Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Race Crew: Nathan Harrow

29 September 2017

Name: Nathan Harrow

Age: 43

Occupation: Healthcare Worker

Nationality: British

Legs: Full Circumnavigation

Team: Unicef

Nathan Harrow is finally back on dry land, after spending the last five weeks at sea and racing 6,400 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Liverpool, UK, to Punta del Este, Uruguay. But the 43-year-old from Cornwall has well and truly caught the sailing bug and can’t stop smiling about his ocean adventure.

“There were so many highlights during the opening leg,” says Nathan.

“Race Start in Liverpool was sensational. Everyone says it looked fantastic and it just felt amazing.”

He adds: “Another real highlight was when we came across Visit Seattle off the coast of Cornwall.

“We were all trying to make a mark and they had to tack and we didn’t so we got the lead. I was on the helm, it was dark, and we got quite close to them so that was sensational.”

Whilst Nathan has added more miles to his logbook than the average sailor in just the Atlantic Trade Winds Leg 1 alone, it’s only a fraction of the 40,000nM he will accumulate by the time the Clipper Race ends in July next year. The former Healthcare Worker is a round the world crew member on Unicef, who is currently in tenth place in the overall standings, meaning he will spend the next eleven months racing around the world. As a long-time follower of the race, Nathan took his chance to do it himself when offered a voluntary redundancy from his Healthcare job in Cornwall.

“I’ve always loved yachts. Yachts are my passion and sailing, they are just beautiful,” he says.

“I was thinking what I could do after being offered a redundancy and then received an email from the Clipper Race saying, “It could be you”, and the rest of it is history.

“Initially I signed up for Leg 1, then that went to Leg 1, 2, and 3, and then I thought sod it, why not? So, I decided to go around the world.”

Despite being an experienced sailor and owner of his own 30-foot yacht Torsk, Nathan says the Clipper Race training has proved invaluable in helping him prepare for what he has faced so far on the race.

“The training that the Clipper Race provides is sensational. It’s broken down into the four levels and it’s a really nice stepping stone up.

“Level 1 is an introduction to big boats and they are very, very different. While they work exactly the same, the sheets do exactly the same, the halyards do exactly the same, it’s just the amount of load, the size of the sails, the power and size of the winches.

“Leg 1 from Liverpool to Punta del Este has certainly given me a whole lot of confidence. You are sailing two, three, four times a time a day because you are on the watch system, and you are just gaining in competence all the time. You are moving around the boats, rigging a spinnaker for hoist or a drop, you are running the sheets, and it very much becomes second nature. Leg 1 just really underpins everything you learn in training.”

Nathan, his Unicef crewmates, and Skipper Bob Beggs, are currently dividing their time between exploring the fascinating and welcoming city of Punta del Este, and preparing their Clipper 70 for the South Atlantic Challenge Leg 2; a 3,560nM race through the long, rolling swells of the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa. Unicef fell out of the placings for Leg 1 despite being in the leading pack for much of the race, but for Nathan, there are plenty of other rewards to be found away from the podium.

“For me, the journey started off about racing and winning, and then it turned into sailing and sailing with other people.

“As you get more and more involved, the Clipper Race is more about the people. It’s about the crew, it’s about the teamwork.”

The South Atlantic Challenge Leg 2 from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Cape Town, South Africa, will start on Wednesday 4 October. You can follow the progress of Unicef and the rest of the Clipper Race fleet on the Race Viewer.

Feel inspired? Applications are now open for the Clipper 2019-20 Race. If you think you have what it takes to race across oceans as part of the biggest round the world ocean race, then apply now.

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