As we write, Paul Stevens, our Senior Project Manager, is preparing for a gruelling 51 days at sea later this year. He is due to embark on Legs 3 and 4, the Southern Ocean Legs, of the round the world Clipper Race, an undertaking that demands skill, team work, mental agility and commitment. Sailing out of Cape Town in South Africa in October, the route for the first 23 days will take him across the Southern Ocean to Western Australia, some 4,700 miles away. After a brief break, he sets sail for a further 28 days and 4,300 miles to Sydney and then onto Hobart, Tasmania then onto Airlie Beach in NE Australia. This huge endeavour is to raise money for mental health and hospice care that are of personal relevance to Paul.
Here at Reflex we are delighted to support Paul. He is an experienced skipper and has planned the adventure for a long time. We think it’s an amazing thing he is doing and a unique opportunity to live out his dream.
We wanted to understand more about his motivation, so here’s a quick interview with Paul about the race.
What made you decide to take part?
I’ve been hooked on sailing for a number of years and I wanted to progress to off-shore. What better way to learn and experience that than in a team racing against 11 other identical boats around the planet?
What was the hardest part of the decision?
To be honest, it was paying the £100 application fee and hitting the apply button on my phone! My finger hovered over the send button for quite a long time.
How do your family feel about it?
It depends which member you talk to. Overall, a mixture of nervousness, excitement, trepidation, anxiety but above all I think everyone is proud and happy for me, that I am undertaking this challenge.
What is your training regime like?
Clipper Ventures PLC provides 4-weeks of extensive training. There is no hard fast, best way to do it, but I have decided to spread it over time for three reasons. Firstly, the time I need to take off work, secondly to prolong the experience and finally so I can practice what I have learnt in- between training sessions.
What are you looking forward to most?
Firstly stepping onto the boat in Cape Town where my contracted time on the boat will start and then experiencing the huge forces of Mother Nature. The adrenaline and excitement of surfing down 80 foot waves in a 30-tonne, 70 foot ocean going racing yacht, with just the power of the wind and sea moving us at great speed will be so exciting – and a little petrifying.
And dreading most?
Obviously injuries to one of the team or something on the boat breaking which puts an end to the race. With a two and a half year build up and a huge amount of time and expense, if something goes wrong it will, of course, be a huge disappointment
Who else is in your crew?
I don’t know until May 20th which is when we have crew allocation. Everyone who has entered the race will find out on that day which boat we are on, who our main sponsor will be, who our professional skipper is and who will be our crew mates.
What do you think is the first thing you will do when getting back on dry land?
My first bit of dry-land will be Western Australia where sadly it’s not possible for friends or family to be, so it will definitely be a cold beer and then a very long shower. At that point I’ll have had three weeks without washing properly so I’m sure I will need one.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
Firstly my wife, family and friends for supporting me, and putting up with me talking about little else for the last two and a half years.
Secondly to Reflex and especially to William and Mike for allowing me to carry out my dream however I’m NOT so grateful for my new nickname “shark bait”, which, although funny, I sincerely hope does not become reality!
If any readers would like to support Paul, you can visit his fund raising page, and learn more about the charities supported, here.
We’ll be tweeting about Paul’s progress once the race is underway, follow our updates at #PaulsClipperRace