Throwback Thursday: Triumph and a tornado as fleet heads back toward the Northern Hemisphere

29 January 2015

In this edition of Throwback Thursday, which is now a monthly feature, we remember some memorable moments that occurred this time last year during the 2013-14 Race.

After celebrating the New Year in Hobart following the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, January saw the final race in Leg 4 get off to a flying start.

The fleet pulled out all the stops in the highly tactical 1,075 nautical mile race to Brisbane whilst living life at an angle and beating up wind in 30 knots as it tackled the Bass Strait for the third time.

Five days into the sprint, team Switzerland crossed the finish line triumphant and claimed its first podium result and first Clipper 2013-14 Race win. The team, led by Vicky Ellis, the only female skipper to compete in the race and only the third woman to skipper in the race’s history, fought hard against rival Derry~Londonderry~Doire to claim the win.

Mona Stalsburg, a 33 year-old Catering Assistant from Norway recalls her team’s first victory: “It was hard to believe we had won as I think we all thought we would achieve second place in that race until the final hour when we managed to overtake Derry~Londonderry~Doire. It was amazing and the mood on board was excellent. Everyone on board Switzerland worked so hard and it was a great ending to Leg 4.”

She adds: “The most enjoyable aspect was seeing the hard work and effort that we invested as a team pay off. Before this race the best we had come on the leaderboard was fourth, which we were thrilled about but we had always been talking about winning, and this time we did.”

Following the celebrations, it was time for the race to leave Australia and start its next challenge. One of the most testing races of the series, the 4,500 nautical mile Race 8: ‘The Old Pulteney Navigator Cup’ to Singapore pushed teams to their physical limits with meteorological challenges coming from tropical storms and the Pacific Ocean equivalent of the Doldrums.

Eight days into the race, GREAT Britain faced its biggest test when a tornado struck the boat in 100 knot winds as it headed toward the Northern Hemisphere. Crew member Paul Hardy, a 43 year-old IT consultant from Brighton, was on deck at the time and grabbed onto the mast after the tornado forced the boat onto its starboard side and he and some of his crew mates were submerged into the sea.

“I was clipped onto the mast and all of a sudden the wind picked up and it became really noisy and the water started to rise. I knew something was wrong when I saw the mast in front of me in the water. I tried to climb out of the water and onto the mast, and saw the waterspout go off into the distance. It was all over in a matter of seconds and luckily everyone was fine and safe. It was an experience I wouldn't want to repeat!”

To watch the highlights of Race 7 to Brisbane, click here

To watch the moment the tornado hit GREAT Britain on the race to Singapore, click here

If you want to experience the thrill of racing the world’s oceans and come face to face with Mother Nature, contact us soon as the 2015-16 race is now more than 80 per cent full. Click here to find out more.

We are also now recruiting for the 2017-18 race edition. To find out more, email Della Parsons [email protected] or call +44 (0) 2392 526000.

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