Meet the Crew: Catherine North

23 December 2016

NAME: Catherine North

AGE: 53

OCCUPATION: Payroll Specialist

NATIONALITY: American / Australian

LEGS: Full circumnavigation

TEAM: Sanya Serenity Coast

The Clipper Race is one of the world’s most unique adventures. More people have climbed Mount Everest than have sailed round the world. And that’s exactly why Catherine North is looking forward to being a part of the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

“There is a whole world that I’m going to see,” says Catherine.

“There’s not a whole lot of us who have done this sort of thing and I like the idea of being in that group of people.”

Catherine lives in Melbourne, Australia, but hails from the US, where she grew up in the mountains in Idaho. Despite living in a land-locked state, from an early age she dreamed of sailing the world’s oceans.

“My parents are from the East Coast and my Dad had a sail boat when he was growing up. They moved to Idaho to be near the wilderness and the mountains, but they did always miss the ocean, and I think they passed that on to me.”

“When I was younger, I read books about sea and sailing, fiction books like Captain Horatio Hornblower, and I’ve always been fascinated with sailing on the big ocean.”

After sparking her love of sailing, Catherine’s parents will fittingly be cheering her on when the 2017-18 edition of the race visits the West and East coasts of the US.

“I’m excited about [sailing from the West to East coast].”

“I’ve only seen these places from the beaches and looking outwards, and now I’ll be looking inwards.”

Catherine has just reached the halfway mark of her training, after completing Levels 1 and 2 at the Clipper Race training centre in Sydney.

“I’m really impressed with how safety conscious all the training is.”

“I’m still looking forward to Level 3, putting up the spinnakers and all that business and to racing on Level 4.”

The training has also eradicated one of Catherine’s biggest fears about taking on the eleven-month, 40,000 nautical mile race round the world.

“I know the biggest challenge will be getting along with all the people on the boat. And the highlight of training for me has been how well we all get along together. These two groups of complete strangers have come together and spent a week together learning and sailing and by the end of the week, I feel like these are my best mates.”

While Catherine has made plenty of new friends, she will also have her partner by her side for parts of the race. She had already begun her Clipper Race journey when she met Michael MacTavish, and her adventure inspired him to sign up for Legs 5 and 6.

“I think he is jealous [that I’m doing the whole navigation],” laughs Catherine.

“It’s just taken the thing to a whole another level that I’ve got someone to share this with.”

Catherine and Michael will both travel to Gosport in the UK to complete their training for the 2017-18 Race. In the meantime, Catherine is working on both improving her fitness as well as making the most of the skills she learnt while studying at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

“I have been gathering recipes to bring with me. I’ve been thinking about food a lot and good food to have in a repertoire for on the boat.”

But while she will be handy in the galley, Catherine isn’t going to be putting her hand up to be her team’s victualler.

“The role that sticks out most for me is the engineering jobs and keeping the boats working even though I’m not a mechanic or anything. I would like to be involved in that and save my cooking skills for when I’m on Mother duty.”

If you would like to join the group of courageous people undertaking the Clipper 2017-18 Race, and perhaps be lucky enough to taste Catherine’s cooking, there are still a limited number of crew places available for both round the world berths and individual legs. Click here to contact our Crew Recruitment Team or call +44 (0)2392 526 000.

Need even more inspiration? You can now relive all the action of the Clipper 2015-16 Race as our TV series Race of Their Lives 2 is now available to order on DVD.

The seven-part human adventure series box set which contains four high quality DVD discs with seven one hour (52 minute) episodes of the TV series, plus bonus ‘My Story’ videos, can be ordered at for £24.95, incl. VAT.

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