Meet the Crew: Ian Wang
26 September 2020
“This is probably the most extreme thing I will ever do in my entire life!” Says Ian Wang a 43-year-old, Software architect, from Cardiff, who traded computers for sailing spending four months racing 15,000 miles from London, UK, to Fremantle, Australia.
Ian is one of almost 700 ordinary people from all over the world taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. What makes Ian’s achievement all the more remarkable is that prior to signing up, he had never stepped foot on a sailing boat but was hooked after seeing an ad for the epic endurance challenge on Facebook.
Ian Wang took part in the first three of eight legs, racing from London, UK to Fremantle, Australia, via Portugal, Uruguay and South Africa.
After departing London back in September 2019, Ian and his 20 teammates raced the ten other identical yachts for 24 hours per day for over three weeks at a time. Ian and his intrepid crew mates faced blistering heat and windless zones at the equator and freezing cold temperatures, waves taller than buildings and wind speeds of over 70mph in the Southern Ocean. On the conditions, Ian said: “On one shift, we emerged from the companionway [entrance to the living space below deck] and there was just this huge wall of water.
“When you’re there and the waves are crashing over, it’s scary, beautiful, intense. It’s a lot of things all at once.”
Thumbs up from on the foredeck
After living in cramped conditions, enduring physical and mental hard work, on arriving in Fremantle after racing 15,000 on the Vietnamese team entry called Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Ian said: “We had English, Scoittish, Welsh, Australians, someone from Saudi Arabia, Poland, Australia, USA, Canada. We were a thoroughly multinational family.
“We spent four months living with over 20 people at a time on a 70ft boat - you can’t get away so you have to get on well. When you're in such intense situations you have to get on well - you don't have your own bunk - you have to share with a crew mate. When they're asleep you're sailing, when they come on, you go down to sleep. The close living conditions certainly mean you get to know people very well.”
Ian was reknowned on board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam for delivering his daily 'Wangy reports' on upcoming weather and tactics.
Despite never having sailed before, Ian, like everyone taking part, had to undergo four intensive stages of training to take part in the Clipper Race. Reflecting on this, he adds: “There was a lot to learn on the race too, but we were already prepared with more than just the basics. It was about putting what we had learnt into practice and we are very well prepared to go out to sea.”
Whilst that might be enough to put some off for life, Ian reflects on the experience: “If someone is sitting at home on Facebook and happens to see something like this, then I encourage them to look into it. What would you rather be doing; sitting at home on your computer or would you rather be sailing the oceans, having the most amazing experience and meeting some of the most incredible people?!”
Mother Nature doesn't distinguish between professional and novice sailors
Raced by people like you, applications to take part in the Clipper 2022-23 Race are open. You can sign up to take on one leg, multiple stages or the entire 40,000 nautical mile, 11 month, circumnaviagtion. Tune in to an upcoming discovery webinar to find out more about what it takes to become an ocean racer.Join The Race