I had only been home a few days from the Bahamas when I set off again, this time down to Portsmouth for one of the most exciting ceremonies I have ever been to. After a overnight stay in London with Sam who I met on my level 3 we headed down to the Guildhall in Portsmouth for the Clipper Crew allocation.
It was a record attendance in the 20 year history for the Clipper race, more than 450 members of crew representing 32 nationalities and 200 crew supporters. The atmosphere was electric as we saw old faces through training and met new.
After an official photo shoot for the Clipper race website we sat down to listen to presentations by Race Director Mark Light, Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Clipper main charity UNICEF. Then we waited in anticipation as the 12 skippers were brought on stage to read all our names, allocating us to their teams. You could hear a pin drop, just the occasional cheer as a name was read out by a favourable skipper.
I really did not have an incline as to which yacht, skipper and team I would be selected for. I had my favourites but knew fate would take its course. And then finally I could relax – I was selected onto Team Andy. Andy Burns was one of my choices in my head, I liked his profile and he grew up in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Once the procedures were finished we all headed very excitably into our breakout rooms to get to know our crew who we will be spending a lot of time with. We discussed team tactics, roles on board, favourite foods, a team song, fears, priorities and much more. This continued into the evening where we partied in Portsmouth feeling absolutely on top of the world.
Our racing yacht will be announced after the 8th June.
Skipper – Andy Burns