Dale sailors tackle Round the World Yacht Race
IT would be considered rare for any sailing club to have one of its members sail a leg of the annual Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – even more so for that member to tackle the whole race.
But Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club (TDSWC) does not have just one circumnavigator, it has two in the 2019/20 race.
The 2019/20 Clipper race started in London last September and involves circumnavigating the world in a 70ft racing yacht, with a crew of 16, during a period of 12 months. More people have climbed Everest than have completed this epic race.
TDSWC’s James Anderson and Trevor Thurlow have each taken time out to race around the world – James on Imagine Your Korea and Trevor on Zhuhai.
Both are currently sailing off the coast of Australia towards Whitsundy Island, the halfway point in the race.
This challenging race is nothing like a relaxing sail from one Mediterranean island to another, where the biggest concern is whether you arrive at a target destination before dark and before the restaurant or bar has closed for the day.
This race is different – it has taken a year for the sailors to prepare so that they can perform like professionals.
Anyone not meeting the prescribed standards simply does not take part.
Even so, there have been a number of casualties emanating from the gale force winds, mountainous waves and even one case of appendicitis. Evasive action has been required to avoid large whales and adjustment to a rolling four-hour watch regime will not have been easy. Just imagine, four hours sleep followed by four hours on standby and then four hours on duty for several days on end, sometimes with little to do and sometimes fighting to drive the yacht through conditions that most people never see in their lifetime – and then doing it for a whole year.
However, having observed a variety of wildlife en-route, they would not have anticipated seeing the orange skies and ash from the fires engulfing parts of Victoria and New South Wales.
Even though far out to sea, helms have been forced to wear ski goggles to combat the difficult and changing conditions.
If you are interested in knowing more, and there is a lot more, you can follow the race online via the link on the TDSWC website tdswc.org.uk. There are daily skipper reports, occasional crew reports and hourly position updates to digest. Our boys are in good shape and no doubt looking forward to getting ashore, having a shower and sleeping for a whole eight hours in one go. Oh, and enjoying a cold schooner of ice cold beer (or two).