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Clipper contestants prepare for the race of their lives

In April 2015 the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation announced that Heather Thomas from Otley, North Yorkshire and Charlie Stannard, from Tower Hamlets, London were the winners of their Clipper Round the World Yacht Race competition.

In just 3 weeks time the pair will be setting off to conquer the mighty pacific in Leg 6 of the the race of their lives.

The Pacific Ocean leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is 5,500 miles long and will take approximately one month to complete. Starting in Qingdao, China in March 2016, and ending in Seattle, USA.

Ahead of the race start all the information on how to follow Heather and Charlie on this incredible adventure will be available, in the meantime here is a little insight into what they have been up to since April.

Heather said “Preparation for the race has been pretty full on. I’ve had kit to get, visas to sort out and of course the 4 weeks of clipper training. I did all of my training over the summer and I learnt an amazing amount; because of my dingy and sail training background, I knew most of the basics but it was really interesting sailing on a boat built for racing. I learnt a lot about maximising speed.”

“The people I have met along the way have been amazing. I have made friends for life and everybody has been so welcoming and friendly. The skippers have all been very inspiring. My skipper is the one and only Wendy Tuck and my team the very awesome Team Da Nang. The team spirit is awesome we all support each other and have a lot of laughs and jokes, I can’t wait to join them in Qingdoa!”

“Visas were definitely an interesting experience- I have never needed to do one before as I have never been out of Europe. I am starting to get very excited! It’s just under a month away and I have all my kit ready, just about. I am looking forward to experiencing a new culture when in China and also visiting Seattle. I am a little bit nervous- I mean it’s a big ocean but I know once I get there and I meet my team, I will feel fine. I can’t wait to be on those big blue waves again with my awesome team!!!”

Charlie added “With the days counting down, it’s less than a month until I go on the trip of a life time! firstly flying to China, then sailing across from Qingdao to Seattle in the US kindly sponsored by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. I can’t control my excitement and am expecting a roller coaster of a ride!”

“Training was awesome! I met so many new and amazing people from all different backgrounds of life. Going through some difficult times in training such as the whole crew suffering sea sickness and gruelling late night sail changes, these are people I will never forget and always stay in contact with. Since my training has finished I have stayed in contact with people from Clipper including Heather who was sponsored alongside me along with speaking to previous Clipper crew to get some tips!”

Photo Credit: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race