Here we are, the last ‘Fizz Friday’ blog from me, for this edition of the Clipper Round the World 2019-20 Race, which will have its final hurrah in London tomorrow. Much credit to Sir Robin and William, who led the team, showing those doubters, who said it would never happen. As a Chinese proverb tells us: “The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”
Congratulations to Qingdao, to Chris, Al and crew, for being the overall winners of this edition of the Clipper Race. Also a mention to Dare To Lead, Capt’n Parry, Angela and crew whom we have been locked in a tight battle with, not to come double first, but for 11th overall. The rivalry and support between the two teams is a true reflection of the Clipper Race spirit. The fact that in the end there was only 0.1nm between the two teams at Race Finish shows how matched the fleet is. Well done guys. It’s been awesome to compete against each other, I am sure we’ll have a few beers together tomorrow.
On 8 October 2019 I was running a Level 4 course, it was day three and the weather was foul. We had moored on a central river pontoon on the River Hamble. Because of the location, I was able to get a phone signal, and received an email from Race Director Mark Light asking if I could be in Uruguay nine days later to skipper a boat for the remainder of the Clipper 2019-20 Race. I answered: ‘Yes’.
Between that date and now my life has changed massively, and with hindsight, I would still most definitely say ‘Yes’. Clearly, the world has seen a global pandemic interrupt this edition of the race - which could be seen as a negative. However, I think for some people, and I would put myself within this group, the unexpected interruption, although painful at the time, has allowed us to hit the reset button. This has helped us get an understanding of who we are, what our priorities are and where we see the possibilities. It has also helped me to appreciate the here and now, and not be constantly thinking and planning for the future.
It has been an honour and a privilege to have been involved in this edition of the Clipper Race. I have met some amazing people, not only on the Seattle team, but across the whole fleet. I have been fortunate to work with two highly professional AQPs in Hannah, and of course the original Number 1, Lyndsay. A by-product of the pandemic was the team spirit that was fostered amongst the Skippers and AQPs, along with the Race Office and Maintenance Team, whilst we worked in Subic Bay ensuring that the boats were safe and seaworthy to continue the race.
I would like to thank all the Seattle team, including our team partners. To have been given the opportunity to be the skipper of this team, to see them develop into Ocean Warriors has been amazing. To cross the North Pacific and after 37 days at sea, to arrive in our host city is something that will always be a Clipper Race memory for me. Since race restart, we have raced across two of the harshest oceans on the globe and we have come fifth on both occasions; that is an incredible achievement for the whole of the Seattle team.
All those who have crewed on Seattle, I hope you are inspired to go on and achieve more. I, for one, will most definitely and am already thinking about what I would do differently and better in the next edition.
There is a poem, a short verse by Robert W Service, which clearly, as #1 pointed out, is not of current times in terms of gender reference, but I still think is apt for all those who have taken part in the ‘Race of their Lives’ and have achieved something remarkable on Seattle:
‘There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
They climbed the mountains crest;
Theirs is the curse of gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest’
It’s been very humbling, but what a blast – Out!
David & #1