​Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Race Crew: Mia Showell-Woodsmith

18 January 2018

Name: Mia Showell-Woodsmith

Age: 33

Occupation: Lawyer

Nationality: Australian

Legs: All-Australian Leg 4 and Asia Pacific Leg 5

Team: Garmin

Spending Christmas and New Year racing around Australia’s coastline wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of a de-stress, but it was exactly what the doctor ordered for Clipper 2017-18 Race crew member Mia Showell-Woodsmith.

“The Clipper Race was something that I’ve always kind of had at the back of my mind and it was kind of a hung-over Saturday when I saw the advertisement on the tube and I went, that’s it, I’m doing it,” says Mia.

“I’d had a busy year so it’s been a time just to let go and stop stressing about all the stuff happening in the world and just tune out and tune into the people you are sailing with and the weather, and get excited about what you are having for dinner and have a bit of a simple life for a while.”

Mia, who is on the Garmin team, began her Clipper Race in Fremantle in November 2017, and will finish her adventure some 11,000 nautical miles later in Qingdao in March. And it’s been a successful journey so far, with Garmin finishing third in the Clipper 70 Class in the 73rd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Mia says: “Unfortunately, we just got pipped to the line honours by Sanya Serenity Coast and then due to HotelPlanner.com’s heroic efforts we finished third, but it was still pretty exciting. Actually getting any sort of podium and hearing everyone chant GT’s (Garmin Skipper Gaëtan Thomas) name at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Prize Giving in Hobart was pretty cool.”

A podium in one of the world’s most iconic Bluewater classic races isn’t bad for someone who’s sailing experience before the Clipper Race was limited to mixing Negronis on deck. Another sign of how far Mia has come is how she responded to the news that the current Wondrous Whitsundays Race 6 from Hobart to Airlie Beach would be mainly upwind, with the 33-year-old Lawyer commenting: “The champagne sailing is brilliant but I’m here to get wet and covered in salt and salt water so I don’t mind a bit of upwind sailing and it makes the beers at the end all the sweeter.”

Whilst she now lives in London, Mia was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, and said that she “waved vaguely in the direction of my parents when we passed the Great Australian Bite” during Race 4: The ClipperTelemed+ Tasman Test, from Fremantle to Sydney.

Being back in her home county has also meant Mia has had her own cheer squad for every race start and finish, explaining: “My family flew up to see me off in Fremantle and then came over to Sydney and they’ve been super excited which has been lovely because I think with the Clipper Race, you sign up a year a half before hand and by the time you get to it, you’re like oh god I actually have to do this now. But actually, my Mum has been the one that’s super excited, reading all the books and telling me that, oh do you know they do this and they do that, so it’s been really lovely getting the energy off them and seeing them be proud of me.”

The All-Australian Leg 5 has also been a chance for Mia to introduce her parents to her new Clipper Race family, especially her Garmin teammates, saying: “I love the team, although I’ve been told that we are too rowdy!

“It’s brilliant. I think we all get along really well. Everyone is slightly off their rockers but I suspect every team is like that because you are signing up to do something like this and living in close quarters on a boat with a bunch of other similarly minded people.

“I’ve got a really good Watch and everyone has been pulling their weight and getting along really well so I’m very happy.”

IMAGE: Garmin finishing Race 6: The Wondrous Whitsundays Race.

Mia and Garmin capped off the All-Australian Leg 4 by crossing the finish line of the Wondrous Whitsundays Race 6 at 18:48:56 local time (08:48:56 UTC). Whilst the team was fifth across the line in Airlie Beach, Sanya Serenity Coast’s penalty means the team will officially finish fourth and earn 18 points thanks to its Joker Card. Now the race is done, the Clipper Race crew will be warmly welcomed by the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival, a two-weeklong celebration of vibrant regional events and activities showcasing the beauty of the Whitsundays, and will be Queensland’s pre-eminent National and Global sailing festival. For more information or to book events which include a long lunch on Whitehaven Beach, visit the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival Website.

After a stay in the Whitsundays, Mia will jump back on board Garmin for the Asia Pacific Leg 5, which begins on Monday 29 January and will feature two races; Race 7 from the Whitsundays to Sanya; and Race 8 from Sanya to Qingdao.

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