An adventure that became an obsession
Published on February 10th, 2019
Held biennially, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will begin its 12th edition in the Summer of 2019. For Timothy Morgan, a 19-year-old student from England, the next race will be taking him on the ultimate gap year challenge around the world.
Struggling to concentrate in class whilst searching for possible gap year options, he stumbled across the contest and quickly became addicted to following the 2017-18 race teams via the Race Viewer and crew diaries.
“When I first thought about sailing round the world, it was almost as a joke; I had no idea if it took eleven weeks, months or years,” said Morgan. “But as I read up on the Clipper Race, the idea of such an adventure quickly became an obsession.”
Taking almost a year to complete, the Clipper Race sees eleven teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. The 2019-20 edition starts from the UK and will visit stopover ports in South America, South Africa, Australia, China, and USA crossing some of the world’s toughest oceans on route and sailing over 40,000 nautical miles to circumnavigate the world.
Morgan is similar to 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew members who sign up to take part with little, or no, previous sailing experience. All crew, despite their prior experience, have to complete and pass four levels of intense Clipper Race Training in order to prepare them to be safe and competent ocean racers.
“It seems to me that there is no better way of getting a group of complete strangers to bond in a very short space of time than chucking them on a boat for a few days and making them live within a few inches of each other,” notes Morgan who has completed his first two levels. “I’ve met some amazing people on my Clipper Race journey so far and look forward to meeting more fellow crew members over the next 18 months.”
At 19 years of age, this will be the biggest challenge of his life. “Other than people, I’m actually looking forward to when things might not go to plan and dealing with it as a team to get everything back on track safely and quickly,” shared Morgan. “Seeing the stars with no light pollution should be pretty good, too!”
Contemplating the tougher times ahead, he added: “The hardest part for me will be keeping up endurance when cold, wet and tired but I hear a good crew can get you through anything!”
His Clipper Race experience is already having an impact on his non-race life. Currently studying Marine Technologies at Plymouth University, he has included the Clipper 70, the yacht he will live and race on for 11 months during the 2019-20 race, in several of his assignments. And not stopping there, his love of the race has already inspired a friend to sign up.
Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve* identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000nm course was divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. The race concluded in Liverpool on July 28.
Each team was led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.
* Twelve teams began the first leg but one yacht (Greenings) ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.
Source: Clipper Race Communications