When I signed up to circumnavigate the world in the Clipper Round The World race, it was a very safe 2 years and 8 months away. Those two years seem to have gone by awfully fast, and now I’ll be leaving my job, leaving my house for the last 11 years and going to live on a boat for 11 months this year. How did that happen!?
Before that though I have a number of other courses and trips on the go…
Firstly I have signed up to do a Marine Radio Short Range Certificate – a prerequisite to the Yachtmaster exam – in February. This is a one day theory course on the subject of marine VHF radio communications, including such subjects as Digital Selecting Calling (DSC), the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and other related acronyms.
One of the important roles on board the RTW yachts is watch leader – essentially in charge of sailing the yacht whilst the skipper is asleep. I’ll be joining the Tall Ships Youth Trust as a volunteer watch leader for a couple of their week-long voyages this year in February and April. I sailed with these guys – and on their Challenge 72 yachts, which are very similar to the Clipper 70s I’ll be living on – on the Fastnet Race in 2015. They are based in Portsmouth, directly opposite Clipper in Gosport, so I’ll be getting used to the train (and/or car) journey southwards again!
Clipper Race level 3 training is in March for me; this one – a week again, as levels 1 and 2 I did last year – is focused on spinnaker sailing and racing, race starts and race rules.
I have also been invited to join the Clipper Race Coxswain Course. This is a 12-day course, part theory and part practical, designed for some crew members to enable them to take charge of the boat should anything happen to the skipper. It includes a lot of Yachtmaster-level theory, and in fact I will hopefully gain the RYA Coastal/Yachtmaster Offshore shorebased certificate.It also contains some extra ocean theory (currents, world tides) and a large practical component as well. I am very much looking forward to this course, and have already been doing a lot of reading (and map practice) in advance!
Oh, and I will hopefully fit in a week in the Dolomites in July too with my best friend. Well, I’m gonna be needing a break from all this water…