Meeting my crew

WARNING: This is a bit of an epic blog post for me. I’ve done the magic combo of gruelling exercise + delicious food so my fingers are ON FIRE!

Last Sunday, 500 or so people dressed in bright red jackets descended upon Portsmouth. 500 people all there to find out further details on the race route but most importantly, crew allocation. Who was going to be their skipper? Who was going to be in their crew?

I was just one out of these hundreds (that’s me, the one with the yellow halo. Should have worn a red & white striped hat). The excitement of this day had been building for me for quite a while. I was going to find out out who I’d be sharing a boat with during my legs of the race. I was also hopeful we’d find out the final ports planned for the race. This hope wasn’t entirely fulfilled, but I now finally know which crew I’ll be sailing with.

On arriving at Portsmouth Guildhall, it was great to see my Level 1 Crew again. I’d had to que for ages waiting for my photo to be taken only to be told I needed to wait until the end of the day, so it was nice to find a seat waiting for me reserved with my Clipper friends.

Red jackets on, we all sat at the back waiting to find out our crews. Would any of us be put together?

Waiting for it all to kick off in the back row
Waiting for it all to kick off in the back row

We first found out that the start of the race will be from St Katherines Docks in London, and most importantly for me, the finish will also be there! I always hoped that I’d get the chance to sail through Tower Bridge to a finish in London – sailing home near enough – and now it’s confirmed. If you’re reading this, I expect you to be there cheering please and not comment on how I smell after a while at sea.

Once the route had been confirmed (alas not the start ports for Legs 7 & 8), it was then the turn of the 12 skippers to each stand up in turn and read out the names of their crew. This was the really exciting and also really nervous bit.

Each skipper read out one half of their crew before moving onto the next skipper. The result was that those of us from L1 had to wait a pretty long time to find out which crew we were in as very few of us were mentioned in the first half.

Finally, our names were each read out and displayed on the screen. Turns out I’m the only Mia in the race. I’m pretty happy about that. Must be because no small children are allowed in,

I will be racing on Team Huw during the 15-16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. We don’t know our sponsor yet (hence the name Team Huw) but since my name was read out, I’ve met a great group of people that I’m looking forward to sailing with.

It's real now, I'm on the website!
It’s real now, I’m on the website!

The rest of my L1 crew were spread across different boats, bizarrely, 4 ending up on the same boat!

Once the name-call had finished, we were all ushered off into our team rooms to talk team.

There were 33 of us there from Team Huw – all different nationalities, all different ages. Quite a few of the people there were doing the legs I’m on, so it was nice to meet people I’ll actually be sailing with. Huw then introduced himself and split us into groups so we could plan a) What our crew charter will be  b) How we want to be seen by other boats   c) What we expect from Huw as our Skipper.

It took a little while for us all to gel and get the thoughts going, but by the end we were coming out with some cracking plans. Standout things I’ve taken away from what my group discussed have to be: Boat Motto: “Fast & Fun”, Galley Rule No. 1: “Don’t let crap cooks cook alone” and finally, The Lego theme tune probably won’t go down well as crew song. Sad times.

Having various branded wristbands makes it even more official
Having various branded wristbands makes it even more official

After all that, we went for some drinks together at Gunwharf keys, following the stream of red clipper jackets all wandering that way. I had to leave fairly early to catch a train home, but it was good to start getting to know some of the others a little better. A midnight arrival back home and I was shattered, but crew allocation day totally lived up to my expectations.

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