From the 30th of August until the 3rd of September, you can pop along to Gunwharf Quays and meet the crews sailing across the world in the Clipper Race 23/24. With 11 yachts in total setting sail from Portsmouth, it is a great chance to see onboard what it is like for the skippers and crew heading off for the best part of a year. There will be live music, yacht tours, entertainment, and street food to entice those taste buds!
Sailing for the Day
I caught up with one of the sailing crew last week and went out sailing with them across the Solent which was such a treat. Not only did I see Victorious Festival being set up from the water but I got to experience a day on a Clipper Race yacht and chat with the sailing crew that will be setting off an 11-month adventure across the world.
My skipper for the day was Hannah Brewis aged 26 from Grantham who has been sailing from being a young girl. Having raced dinghies competitively on Rutland Water with her school, at 16, Hannah experienced sailing on board the tall ships race from Latvia to Poland. She was immediately inspired to pursue a career in yachting.
Sailing on the Clipper Race has always been a dream of Hannah’s, so when the opportunity arose a few years later to join the 2019-20 edition as an AQP, Hannah immediately applied, and fast forward a few months, stepped on board Seattle for the second half of the circumnavigation, ticking off a North Pacific and North Atlantic crossing and clocking over 20,000nm.
Following the last edition, Hannah set her sights firmly on becoming a Clipper Race Skipper. Motivated by enabling each and every crew member to progress, Hannah’s ambition is to create a confident team, and the results will follow. A naturally energetic individual, Hannah plans to keep the team’s spirits up with good humour, and by constantly developing her crew to be the best they can be.
The first mate onboard the yacht was Cameron McCracken who at the age of 24 has impressively sailed over 36,000 nautical miles, including a North Pacific crossing and multiple North Atlantic crossings. This round-the-world race is Hannah and Cameron’s first time and they are very excited about the journey. I asked Cameron to give me one word to describe his next big sail and he said “adventurous”. Chatting about the kind of seas they will encounter, Cameron said that the seas can be so calm and the weather so hot and then be stormy with waves reaching higher than the sail of the boat.
I really enjoyed my day sailing and loved how peaceful the sea was but even on our trip, the crew were busy working hard to make sure the sails were erected properly. When they are travelling around the world, there will be a full 24 crew onboard. Below deck was fun to go and explore but I can imagine a full crew would make living conditions cramped and don’t get me started on the beds eek!
Heading to Gunwharf Marina
Make sure to head along and witness the yachts all lined up in the Marina at Gunwharf Quays while they celebrate their journey ahead. Catching up with different members of the racing team, I could see the bravery in their eyes as they get ready for the trip of their lives. Speaking about food, they said onboard they usually eat a lot of carbs like pasta, having burnt so many calories working hard on the yacht and that they make their own bread in the tiny kitchen for the full crew to enjoy.
Having no access to media and what is happening in the world while sailing, Cameron said they can access emails and will be contacting loved ones this way. I think it is crazy to think how many events will have taken place during the crew’s time away. Cameron being an Arsenal fan said he will miss seeing how his favourite football team have played over the year but that he feels excited about his sailing trip he can remember for the rest of his life.
You can follow the Clipper Races throughout the year to see their progress and watch the world’s largest matched fleet of eleven 70ft ocean racing yachts as they go on an epic 40,000 nautical mile race across six continents.
The Race Begins 3rd September
The race start schedule is below.
SLIPPING LINES CEREMONY
Watch on as each of the eleven-strong fleet depart Gunwharf Marina ready for Race Start.
PARADE OF SAIL
See the fleet line up together in a vibrant formation.
1440 – Passes Gunwharf Quays
1443 – Passes Round Tower
1456 – Passes Southsea Castle
1600 – START OFF SOUTHSEA CASTLE