South African crew member Colleen Carstens had no previous sailing experience before signing up to take part in Leg 2 and race into her home country this year.

Colleen was inspired to join the Clipper Race crew by Sue Fontannaz who took part in the last race edition. We caught up with Colleen ahead of the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms.

Name: Colleen Carstens
Age: 41
Nationality: South African
Occupation: Supply Chain Manager, Origin Wines
Team: IchorCoal
Signed up for: Leg 2

Why did you chose Leg 2?
I can’t imagine anything more thrilling than sailing into Cape Town. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. I work for Origin Wines which is owned by Bernard Fontannaz. His wife Sue did the same leg in the last race so having heard so much about her experience, I wanted to give it a try myself. Origin Wines owns Stormhoek which is the Official Wine Partner and we have lots of fun things planned to celebrate the social spirit of the Clipper Race crew in Cape Town so for me it is the best possible place to celebrate crossing an ocean.

What has been the most challenging part of your race experience so far?
My initial concern was that having no experience I would let my team down, but the Clipper Races’ experienced, professional and passionate trainers gave me the confidence to conquer any challenge.

What has been the highlight of your race experience so far?
Learning a new skill and meeting awesome people, especially Andy Ashman, an exceptional human being whose spirit will be with us all the way.

What advice would you give to someone preparing for the race?Get fit and flexible. Keep an open mind. Practice putting in contact lenses without a mirror!

What do your family and friends think about you doing the race?
Some admire me having this experience and some think I’m crazy.

What are you most looking forward to when you arrive in Rio to join your race?
Meeting my crew! South Africa is very far from where all the pre-race action took place.

What do you think will be the most challenging?
Cooking a successful meal that everyone will enjoy, while trying not to get seasick.

What do you hope to achieve?
To embrace this challenge with everything I’ve got.

Are you competitive?
More than I thought before this adventure. I hope to have fun, but with a responsible, safe, respectful and positive attitude.

Race 2: The Stormhoek Race to Cape of Storms from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to V&A Waterfront Marina, Cape Town, starts today at 1500 local time / 1900 BST.

If you would like to join Colleen to race the world’s oceans in the next edition of the race, please get in touch via the apply section of the website.

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Until Race Start : The Atlantic Trade Winds Leg Map + Race Standings