So, for anyone that missed the 1st 17/18 Clipper Race Mass Crew Briefing here is a little low down for you.
The briefing was held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in January, and is an annual Clipper event. There were about 150 leggers and RTW-ers there and lots of the Clipper family and sponsors alike.
The day was organised as a series of talks from various parties, giving useful information and updates on various things.
1st up we heard from Mission Performance (in my opinion by far the most interesting talk of the day). Mission Performance are the leadership and personal development partner of the Clipper Race and they talked about lessons learnt from the last two circumnavigations. Explaining what they think makes a winning crew, what makes a happy crew and more importantly what makes a winning and happy crew!
We heard from Rob Lewis, who is an incredibly inspirational adventurer and director of Mission Performance. He had us captivated by his story of a near polar bear attack while on a polar expedition. And this story for me, led to one of the key pieces of information to come out of the day. The polar bear attack that Rob experienced, ended well (thankfully), but only because the 3 explorers on the expedition were prepared mentally and physically, and critically they had a plan. Something Rob said was ‘Never put your body where you mind hasn’t been’. In essence, plan and prepare mentally, and then you will cope much better with any whatever situation you find yourself in. I think that this can be applied to many aspects of life, and not just ocean racing. But in relation to the Clipper Race, this means reflecting on what the most challenging ‘polar bear’ moments might be and really mentally preparing for them is critical, then heaven forbid the situation arises, you will be able to cope much better.
The Mission Performance talk also covered things like living in a confined space with 20 other people, and how different teams have managed situations. Rob talked about the importance of being open and honest, giving feedback and importantly taking feedback. Self awareness is key. As is being thoughtful of the needs of those around you, looking out for them, and in turn they will look out for you.
Next on the agenda were Henri Lloyd. Henri Lloyd are the technical clothing partner of the Clipper Race and were the technical partner for Sir Robin during his record breaking circumnavigation in 1968. There representative talked briefly about the kit that should be worn for the race, and the importance of looking after it. They were also measuring people up and taking orders for kit at the briefing, but there’s really no rush on kit, so if you weren’t at the briefing don’t panic!
Unicef were up next. Unicef is the official race charity and they were talking about some of the awesome work that they do for children around the world. And how crew can get involved with fundraising for them. They were also onsite with VR goggles which allowed you experience a little of what it might be like for a child in Syria at the moment. Pretty moving and quite shocking actually.
Following Unicef’s talk was a live interview session with crew members that have taken part in the 15/16 race, or the 13/14 race. They were interviewed by David Cusworth (a former RTW-er and the Recruitment Director for Clipper). It was interesting and entertaining hearing their stories and top tips for what to take in your kit bad, and also what to expect from life on-board. One interviewee was Jenny Day, an energetic crew member for team Garmin – she’s already done a leg of 15/16, and will be doing a final leg later in the race. Follow her on twitter to see how she get’s on with her final leg.
After the formal talks, it was great to meet and chat with excited 17/18 crew members and meet lots of awesome new people. I also had a few drinks with my clipper race level one crew mates which was very fun!