Sail Canada honors Clipper Round the World Race crew

Published on January 13th, 2015

The Gerry Roufs award was established in 1998 by the CYA to honour the memory of Gerry Roufs, the internationally renowned Canadian sailor and single-handed offshore racer who was lost at sea in 1997. This award is presented to the person or people whose achievement in international offshore racing has had significant impact on the recognition of sailing in Canada.

Canadians Fiona Garforth-Bles, James Dick, Michael Jauncey, Morgan Watson and Phil Driver embarked on the adventure of a lifetime when they enlisted to sail in the Clipper Round the World Race. The amateur sailors, most among them without any sailing experience at all, were assigned randomly to the Henri Lloyd boat, skippered by fellow Canadian Eric Holden.

What sets this race apart from other offshore races is that crew members are virtual strangers from start of the race derived from different walks of life. Occupations range from a nurse, mechanic, financial executive, retiree and college grad. Crews are all provided with 26 days of training before they set sail, however, the race literature warns:

“While the crew may be amateur, no one has told the ocean that. The sea does not distinguish between Olympians or novices and if the Southern Ocean, the Pacific or the South Atlantic decides to throw down the gauntlet, the crews need to be ready to face exactly the same challenges as those experienced by the pro racer.”

The Clipper crews endured all the highs and lows of mother natures extremes, including 86 kts winds, mountainous sea states and deadness in the Doldrums. “The most difficult moment on board was when I made an error in judgment and was thrown untethered across the cockpit, low side deck and nearly overboard,” reflects 71 year old Mike Jauncy. “I cracked 2 ribs which hampered me for the remainder of the journey but still a relatively inexpensive lesson considering the circumstances”.

The Canadian crew aboard Henri Lloyd including Fiona, James, Michael, Morgan & Phil are being honoured for not only enduring the grueling offshore challenge, but coming out on top of the 64,300 km race, ultimately crowned the winners of the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World Race. “It is an honor to be selected as the recipient of the Gerry Roufs Trophy, especially since our Skipper Eric Holden was the recipient for the past two years,” delights Morgan Watson. “To be considered and honoured on the same level as Eric and other high-caliber sailors feels amazing.”

The five Canadian crew aboard Henri Lloyd will all be in attendance at the Carlu on Friday, February 6th, 2015 to accept their award along with skipper and Rolex Sailor of the Year finalist Eric Holden.

Source: Sail Canada

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