Meet the 2017-18 Crew: Samantha Harper

16 January 2017

Name: Samantha Harper
Age: 36
Occupation: Doctor
Home Town: Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Canada
Legs: whole circumnavigation

There are many reasons why people want to do the Clipper Race, with adventure high on the list. And Samantha Harper, a 36-year-old doctor from Canada, is no stranger to adventure.

Samantha is a member of the Clipper 2017-18 Race crew, and has signed on to do the entire eleven month, 40,000 nautical mile race around the globe.

“It seemed like a great opportunity to both learn the art and science of sailing and participate in a unique adventure,” says Samantha.

“I originally signed up for Legs 5, 6 and 7 but alas I suffer from the 21st century affliction known as F.O.M.O – the fear of missing out.

“I know myself well enough to know that missing parts of the race would eventually eat at me inside.”

While Samantha is a newcomer to the sport of sailing, she has been honing her sense of adventure for years. And she believes the lessons learned mountaineering on glaciated volcanos and running ultramarathons in the Sahara Desert will come in handy when it comes to facing all Mother Nature has to offer out at sea.

“You only live once and there’s so many fascinating things to do in this world.

“I’ve completed the Marathon des Sables, a 250 kilometre race in the Sahara Desert, five times. Halfway through my fifth (and last) attempt, my feet were blistered beyond relief.

“I was in so much pain and thought about quitting, but there's no way I'd tarnish my perfect record! That's the thought that kept me going. I've hung up my desert shoes since then and have obviously moved on to different types of challenges.”

Samantha during a mountaineering course on Mt. Baker in Whatcom County, Washington, USA.

As well as adventure, what drew Samantha to the Clipper Race was the chance to meet and form bonds with people from all walks of life. And there’s no doubt she will be able to do that during her time on board. In the 2015-16 edition of the race alone, there were 44 nationalities represented in the 690-strong crew.

“This race is a great opportunity for all of us to be involved in something we may never experience again. It's important to keep that in mind when trying to balance competitiveness with fun.”

After doing the first two levels of training in Gosport in the UK, Samantha travelled to Sydney, Australia to complete her Level 3 Training.

“The highlight [of Level 3] had to have been sailing in scenic Sydney Harbour and the second was the awesome waves we were able to get into. It was nothing like I’d seen on previous levels in the UK.”

Samantha will return to Gosport later this year to complete her training. In the meantime, she will be doing everything possible to be ready for one of the hardest endurance challenges in the world.

“If you're a novice like me, [you need to] practice as much as you can. On Level 1, most of us were new to sailing, but on Levels 2 and 3, most people were experienced. It was really intimidating. The more knowledge you can get, the better.”

Samantha expects her many years of working long hours and suffering from sleep deprivation as a doctor will help her through the watches on board. But despite all her medical knowledge, Samantha is yet to conquer what she describes as her biggest challenge of taking part in the Clipper Race – seasickness.

“You’d think being a doctor I’d have all the best drugs, but there’s no magic recipe here! I’m sure I’ll have it sorted by race start.”

There are still limited places to join the Clipper 2017-18 Race, which will get underway this Summer. If you would like to join Samantha and race across the world’s oceans, click here to apply.

Want to know more about what it’s like to race around the world on the Clipper 70s? You can now relive all the action of the Clipper 2015-16 Race as our TV Series Race of Their Lives 2 is now available to order on DVD.

The seven-part human adventure series box set contains four high quality DVD discs with seven one hour (52minute) episodes of the TV series, plus bonus ‘My Stories’ videos, and can be ordered at Bookharbour.com for £24.95 Inc. VAT here.