Amateur team gear up for ocean crossing
The Bermudian Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race team entry, GoToBermuda, has set off to embark on the toughest and most highly-anticipated ocean crossing yet — a 4,750 mile-long race across the Southern Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa, to Fremantle, Australia.
The Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race is the only event of its type that gives everyday people the chance to race the world's oceans and the fourth of 15 individual races that forms the global route, aptly named The Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride, got under way on Sunday.
Some 19 everyday people representing seven nations including a student a civil servant and an entrepreneur are racing on board the GoToBermuda team yacht — one of 11 identical 70ft yachts competing — and will be racing 24 hours per day for approximately 25 days under the watch of professional skipper David Immelman.
“I expect it to be very wet and windy and pretty wild but good fun,” Immelman said.
Immelman, a Capetonian, will be looking to use his local knowledge to gain advantage as the fleet leaves his home town and will be looking to gain as many bonus race points as possible over the coming race.
Watching the send-off was legendary yachtsman and Clipper Race chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who said: “I'm sure there is a mix of healthy respect and apprehension and excitement as the Southern Ocean is a very special place. Where else do you get waves of that size and where else can you surf these boats than there? My main piece of advice to Race Crew is to stay safe and enjoy it.”
Nnenna Samuila, a 40-year-old entrepreneur from Lagos, Nigeria, is racing on board GoToBermuda and wanted to challenge herself to do something different, exciting and out of the ordinary.
She is the first person from Nigeria to compete in the Clipper Race and is taking part to prove to herself that she can overcome any challenge and hopes to inspire others with her experience.
“I can't say that I intend to become a skipper, but it is just about proving to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to,” Samuila said. “For me, and my background, I hope that young girls in Africa and other women can see me and be inspired by me.
“They might not necessarily choose sailing, but the message I want to share is that there's nothing you can't do when you put your mind to it.”
The GoToBermuda team is scheduled to arrive into Fremantle from December 9 and can be tracked via the Clipper Race Viewer on the organiser's website.
The race is the fourth of 15 that forms the entire circumnavigation which began from London on September 1 and has so far called into Portimão, Portugal, Punta del Este, Uruguay, and Cape Town, South Africa.
In total, almost 700 crew will take part in the 41,165 nautical mile circumnavigation which takes 11 months to complete. Crew can choose to race around the world or take part in one of more of the eight individual stages with the global route.
Each team, led by a professional skipper and first mate, is crewed by everyday people, from all walks of life and representing 43 different nationalities. Around 40 per cent of the Race Crew have never sailed before signing up and completing the four levels of Clipper Race training.
From Fremantle the global Clipper Race route will seem the teams continue to Whitsundays, Australia; Sanya, China; Subic Bay, Philippines; Zhuhai and Qingdao, China; Seattle and New York, USA before reaching its home port of Hamilton, Bermuda. From there, just one further ocean crossing will be left as teams race to Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland before finishing back in London in August 2020.