The round the world life of a Clipper Race Crew Supporter

10 July 2018

With arrivals into Derry-Londonderry this week it only seems fitting that our latest ‘Meet the Race Crew Supporter’ is Patrick Merrick. Patrick’s wife, Mary Frawley, is a ‘round the worlder’ crew member on and is currently racing the final miles towards her home Stopover as the couple live in Tipperary.

Whilst Dairy farmer Patrick admits that he is neither a sailor nor an adventurer, he did not want this to stand in the way of Mary and her ambition.

When Mary had first received the Clipper Race brochures she had broached the subject of them doing it together – something Patrick said no to but quickly following this with ‘you go for it!’.

Until Mary signed up, Patrick hadn’t heard much about the Clipper Race but is now a fully immersed in the Clipper Race Crew Supporter family which is run by Ruth Charles, Race Crew Supporter Coordinator.

Running a dairy farm is a full-on business and the couple had only holidayed every two years, but Mary’s round the world adventure has meant new travel experiences for both of them. Originally Patrick had pencilled in a few Stopovers to welcome and cheer Mary on. However, the Supporter bug soon took hold and his travel list soon had Liverpool, Uruguay, Cape Town, all three Australian Stopovers, Seattle, New York and of course Derry-Londonderry.

It’s a hard call but Patrick says that Uruguay has been his favourite Stopover so far. He says: “I think it’s my favourite because it was the first. I was going for Mary and to be part of the race but at that point I didn’t know anyone. But I met so many fellow Supporters like me.” He says these Supporters are friends now and they meet up at each Stopover.

He’s an avid reader of the Race Viewer, scouring Mary’s progress every breakfast time and reads all the Crew Blogs too. Patrick says of the Crew Blogs: “They are essential for people back at home who are following their loved ones. I like to read what life is like on board and helps me keep in touch.”

Patrick says life at sea suits his wife. “She’s happier. She’s always been brave but not one to seek the limelight. At each Stopover she doesn’t seem to hide at the back of a group so much and I’m very proud of her.” And he can’t wait for Derry-Londonderry too. As it’s so local, he can keep an eye on the Race Viewer so he knows when to set off from home to welcome in Mary.

It can seem daunting being separated from family for so long but Patrick has advice for anyone who anyone who’ll be a Race Crew Supporter in future races. He says: “It’s their dream and you can’t stand in the way of this. Try to go to as many Stopovers as you can – it takes time and also money but for me it has been all worth it. And involve yourself in as much of the race as you can. You’ll make lots of friends along the way.”

Mary and her teammates are due to arrive into Derry-Londonderry in the coming hours, keep an eye on the Clipper Race Viewer and Clipper Race: LIVE Facebook page. To find out more about being a Race Crew Supporter, click here.

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