Meet the Crew: Anu Aggarwal

21 August 2015

Anu Aggarwal is of our many crew who had never sailed before signing up to join the Clipper Race. Now the 37-year-old Business Analyst has completed all of her training, crewed on the fleet delivery to London, and will set sail for Rio de Janeiro when the race begins on Sunday 30 August. Even after her Level 1 training, Anu was inspired to take on new challenges which she shared with us this week.

Name: Anu Aggarwal
Age: 37
Nationality: British
Occupation: Business Analyst
Team: PSP Logistics
Signed up for: Clipper 2015-16 Race, Atlantic Trade Winds (Leg 1)

What made you sign up for the race?
I’d just finished climbing Mt Kilimanjaro a couple of years ago and I’d spent nine dedicated months training, and when I came back I was a little bit lost. I didn’t know what to do and then I saw the Clipper Race poster at Baker Street station and thought it sounded really interesting. I was working in Moscow at the time and I went back there, filled in the application form but didn’t submit it. It was a month later when I was with some friends, talking about it and they got out my laptop and said ‘just send it’. So it took about two months from me reading up about it to me applying. I’m not into competitive stuff, I just compete against myself, so I thought to actually enter a competition in something like sailing would be an awesome challenge.

What sailing experience do you have?
None whatsoever. In the culture I come from, sailing is not something that you do. I have never lived near an ocean. There are probably yacht clubs, but that is not the sort of place my parents would have gone to, so for me it is totally new. The first time I went sailing was on my Level one training.

It’s not been as challenging or difficult as I thought it was going to be. A week without a shower, I am fine with, that’s not a big issue. I think sometimes when you want some alone time, that’s when you appreciate how difficult it can be. Also, getting comfortable with everyone happens towards the end of the week because we’ve got to know each other and can laugh and have fun. I think the deep clean has been the funniest thing I’ve done because everyone is in such a good mood; and also because we know we are all in a team together now.

I’ve actually started doing more sailing since my Level one training and even did the Round the Island Race last year, so I’ve been building up my confidence.

How was your final level of training?
It’s probably the closest to what I believe the race will be like. I’d say it’s the toughest level that I’ve done so far, but it’s probably the most fun as well. We are still learning lots and just getting into race mode. It’s been absolutely brilliant doing the Le Mans race starts with everybody. I’m glad that I did the last week of training this close to Race Start because it is not long to go.

Also, while out on the water we found out our Team Sponsor which was great. Max was very good at not telling us. He was absolutely convinced that we would all be on Facebook posting about it and he wanted all of our crew to find out together. So we were all trying so hard to get reception on our mobile phones and finally we got the email from PSP that we are going to be called PSP Logistics and were really happy. I’m glad they’ve come back to do another race and we hope to do them proud.

What made you decide to do the Atlantic Trade Winds Race to Brazil?
I wanted to cross the equator and cross the Atlantic. For me crossing the equator was the main thing. Also, I thought on the first leg we are all in the same boat, everyone is learning together and it is a great way to bond. I know we will have strategies for when leggers come on board later in the race, but this is a good time to get to know the round the world crew. It’s not a particularly long leg, it’s a hot one and hopefully not too difficult. I am thinking about adding either the Asia Pacific leg or the Mighty Pacific leg, but will see how I get on after Leg 1.

We’ve heard that you’ve got an interesting hobby that might come in handy on board… Please tell us about it.
Well, I did my level one training in May 2014 and that June I decided that I wanted to lose some weight. I lost 26 kilos and after that my trainers said to me that I should try powerlifting because of my strength. Last month I entered a strong woman competition, which was awesome. I came fifth and got some PBs.

I’ve got really strong upper shoulders. I’m 5’4” but in that competition last month, I was able to deadlift 135 kilos and it went up quite easily, so there is definitely more in there.

I absolutely love lifting heavy weights and enjoy giving the boys a run for their money on the boat as well. Our PSP Logistics Skipper Max said to me: “We’ve got you down for trimming, sail handling, the grinder…”

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