French Anaesthetist and Intensive Care Doctor Michael Berry works in a hospital in London. He had no prior sailing experience before signing up to compete in this year’s Clipper Race. He is looking forward to seeing how he fits into a team in a different kind of extreme environment than the one he is used to working in.
Name: Michael Berry
Occupation: Anaesthetist/Intensive Care Doctor
Signed up for: The Atlantic Trade Winds Leg 1, The South Atlantic Leg 2
Why did you sign up to the Clipper Race?
I love travelling and seeing many different parts of the world. I drove my pickup from South Africa to the UK and enjoyed the remoteness of the Sahara, for example. Also, I really enjoy learning new skills. The fact that I couldn’t sail and that I would learn it as part of my training and the race motivated me. Seeing how I fit in as part of a team in an extreme environment was another reason to join and take two months out from work.
What has been challenging during training?
Two things come immediately to mind. I have never been on a boat before and although I read the Crew Manual, quite a lot of the nautical language was completely alien to me. Ropes are not called ropes, the nautical weather forecast does not resemble anything I had heard before and various other terminology often made me wonder if I actually spoke English.
The second bit was negotiating time off from work for the various training sessions. My work schedule is notoriously difficult to manage and unpredictable which makes it hard to plan for my training sessions, but so far it has worked out despite many emails.
How are you preparing physically and mentally?
I work shifts and fractionated sleep is not unusual for my lifestyle along with being able to be fully alert and operational in a short period of time, so I hope that will stand me in good stead. I go running and I do box fitness - a boxing workout without the fighting which is good for your cardiovascular system.
How does this differ from your day job?
I work as an anaesthetist and intensive care doctor in the NHS. The remoteness, the outdoors and being in an environment that I am very unfamiliar with are hugely different and partly why I chose to participate.Although the differences are obvious there are quite a lot of similarities as well. We often have to work in teams under difficult circumstances and there is a clear team leader, a bit like on a boat. Also being up at 0300 in the morning after being woken after 15 minutes sleep is also not that unusual.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to working as a team and seeing how that translates into competing. I truly love working in a team and bonding with people from all over the world with diverse backgrounds over a common goal.
If you would like to join Michael and race the world’s oceans we are now recruiting for the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Please get in touch via the apply section of the website.Join The Race