Strong Start to Crew Recruitment Tour in Ireland

01 February 2015

Our crew recruitment tour of Ireland got off to a flying start at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire near Dublin over the weekend. Thirty people came along to learn more about the race from Crew Recruitment Manager Della Parsons, who was joined by former crew from all over the province.

Among the attendees was thirty-year-old television sound engineer, Stuart Matheson:

“I’ve sailed square rigs in the Tall Ships race and done some off shore sailing but I hadn’t heard of the Clipper Race before, which is why I decided to come today when I saw it on the National Yacht Club website. It sounds a bit daunting but I think it would be an experience well worth doing because not many can say that they’ve done a round the world race.”

Six former Irish crew from the 2011-12 and 2013-14 editions of the race also came along to share their stories, and they were inundated with questions from the floor, as people wanted to find out the personal experiences and challenges of those who had sailed the world’s oceans.

Sean Rafferty, 44, drove for an hour and a half from Skerries, to attend the talk and, went as far as arranging to have his recruitment interview the same afternoon. Afterwards Sean said:

“From my work in humanitarian logistics abroad, I’ve been in a lot of high-stress, volatile environments. It kind of resonates to hear about the past crew’s experiences against nature and the elements, knowing that it wasn’t just plain sailing, and the event does bring people together and makes them want to work to achieve something.

“The competitive side is interesting to me but I’m always interested in hearing people’s personal stories and how they’ve grown and developed taking on these, not just physical, but also emotional, challenges.”

Clodagh Whelan, who sailed Legs 3 and 8 of the last race, left that afternoon, having submitted her application to do Leg 4 this time round so she can take in the Rolex Sydney – Hobart Race. Her fellow Derry~Londondery~Doire crew member, Conor O’Byrne, has become an ambassador for the Clipper Race since his circumnavigation in 2013-14. The Garda’s face has become a familiar sight because he is also one of the former crew on the ‘Calling all adventurers’ global recruitment campaign. In the Clipper Race offices, we had heard that Conor was trying to get his hands on one of the posters from a friend who worked on the London underground, so Della arrived with a surprise: a full size replica of Conor’s poster signed by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The Dubliner was thrilled with the gift, and said:

“To be part of the recruitment campaign and have my own poster as a keepsake really enhances my amazing experience of the race. And to have Sir Robin, the man whose sailing endeavours encouraged me to sign up in the first place, sign it for me will have a lasting legacy. I will always look back and remember I did achieve something remarkable."

The next stop on Della’s crew recruitment tour of Ireland is at the Royal Cork Yacht Club on Monday 2 February at 6.30pm.

That is followed by a talk in Galway on Wednesday 4 February at 6.30pm in the Harbour Hotel, before traveling to Northern Ireland where she will speak in the host port Derry-Londonderry’s Guildhall on Friday evening at 6.30pm and in Belfast’s Odyssey Pavilion on Saturday 7 February at noon.

If you would like to attend one of our recruitment talks, please contact Della via email: [email protected].

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