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I am competing in the Round the World Clipper Race for 2015 to raise money for The Golden Lion Children's Trust. Having left corporate life due to an on-going health challenge just over 3 years ago, I wanted to "inspire" and "motivate" people around the world to do the same but more importantly give back to those who are less fortunate than myself. Those people I believe are children.
This is the only race in the world where the organisers supply the fleet of 14 identical, 70-foot, stripped down racing yachts – each sponsored by a city, a region or a country – and man each with a fully-qualified skipper, employed to lead myself and the crews safely around the globe.
It’s where taxi drivers rub shoulders with chief executives, vicars mix with housewives, students work alongside bankers, nurses work with vets and doctors team with rugby players. It’s an experience that will change my life. Yet while the crews may be amateur, no one has told the ocean that!
The sea does not distinguish between Olympians or novices and if the Southern Ocean, the Pacific or the South Atlantic decides to throw down the gauntlet, as a member of the Clipper Race crew I need to be ready to face exactly the same challenges as those experienced by the professional racer.
And, when I return from the biggest challenge I have ever faced, I will bring home countless lessons with me The importance of teamwork and the importance of respect. Of giving more than I can take. Of learning what my body is capable of. An appreciation of cultures, religions, lifestyles and attitudes that connect with communities right around the globe.
Because of its amateur status and varied crew profile do not for a moment consider this to be a some sort of easy option. As a member of the crew I will have to work hard to become a winner and it is not unusual that boats might finish within minutes of each other after three weeks and 3,000 miles of ocean racing.