While racing isn’t the focus here at ASA, we definitely see it as a very effective way to learn and solidify knowledge. We recognize that the sport is not for everyone, but for the competitive folks in the crowd, there’s no doubt racing reinforces the fundamentals of a sailing education and broadens horizons. So, with that said, we keep an eye on what’s going on in the racing world and one of the races that speaks to our sensibilities in particular is the Clipper Round the World Race that just started their tenth anniversary edition this past summer.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a (mostly) bi-annual adventure/competition where ordinary people with little to no “sailing resumes” vie for a spot on a boat that will race around the globe – everyday people, who don’t need any sailing experience, scratching “sailing around the world” off the bucket list. They happily pay for the privilege of being part of a team that will sail a well-equipped ocean racer around the world.
Once accepted on a team, the Clipper staff makes sure you are trained. They paint the picture like this:
“We’ll kit you out in extreme weatherproof gear as you experience the challenges of life onboard a 68-foot or 70-foot yacht.”
“From Day One you will build teams, learn the ropes, cook, clean and race. On top of that you’ll learn the basics of yacht maintenance and management, racing tactics, survival at sea and weather routing. Above all, the most important skill you’ll learn is being part of a multi-disciplined, high performance team that will function in every condition that Mother Nature can throw at it.”
The Clipper race is a portal into the extreme ocean racing life for people who would never get the opportunity to be part of something so enormous. An ordinary person with a job and/or a family could never pull something like this off on their own. This experience is essentially living the life a professional sailor without the stress, business obligations and sacrifice pro sailors deal with – it’s just the fun part. That is if you consider breaking down a headsail in 20-foot seas and 45-knot winds fun.
Of course it’s not always such an extreme experience. And participants get to visit all kinds of amazing ports like Sydney Australia, Qingdao China, London, The Netherlands, Panama, Vietnam and Cape Town, to name a few.
The Clipper Round the World Race provides a very unique opportunity for those who want to take their sailing to the next level and have the adventure of a lifetime. At the end of it all, Clipper vets will have 40,000 sea miles under their belts and nearly as many stories to tell. Perhaps some of you might want to take a few more ASA courses and sign up for the next one?
You can follow the Clipper Race LIVE – they are currently in the middle of the Atlantic headed for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil…