NAME: Rachel Penny
LEGS: All Australian Leg 4 and The Asia-Pacific Leg 5
TEAM: Visit Seattle
To take on the challenge of the Clipper Race is a big decision. But for Rachel Penny, 45, from Dubai, it was one that was made for her.
“My husband Martin and I were watching The Race of Their Lives 2 on television and we were glued to it,” says Rachel.
“It was just so interesting and it looked exciting and I just mentioned that I thought it would be quite fun and interesting to do something so challenging without realising that I was being taken seriously.
“The next morning my email goes mad, ‘thanks for expression of interest in the Clipper Race’, ‘thank you for your deposit paid on the Clipper Race’, ‘your interview is scheduled for this date’ and so I’m here!”
Though Rachel admits she initially had a few choice words for her husband for him signing her up behind her back, the excitement of taking on the ultimate ocean adventure quickly sunk in.
“I was just absolutely blown away that he was so generous and thought that I would seriously like to do something so amazing.”
Rachel, like many of the Clipper Race crew, has no previous sailing experience but she does have two circumnavigations under her belt – albeit on a cruise ship.
“I’ve worked on cruise ships, very large cruise ships that don’t move very much, have stabilizers, have restaurants, have bars, and bathroom facilities.
“So, beginning training was really a baptism by fire. But still it’s about the people, I can’t describe it it’s amazing. Even now, even so far being on the water for seven days now, and I feel like I have got the bug. Which is scary. And exciting.”
Clipper 2017-18 Race Crew Member Rachel Penny during Level 1 Training in Gosport.
After initially signing up for just the Asia-Pacific Leg 5, Rachel has now added the All Australian Leg 4, meaning she will join the race in Fremantle, Australia, in late November and race all the way to Qingdao in China. And she will be doing so on board Visit Seattle, under the direction of Clipper Race skipper Nikki Henderson.
Rachel has recently completed level two in training and surprised herself with her transformation after two weeks on the water.
“After level one I was an absolute mess because for me, with no sailing experience, it was just information overload and I was ready to just explode,” she admits.
“I went home for a couple of days and was just sort of thinking through a couple of things and thinking, ‘ok I know this’. And then at the start of level two, the skipper was talking about different parts of the boat and in my mind, I was thinking about the names of things before he said them and I found I actually did know them.
“Now at the end of level two I have a little more confidence in myself, my own ability, in my ability to work within a team, and to trust whoever is on the opposite of what you are doing. I have more confidence in myself to do the job and to participate in the race as a valued crew member. It’s fun, it’s amazing, and I’m so pleased my husband signed me up!”
Feel inspired? There are still limited places to join one of our twelve teams for both individual legs or the whole circumnavigation. If you too would like to sign up for the Clipper 2017-18 Race and test yourself against all Mother Nature can brew up at sea, then apply here.