Throwback Thursday: Fleet in for a ride as storm hits

06 November 2014

“To me it’s all a blur, no matter how many times I watch the footage back, it doesn't seem to sink in what happened.” Says Michelle Porter, who circumnavigated on board Derry~Londonderry~Doire as we look back at her birthday present to remember in this week’s Throwback Thursday.

This time last year, the newest fleet of Clipper 70-foot ocean racing yachts were relishing the high speeds of the Southern Ocean sleigh ride before a front hit hard and fast, bringing with it wind speeds of 40 knots and gusts of over 60 knots on the race to Albany, Western Australia from Cape Town, South Africa.

As the crew battled against the rougher conditions, Michelle was evacuated by the South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) off Port Elizabeth and taken to hospital for treatment of a suspected broken arm.

“My team mates were truly amazing; from the moment of the knockdown to the moment I stepped onto the sea rescue vessel they did more than I could ever have asked them to do. I have the utmost respect for the crew, ultimately diverting to Port Elizabeth meant they gave up the chance to really race the rest of the fleet to Australia.

“The thought of not returning to the race was one that wasn't getting a look in in my head, it wasn't something I was about to even consider.” Michelle adds.

Following her ordeal, X-Rays revealed that there was no fracture and Michelle was able to return to the race and complete her round the world adventure. In the lead up to the race, crew must complete a comprehensive training programme that is safety focused and covers all elements of life at sea on board an ocean racing yacht.

“Arriving into Albany and watching the fleet race around the headland was a real goose bump moment. The feeling of being reunited with this awesome crew was one I’d never forget.” Michelle adds.

For more information on the race to Australia, click here

To watch Michelle’s Southern Ocean sleigh ride, click here

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