Race Team - Sarah Hoare
17 September 2014
“I’m used to being in the jungle, working in thick mud, so this role is quite a change for me,” reflects Sarah Hoare, soon after taking up her new role as Clipper Race manager.
Despite swapping mud for the sea, Sarah’s background working in operations and logistics for sustainable development organisation Raleigh in Malaysian Borneo certainly stood her in good stead for all the challenges that organising a round the world yacht race can throw up.
Sarah joined the race in Jamaica in May 2014, during Leg 7, shadowing previous race manager Gillian Russell for the Caribbean and New York stopovers before taking over the role fully in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Her race year role involves organising and helping crew and skippers with anything they need in port, from immigration, visas, pastoral care and medical advice to victualing, expenses, prizegiving and corporate commitments.
She also plays a key part in the day-to-day running of the Race Office, including communicating with the yachts every six hours for the schedules, and ensuring skipper blogs are received daily.
“People on the race are totally out of their normal routine and that can throw up all sorts of issues and emotions. I like to be under pressure and enjoy the diversity of managing different situations, and I like to see people to go on and fulfil their dreams, so this job is ideal for me,” says Sarah.
“Long hours don’t faze me, though it has been challenging getting to grips with each country and how they do things such as immigration and visas. Learning these logistics and combining that with dealing with almost 700 international crew members means there is never a dull moment.”
After a brief stint at a bank in the City, Sarah, originally from Essex, knew the corporate world wasn’t for her so keen on the hospitality industry, she persevered until a job in hotels came up that she wanted.
Sarah then took an opportunity to go to Borneo to do an expedition with Raleigh as a volunteer for three months. This turned into a full time job for four years as country programme manager, including a secondment in Shanghai. She also spent time in Thailand.
Sarah also worked on logistics for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before the opportunity at the Clipper Race came up.
“Getting crew on a boat at the last minute can be challenging. On one stopover, I had to help get a crew member to a hospital the morning the race left. He managed to get back and get on the boat after being signed off as fit to sail by the doctor with just seconds to go.
“There have also been problems with visas, which may potentially end someone’s race journey so you must be quick thinking and calm under pressure to try to help them find a resolution.”