Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Race Crew: Jackie Patton

08 December 2017

Name: Jackie Patton

Age: 56

Nationality: British

Legs: The All-Australian Leg 4

Team: Nasdaq

The first few days of any new leg of the Clipper Race are interesting, as all the new faces find their feet on board. It's a process Jackie Patton, 56 from Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, knows all too well. This is the second Clipper Race for Jackie, who did Legs 7 and 8 in the 2015-16 edition of the race.

“It feels absolutely wonderful to be back and I’m just excited about what’s ahead,” says Jackie.

“I got the taste of competition with GREAT Britain last time when we were third overall and it just seemed the standout thing to do was the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as part of the All-Australian Leg 4.”

IMAGE: The Nasdaq team during the start of the All-Australian Leg 4 in Fremantle.

Jackie’s sailing experience extends far beyond the Clipper Race. When women were granted their own separate start for the 470 Dinghy Class for the first time in the mid 80’s, Jackie teamed up with Cathy Foster, the first women to compete in the men’s 470 class at an Olympic level, and the pair won gold at the 1988 Pre-Olympic regatta. Unfortunately, despite winning the trials, the duo was protested out on a technicality, but the experience gave Jackie a strong connection to Australia, making the upcoming All-Australian Leg 4 all the more special.

“Belinda Stowell [the first Australian woman to win an Olympic Sailing medal] was one of my friends and we actually swapped t-shirts. I have kept that t-shirt from the Australian Sailing Team to this day, so very proud of that.

“I had a very good relationship with the Australians, you know friends on land, enemies on the water, so it’s very special to be here.”

IMAGE: Jackie at Race Start of the All-Australian Leg 4 in Fremantle.

Whilst there were times that Jackie thought Leg 4 was never going to arrive, she has spent her time waiting for her race to begin wisely.

“I’ve had a big focus on fitness and strength. I believe if you’re not physically strong, you’re not a good team member so I did a lot of that. Certainly in Fremantle, it was all about eating well and getting plenty of rest.”

Jackie is thrilled to be in team Nasdaq, and specifically requested Rob Graham for her Skipper after racing Fastnet with him. Despite finishing third overall with GREAT Britain in the Clipper 2015-16 Race, Jackie says a podium, whilst nice, will not be her only concern for Leg 4. Rather she would like to do what leggers do best; bring a fresh energy and boost to the team.

“My experience in the last race and coming on late in Legs 7 and 8, the feedback, especially from the round the worlders, was that they really saw things through new eyes.

“I’m quite competitive so I was really interested in getting stuck in and really showed a lot of tenacity, certainly on the trimming side of it. I could see that the round the worlders really appreciated that enthusiasm and seeing things with new eyes, whether it be seeing another dolphin or celebrating a birthday.”

IMAGE: Jackie and the GREAT Britain team in third place in the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

The first of three races that make up the All-Australian Leg 4, Race 4: The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test from Fremantle to Sydney, is underway, with Nasdaq and the rest of the fleet expected to arrive at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 14 - 17 December. The fleet will then take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, before racing on to the Whitsundays for the Clipper Race Carnival. And whilst she is excited to see four different parts of Australia, there can only be one true highlight for Jackie.

“I absolutely adore these boats. Having sailed in Legs 7 and 8 in the 2015-16 race, which took us all the way round America, the North Atlantic, up into the North Sea and down into the Netherlands, I’m confident in what the boat can do. And certainly when I was crew on GREAT Britain we were pushing for podium and certainly the boat more than performed, so I can’t wait.”

You can follow the progress of Nasdaq and the rest of the fleet on the Clipper Race Viewer.

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