look different. I want to finish Leg 1 as the first team across the line and it would be awesome if our boat could win the Clipper Race. If we have a strong team, we can do it.

Winning is important for me. After I have completed the race, I'll have a lot of stories to share with my friends and family. I want people to believe in dreams and that anything is possible, life is exciting as much as you make it yourself.

How does the race compare to your previous sailing experience and what do you hope to achieve?
For me there is a big difference between Clipper Race sailing and Olympic classes. The size of the boat, sails, using the navigation equipment, having a steering wheel not a tiller, racing long distances and overnight sailing, living on a boat, the watch system, sailing with crew of ten or more people, sailing offshore and the sailing manoeuvres.

Out of this race I will have a lot of new knowledge about sailing and I'll be using it in my future experiences. Also I will be proud to have taken part in this amazing event. It will be my biggest achievement in my sports life. I have met so many great people and found friends, that's just priceless for me.

What do your family and friends think about you participating in the race?
All of them know how much it means to me, but I think they will be very happy to see me coming back rather than going!

If you would like to join Dina and race the world’s oceans, contact our Crew Recruitment Team at: [email protected] or call +44 (0) 2392 526 000

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