Meet the Crew: Ken Brown

24 August 2015

Ken Brown grew up in Fyvie near Aberdeen and after a lifetime dedicated to his family and engineering career, he has decided that it is time to do something for himself. Ken has signed up to sail round the world and will be on board the GREAT Britain boat for this 40,000 mile adventure which starts in London this Sunday.

Name: (William) Ken Brown
Nationality: British
GREAT Britain
Signed up for: Clipper 2015-16 Race, Round the World

Tell us about life before the Clipper Race and what led you here.
I was born in Scotland but when I was 12 years old my parents emigrated to South Africa so I spent all my teenage years in Durban which is where I first saw racing yachts. We then moved back to the UK and I studied mechanical engineering before working in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen. My career then took me to the Middle East where I have been based for the last 25 years.

I saw the Clipper Race advertised on the London underground like a lot of people do. It took me a couple of months to pluck up the courage to talk to my wife about it. She was very supportive. It’s a good time of life for me because my children have left high school, they are off to university and 25 years in the Middle East was a long time so it’s a good time to change. The Clipper Race seemed like a good way of closing one chapter and opening another in my life so I’m looking forward to that.

How have you found the training?
As I lived in Middle East I could either take a direct flight into London or direct flight into Sydney, so Sydney won out for the first three levels of training where I was taught by previous Clipper Race Skipper Piers Dudin. So Level 4 was the first time for me to be on a 70 which was fantastic because I got to train with other GREAT Britain crew and our Race Skipper Peter Thornton.

I was really happy when it was announced that Pete would be our skipper. I really like the guy, he’s just a natural leader. I’m so happy that I’m on the GREAT Britain yacht too, it’s very exciting.

Has is always been an ambition of yours to sail around the world?
Initially my ambition was to join the Arc and to say I’d been across an ocean. It just grew from there and just having the guts to ask my wife if I could go away for a year. She’s going to come and join me around in various different places. It started off small in just wanting to cross the Atlantic and just got bigger and bigger. Bring it on! I can’t wait.

Have you done anything like this type of challenge in the past?
I’ve done a few things. I’ve done a bungee jump, a freefall skydive, I’m a scuba instructor and have done 600 odd dives. Every year I go away with a friend of mine for a week and we try to find the most remote place on the globe we can to go scuba diving so I’ve been to a lot of different places like Guam, Papa New Guinea, the Maldives many times and down the east coast of Africa to all the dive spots.

What do your friends and family think of you doing this?
I’ve been married to my very understanding wife for 25 years and my two kids are 22 and 18 years old. Life is good. They are very proud of me. They are very happy that I’ve found something to do and very encouraging that I’m entering this next phase. And of course, they want to come and see the different places as well like going to Sydney for Christmas. Everybody is behind me and it’s really cool.

I have left my job and although I could probably go back afterwards, this retirement lark is quite good fun. I’m not saying I want to go back to work but I’m going to take this time for myself and enjoy it. I’ve spent a lot of my life caring about my family and my career and now this is my time.

What are you looking forward to the most?
The Southern Ocean. Everybody talks about the Southern Ocean. Just the magnitude of the ocean, the remoteness, all of those things and any big wildlife. I’d love to see whales or whatever comes along our way because I’m sure we will see something big.

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