Clipper Race Leg 1 Report - Pip O'Sullivan

Pip O’Sullivan our ambassador aboard GREAT Britian in the Clipper Race gives us a taste of Leg 1.

Liverpool to Punta Del Este, Uruguay, the longest ever leg of the Clipper Race at 6300nM, 33 days, racing 24 hours every day.

As well as sailing the yacht, Pip’s other duty is that of Victualler meaning that before every leg and in every port, she has to plan each meal, anticipate the length of each leg and buy every morsel of food and drink to fuel her crew aboard GREAT Britain
 as they race around the globe.

When I was selected as an Elliot Brown ambassador on the Clipper Race, I was very excited! I collected my lovely Clipper edition watch and wore it with pride before we set off from Liverpool.

What I didn't realise at the time is that this watch was going to be more than just something that looked good on my wrist. 

It is amazing how our time at sea is completely dictated by time. Everything evolves around time.

As part of my first Elliot Brown blog, i thought I would give you an insight into how we function on a Clipper 70’ race yacht day to day. I use the word function, as many days it is a case of the bare necessities and just getting through the day! Life at 45 degrees is tough, and it is sometimes even more important that in these conditions, time travels quickly.

Our crew of 20 is split into 2 watches or shifts, we then rotate on a 6 hours on, 6 hours off watch during the day and 4 hours on, 4 hours off watch at night. When you are racked with tiredness, you look at your watch probably every 5 minutes hoping that miraculously it's nearly time for you to get in your bunk, unfortunately this usually isn't the case! When on watch we sail the boat as quickly as possible, when off watch we do the mundane things which mainly involve eating and sleeping. Sleep is precious and sometimes scarce - this is a time when you want time to go as slowly as possible!

Below deck, you mainly hang on for dear life. The boat is rigged with ropes throughout so that we can swing our way like monkeys to where we want to get to. Getting into a bunk is a gymnastics routine in itself - extreme skill is required. Eating is functionary and usually while precariously balanced, and using the heads (toilet bowls with pump flushes) is something else altogether.

Add onto this not being able to wash, not changing your clothes very often, running out of fresh fruit and vegetables and being wet or damp all the time and you may well ask why I have taken on the challenge of the Clipper Race. 

Well I think it is like nothing else I have ever done and may ever do again. There aren't many places that you get a complete feeling of freedom - being in the middle of an ocean with no signal, social media or news does this for you! It's amazing the bonds that you form when in a situation like this.

As I said before - 20 people who don't know each other are put in a boat together and expected to get to the finish, what a great social experiment! Fortunately my crew have been brilliant! 

Now I'm in Uruguay and getting ready to set sail again and weirdly enough I'm looking forward to getting back on the boat.

See you in Cape Town!


Click here to follow the race and see how pip's yacht GREAT Britian is doing

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