For the Love of Sailing

14 February 2017

They say never go back to your ex, but for a certain section of the Clipper 2017-18 Race crew, they just can’t stay away.

There will be few familiar faces returning for the eleventh edition of the race, with eleven former crew so far signing on to once again take on one of the world’s greatest endurance challenges. And the reason why they are all coming back? For the love of sailing, the love of adventure, and the love of the Clipper Race.

Clipper 2015-16 Race crew member Eric Miglin, from Toronto, Canada, is one who will be returning for the 2017-18 edition. It’s been less than a year since he last sailed on ClipperTelemed+, and he still clearly remembers the moment he ‘fell in love’ with the world’s most unique ocean adventure.

“It was in the last race of Leg 4,” says Eric.

“Rounding the beautiful rocky cliffs at the tip of Tasmania [and seeing it] bathed in the early setting sun on our way up to Sydney.”

As well as the All-Australia Leg, the Resort Manager also took part in Legs 3 and 6. Eric, who celebrated his 67th birthday yesterday while on safari in Tanzania, just knew his relationship with the Clipper Race wasn’t over yet.

“I just thought that while I’m still young I should give it another go!”

As well as repeating Legs 3 and 6, Eric has added Leg 8, the Atlantic Homecoming to his journey for the Clipper 2017-18 Race. While his hope for “even bigger waves” in the Southern Ocean and North Pacific crossing might be a little daunting to his future new teammates, Eric is also planning ways to make it easier for the next generation of Clipper Race crew.

“I’ll be able to share what it will be like on Legs 3 and 6, especially the cold and tips of what to wear. Also, how to deal with the inevitable ‘low points’ that everyone experiences on a month-long crossing in tough conditions.”

For fellow Clipper 2015-16 crew member John Charles, it was the people who made him fall for the Clipper Race.

“The friends you make on your training, the crew you’re allocated to and the Clipper Race staff, the vast majority are wonderful likeminded people,” says John.

“I have made a lot of great friends out of it who I keep in touch with and will continue to do so.”

John, a retired 53-year old-from Sydney, Australia, had signed on for the whole circumnavigation in the 2015-16 edition of the race on board GREAT Britain, but injury prevented him from completing the South Atlantic Leg 2 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Cape Town, South Africa.

“I have always needed to finish what I’ve started so I’m back on for Leg 2 in the Clipper 2017-18 Race.”

“I’m looking forward to feeling personal satisfaction that I have now completed my circumnavigation and achieved my life-long ambition, which will have taken over 40 years to achieve.”

Before emigrating to Australia, John spent a decade as a fisherman in the UK. Since moving to Australia, he has remained active on the water, taking part in many onshore and offshore regattas and races in Sydney, as well as plenty of sailing holidays. But despite all those years at sea, some of his favourite sailing moments occurred during his time on the Clipper Race.

“There are so many great [memories], from seeing beautiful rainbows to magnificent thunderstorms.”

“One that does stick in my mind happened while we were coming across the top of the North Pacific. Mike Tatham (a GREAT Britain crewmate and fellow circumnavigator) and myself were the only ones out on deck as it was so rough and we were taking turns steering. Surfing down some of the huge waves at nearly 30 knots on a Clipper 70 was awe-inspiring.”

Rose Todd, a 60-year-old Conservation Officer from Oxfordshire, is also looking forward to sharing some hard-earned knowledge.

“Passing on those little insider tricks that everybody works out eventually but telling your crew at the start the short-cuts to take, like how to bake birthday cake so it comes out edible and cake-like rather than burnt biscuit!”

Rose has signed on for the entire circumnavigation, after taking part in Legs 7 and 8 in the Clipper 2013-14 Race. Her Clipper Race attraction began after seeing the London Underground posters, and became a full-blown love affair after experiencing the full power of the Clipper 70s at sea.

“Creaming it with the spinnaker up, I imagine what it’s like jumping to hyperspace in the Millennium Falcon (another one of my dreams!),” says Rose.

“That awesome moment when the kite goes up, inflates – always a bit of a heart stopper – did we get the wooling right? – and then the boat accelerates away.”

If you would like to be like John, Eric and Rose and take part in the race of your life, there are still limited opportunities to join the Clipper 2017-18 Race crew. If you would like to take on Mother Nature and race across the world’s oceans, click here to apply.