Steve Depew, a 63 year-old Engineer from Burien, Washington, is taking part in Legs 6 and 7, sailing the North Pacific and around North America on board Zhuhai. Whilst on board, with less then a week to go before he sails home into Seattle, he shares his motivations for participating and experience of the race so far.

He reports: “Crossing the North Pacific on Leg 6 of the Clipper Race is challenging, but the thing that makes it worthwhile and bearable is the crew that you are sailing with.

“Sailing at 45 degrees day after day is the biggest challenge for multiple reasons. The best is the connection to the ocean. I am one of those people who are connected to the ocean and in the middle of the North Pacific, there is nothing but the ocean, you and your team.”

Image: Steve on board Zhuhai yacht

After hearing about the race from a friend and previous circumnavigator, Steve found that the Clipper Race could help him achieve some lifelong goals. “I started sailing a little bit more seriously about five years ago when I brought my own 36 ft Catalina. Then I had a friend who did the circumnavigation and he was sharing his experience and I thought this is my opportunity right now to fulfil some of those dreams.

“One of my lifelong goals has been to sail across the Pacific and the other was I needed to go through the Panama Canal. So doing Leg 6 and 7 has been able to facilitate those opportunities for me.”

He adds: “But coming into Seattle is a really big plus - I get to sleep in my own bed for a week or more.”

After more than 20 days at sea already, and approximately another week left to go, Steve and his Zhuhai teammates are excited to arrive in Seattle and the Washington local has plans in place to welcome his crew to the Emerald City.

He explains: “We are planning on having a BBQ at our place and it will be great to have the team come and relax. I am inviting my family and friends so they will be able to talk and enjoy their stories with people outside of our family on board the Zhuhai boat.

Image: Zhuhai team picture taken in home port Zhuhai

“We do have some events planned; going to the Seattle Mariners is going to be fantastic, the Pike Place market - the location where everyone knows they throw the salmon back and forth across the fish market - the Space Needle, but there's also an opportunity to cross to Bainbridge Island on the ferries and walk around there. Seattle is surrounded by beautiful areas so I have given the team recommendations on how to get to some of those places.”

Thoughts have already turned to comforts of land as he jokes: “One of the highlights is probably going to be Kell’s Irish pub though, as everyone is looking forward to a Guinness.”

Trying to sum up his experience so far in one sentence Steve explains: “The Clipper Race is an opportunity, it's a challenge, but it's definitely all about the team.

"I show up and everyone is there to support me, I show up and I support everybody on the boat, and that has been a fantastic experience. The Clipper Race has provided that opportunity which you are not going to get any place else, this is a huge challenge for everyone on board but to do it together is pretty special.

Image: Conditions faced in the North Pacific

“I don’t know if i would recommend it for everybody, but anybody who really has the idea of an adventure at sea Clipper Race is a great way to do it. You have a great Skipper and AQP, the crew are fantastic, it really is a terrific advantage.”

There is still a lot of ocean ahead for Steve and his Zhuhai team, follow their journey in the Skipper Blogs and Crew Diaries, and track them on the Race Viewer.

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