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The 4 Month Countdown To Race Start

4 months from today, I will be on-board Garmin. Lining up with 10 other identical boats on the start line of Clipper Race Leg 8, ready to race the North Atlantic to the UK.  This moment has been over 2 years in the making, and a lifetime of dreaming. And with it so close to reality, I have been working hard to make sure I am fit, healthy and prepared.

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In December (with 6 months to go), I started to increase the focus on those 3 elements. Adjusting my diet to strictly paleo, working on my physical strength and fitness, and also focusing on my sailing skills. So now that I’m 2 months in, and with only 4 months to go, I thought I’d share an update.


Fitness onboard a racing yacht is of huge huge importance. At times the boat will be heeled over at an angle of 45 degrees, for days on end. Making simple jobs like getting dressed or climbing in to a bunk a huge physical challenge. Then there is the sailing element… Hauling 70kg sails out of a sail locker, whilst being pounded by waves and at an angle. This requires stamina, strength and balance.

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Life at an angle can be very physical, so peak fitness is critical

In summary, fitness is critical to life onboard. So what have I been doing?…

These last 2 months I’ve been mainly working on increasing my fitness, through cardio workouts, like daily HIIT, spinning, and running. In January I challenged myself with a ‘Race At Your Pace’ pledge, to cover an incremental 25 miles – on top of my HIIT and cycling. I smashed this. In February I’ve been building on my HIIT, by incorporating a 6kg or 8kg kettle bell to start to really build up specific muscle groups and further shed fat.

They are coming!… hahaha

It seems to be working. I feel so much fitter and stronger. I also feel energised.


In December, if you read my blog you’ll remember I committed to go ‘Paleo’. I have firmly stuck to this. Eating only ‘clean’ meat, veg, nuts and fruit, with nothing to drink, but water. I have largely stuck to this. There have only been 3 exceptions when I had a half glass of cava (one of those was New Year’s eve), so I don’t think I’ve done too badly!

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A healthy paleo breakfast of prawns, tomatoes, cucumber, spinach and egg

I find Paleo incredibly easy. Eating lots of great food, that’s simple to source and easy to cook, it always tastes delicious and works well for my body, and with my busy lifestyle. Paleo, of course also means dairy and wheat free. With an underlying wheat intolerance, this change alone makes a huge difference to how I feel.

For a treat, I occasionally bake Paleo crisps!

All in, with my dietary changes and exercise regime, I have managed to shed 16lbs (7+kg).

A delicious paleo breakfast (Quinoa cooked in Almond milk, with nuts and honey on top) aka Paleo porridge

Sailing skills.

I have managed to get out on the water twice so far this year, for a delivery job, and a weekend mile builder (in freezing stormy conditions). I learnt loads on both.

Coming up soon I have my first of 2, Clipper race refresher weekends. As well as various other mile builders, which will help me gain more experience.

The delivery job took me through the Thames barrier

I’ve been swotting up on some hot topics – reading the RYA Sail trim book, and starting on another Rig Tuning and Trim book. As well, as reading and learning all about Astro Navigation.

I’ve been reminding myself of weather forecasting skills, and navigation, as well as practicing knots on my daily commute!

I’ll give another update in 2 months time. I’m hoping to have a big push over these next few weeks, with increased workout intensity and sharpening up the paleo (i.e. less fruit). So fingers crossed, I stay on track and see the difference in the next update.


4 thoughts on “The 4 Month Countdown To Race Start”

  1. Hi

    Thank you for the blog, it’s answering a lot of questions and is helping me prepare for my week 1 training in March. I’m on leg 6 in the 19/20 edition. Love that it’s from the female perspective too!

    I have a quick question around food. I’m on a primarily Ketogenic diet and with what I’ve read and watched, the food onboard seems to be carb heavy “comfort food”. I’m curious to know how you’re managing the switch from paleo to more carbs when you’re onboard.

    I haven’t mentioned my dietary choices to anyone at Clipper as I’m aware that it’s not mainstream. I’m not keen on snacking on crisps and biscuits and then filling up on pasta. Any suggestions?

    Thanks Brooke

    1. Hi, I’m pleased you’re enjoying my blog, and it’s useful for you. Exciting that you’re about to start your training, good luck with that!

      With regards to diet, Clipper are used to dealing with all sorts of diets, so I would let them know ASAP and they will accommodate. I wouldn’t worry about it being ‘not so main stream’.

      During training it has been very carb heavy, and I personally don’t enjoy the carb heavy snacking culture onboard. But there is always fruits on hand (in abundance), and I usually take a couple of bags of nuts on too, and some nakd bars. I would definitely recommend that you do the same. For my leg, I’m also going to be taking some bags of jerky for snacking.

      With regards to main meals and what’s on offer, if you’ve given the heads up in advance, your needs will be met. For me, joining leg 8, my skipper is a real foodie and so he works with our victualler to come up with a great, healthy and balance menu. All of our needs are factored in, so I know that I will be well catered for.
      Best of luck with your adventure!

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