The sails are up! Skippers and First Mates take to the water in preparation for crew training

07 March 2022

The sails are up! Skippers and First Matestake to the water in preparation for crew training

Ahead of Refresher/Level 4 training with Race Crew, starting today, the Clipper Race Skippers and AQPs have been out on the water in Subic Bay to prepare and run through the training schedule for the week ahead.

Unicef and Punta del Este took to the water to carry out some essential drills and preparation, The team practised key safety drills, such as towing and boat-to-boat transfers, and on the second day, the sails on the Clipper 70s went up for the first time in two years.

Mark Light, Race Director said: “The two training days have been key, as we want to ensure that, ahead of next week’s Level 4/Refresher Training, all of our professionals are doing things the same way across the board, especially when it comes to safety manoeuvres. So, if you have to tow, or transfer supplies between yachts, all Race Crew have been taught the same procedures.”

Dale Smyth, Deputy Race Director added: “The main objective of the training is to get everyone on the same page with our training syllabus, and making sure that we are all talking the same language when the Skippers and AQPs deliver the Refresher Training to their crew next week. It’s been two years since the Clipper 70s have been sailed, so these days of preparation are the perfect opportunity to consolidate knowledge amongst the team, as well as test the boats with their sails up.”

Explaining the importance of the preparation and Refresher Training, Dale added: “Because the Clipper Race yachts sail as a fleet around the world, the best assistance that the yachts can receive, should they need it, is often from each other. For every race, we spread spares across the yachts, such as a spare watermaker, fuel and water, so it’s important that the crew are clear on how to execute these manoeuvres.”The first day of training focused on technical safety and rescue drills, such as boat-to-boat transfers of supplies and casualties, towing alongside, towing fore and aft, and safe anchoring.

Ian Wiggin, Skipper on board Unicef said: “It was amazing to get Unicef out on the water today. We’ve done the essential checks on the steering and engine, and today’s training allowed me to work with my brilliant AQP, Dan, to run through our plan for Level 4 Refresher Training next week with our new and returning crew, so that we have perfect standards. It was also a great opportunity to work with the other professionals on the race so should we need to use towing, for example, it will be slick.”

On Day Two, the Skippers and AQPs left the Subic Bay Yacht Club on board Unicef and Punta del Este, and put the sails up for the first time in twenty four months. The day involved running through the Refresher Training syllabus ahead next week’s course with Race Crew. The Skippers and Mates practised key aspects of sail training including hoisting sails, sail evolutions, winch handling, man overboard drills and reefing.Jeronimo Santos Gonzales, Skipper on Punta del Este has been in Subic Bay since the race was put on hold, taking care of the fleet. He tells us how great it is to be back sailing again: “It’s been amazing! It’s so nice to see Punta back on the water, and after weeks of hard work, things are really coming together. It feels amazing to leave the marina and get out sailing today. The race is almost here, and of course it’s really wonderful to be out in these tropical waters with the amazing scenery.”

Ahead of the Refresher Training, Johnny Chambers, First Mate on board Imagine Your Korea added: “When you’re sailing, there’s always more to pick up, and we are always learning from each other, so it’s fantastic to be out sailing today with all of the other Professionals before we take our Race Crew out for Training next week.”

From 7-13 March, all Race Crew competing on Leg 6 will sail out of Subic Bay for a week-long Refresher Training course with their Skippers and Mates. When they return, Race Restart will only be days away.

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