Meet the Clipper Race Supporters: Bronwen Vearncombe
11 December 2017
The Clipper Race is not only the race of their lives for crew, but for the many supporters who wake at all times of night to check the Race Viewer, or follow their loved ones to stopovers all over the world.
Bronwen Vearncombe ticks both of those boxes. She has not only become the cheerleader in chief for husband John’s Liverpool 2018 team, but she is also having her own adventure whilst following the Clipper Race around the world.
IMAGE: Bronwen with husband John in Fremantle.
"When John decided that he wanted to do the Clipper Race, and he’s wanted to do it for a long time, he said to me, ‘oh you will have to come out’”, says Bronwen.
“It slowly sunk in that it takes pretty much a year and I thought I would come out for the first six months and see how it goes.
“But as the time got nearer, it became a reality that we could rent our house out, we could run the business without needing to be home and that was what we were striving to do. So, I decided two months before Race Start that I would do all the legs. I would go to every port but I wouldn’t go home in between because what’s the point of going back and forth? And I started to look for my own adventures.”
Bronwen has certainly been doing just that, and recently crossed off a big bucket list item in Africa.
IMAGE: Bronwen volunteering in Namibia.
"One of my dreams was to volunteer in Namibia at a wildlife sanctuary that focuses on cheetahs. It’s something I’ve had on my phone background and on my dream board on the fridge since we started our business four years ago.
“So, whilst John raced from Cape Town to Australia, I had two weeks to go volunteer and loved every minute of it.”
IMAGE: The cheetahs Bronwen worked with whilst volunteering.
It’s just one of the many special experiences Bronwen has already had during her version of the Clipper Race. Cape Town was a special time for the Vearncombes, as it was not only the place where Bronwen was born, but also where she and John were married. Bronwen is now exploring Australia for the first time and after the boats leave the Whitsundays, she will fit in a three-week tour of New Zealand before linking up with John and his pink boat in China.
It’s no surprise given the global tour Bronwen and John have taken on that their children are also putting the year to good use. Bronwen explains: “Our children are now 20 and 23 and they have both taken up the challenge to do some adventures themselves.”
“Robert has just finished university and we gave him a year’s notice that we would be renting our house out but he has just done Everest Base Camp and has done two charity projects in Nepal and has also gone to Borneo on a project.
“My daughter’s in Tenerife at the moment. She went to Madrid and learnt Spanish and this is the first time she has lived away from home and she is going to join us for Christmas so that is going to be amazing.”
Whilst Bronwen admits it can be tough to be separated from the children and John, whose wedding ring she wears round her neck whilst he is racing, she has found plenty of comfort in her new Clipper Race family.
“I’m loving being involved in the Clipper Race family and not only supporting the Liverpool 2018 boat, but other boats as well. I share accommodation with people from other boats and in every port, we get to know the people on Liverpool 2018 better and we are building great relationships. You understand the different emotions people are going through at different times and you support each other. I love it and when I’m away, I really miss it!”
IMAGE: Members of the Liverpool 2018 family in Fremantle.
As well as her fellow Clipper Race friends and family, Bronwen has really appreciated having Race Crew Supporters Coordinator Ruth Charles as part of the the Race Office team, adding: “It’s really important to have somebody that we can go to. You know where everything is and you just feel much more secure knowing that you can just email or phone Ruth. She makes it really easy so you can relax.”
Just like her husband, Bronwen is writing a blog of her year-long adventure, and hopes to inspire others, saying: “I get asked quite a lot, ‘how can you let him do that and leave you on your own?’. And I think, why not follow your dreams if you are able to? Don’t wait until you’re not physically fit any more to do it.
“We are lucky. We have worked hard to build the business so we can be away and this trip is inspiring other people that you can do it too.”Join The Race