Throwback Thursday: Fleet celebrate crossing the Equator

25 September 2014

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Continuing our look back at some of the highlights of previous Clipper Races, today we remind ourselves of a memorable event: the Equator Crossing.

“It’s a must-do,” Switzerland crew member Roser Preuss tells Race HQ.

The Clipper Race sees crew complete two Equator crossings and in this week’s Throwback Thursday, we look back to the fleet’s voyage from the Northern to Southern Hemisphere in Leg 1 from France to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

One of the major milestones of the race, crew members are transformed from Pollwogs (the name for someone who is completing the crossing on a boat for the first time) to Shellbacks (the name for someone who has previously crossed this way).

The Equator is 24,901 miles long and equidistant from the North and South poles, with over half of it spanning across the world’s oceans.

“We had been stuck in the Doldrums for a long time and crossing the Equator felt like a massive milestone in making it across the Atlantic,” adds Roser.

To celebrate, each of the teams experience a ‘crossing the line ceremony’ in front of King Nepune and his court of dignitaries including Davy Jones and her Highness Amphitrite. In a bid to appease him, uncomfortable and daring offerings include pouring porridge overheads, consuming hot sauces and head shaving.

Roser’s team mate Hannah Bleakley, a 29-year-old from Staffordshire on board for Legs 1, 2 3 and 8 tells us: “We celebrated with pouring a bottle of Champagne over the bow of Switzerland and sending the rest to Neptune as we crossed the Equator.

“After reading the traditions of the ceremony, each crew member was introduced to the Queen and informed of the sins in which they had caused on board. Queen Amphitrite then covered their face in a mixture mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise and left over beans from dinner.

“Once all had been initiated we had two crew members who were given an extra initiation of dry crackers and slops due to their stupidity during the day and were nominated by their watch. The ceremony finished in a fun with a toast to crossing the Equator safely, wishes for the rest of our journey and some games. It was a one-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget!”

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