One of the upsides of signing up for a Yacht Race is that you need to invest in some technical, yacht-appropriate kit. I love technical kit, so serious excitement today with the arrival of my new super-cosy Gauss sleeping bag!
Even though my Level 1 training is still months away, a waterproof sleeping bag seemed like a good up-front investment. Anyone that knows me will know that I love my sleep and as I won’t be getting a huge amount during training or the race, I wanted to make sure I had something cosy to retire to.
The majority of Clipper blogs recommend either a Gauss Dreamliner bag or an Ocean Sleepwear bag for the race, the main advantage of both being that you stay dry (nice touch). I’m keen to get as much pre-loved kit as I can for this adventure to keep costs down, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for both of these on ebay and fierceturtle.co.uk – a Clipper site selling new & pre-owned kit. Luckily, I managed to find this second-hand gem on ebay.
Compared to my normal camping sleeping bag (a mere 1.5kg), this is an absolute GIANT of a sleeping bag. “Looks like a liferaft” was the first comment it inspired. It’s definitely not lightweight, but I was straight in it after managing to evict it from it’s bag.
I can see many happy nights ahead in this yellow beast. In fact, I’m pretty tempted to sleep in it straight away – fleece lined, massive pillow, lots of space = extra-snug goodness. Not sure how I’m going to wrestle it back into it’s bag or transport it, but right now, I’m seriously chuffed.
First piece of technical sailing kit – check!
In April 2016, for 3 months, I’ll be competing in “one of the planet’s toughest endurance challenges”: the 15/16 Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. As part of a crew, I’ll be racing 11 other yachts, sailing 9,000 miles on the penultimate and final legs of the race (Legs 7 & 8) from the West Coast of America to the UK, taking in the Panama canal, East Coast USA, the north Atlantic and Europe along the way.
I’ve always had a slightly masochistic side to me that likes to challenge myself. I’m not talking anything ridiculous – up until now, it’s been all about rowing and hiking up mountains – but then I started passing the Clipper Yacht Race Posters on the tube.
I’ve been walking past these posters for a couple of years now, and every time I saw one, I always thought “I’d love to do that”. For some reason though, I never believed it was something I could do. Then, last November, I walked past another poster and realised the only thing stopping me from applying for this experience was me. What did I have to lose? A month later and I bit the bullet – I applied for an information pack, attended an interview and was accepted onto the race. I’m now at the beginning of a very exciting and very long journey preparing myself for 3 months at sea in 2016. So far, I’ve been on one of the boats, attended the January Crew Briefing and have an amazing “Race Crew” Henri Lloyd jacket (STASH!) which makes thing slightly more real. I’ve now got 4 weeks of training ahead of me in 2015, teaching me how to sail from scratch (I only do boats with oars at the moment) and preparing me for what is probably going to be the most challenging/terrifying experience of my life.