Level One Training [October 2015]

Level One Training
October 2015

Sydney, Australia.

A cracking week in Australia

So, the beginning of my Clipper Round the Yacht Race 2017/2018 adventure is about to begin! I flew into Sydney, Australia from China. When I landed, I have to say, the excitement was already bubbling away in my stomach!
I met with a fellow ex-crew member, affectionately known as "Doctor Dan" - he was our crew doctor (RTW)  in the 13/14 race, and I met and got to know him during my race, which was Leg 6 (Qingdao - San Francisco).

Doctor Dan picked me up from the airport and we spent most of the morning / best part of the afternoon doing some touristy stuff... visiting the habour, going to SeaWorld, and Madame Tussaurds. It was a fun day - and great to catch up! (Thanks Dan!)

Now, onto Level One Training!
Clipper Australia is different to Clipper UK... there is no "office" as such, and there is only two boats in the Australia fleet - but they are both well maintained and lovely!

I met with fellow crew, some of which I had got to know through the means of Facebook! I also met with Kirsty, the person that is key organiser! We then went on to met the Skipper (Gregor) and Mate (Wayne).
I am a rare kind, apparently... returning to do the race again!! (I wouldn't be me if I wasn't at least a little crazy!)

Level One is all about getting to be safe crew members, getting to know the boat, and also know how to deal with emergency situations including, Man Overboard (MoB) and Fire. As well as learning about your kit, what is good? What is bad? What works for you? How to pack?! What NOT to bring! etc.

The week got off to a good start, and maintained a steady course throughout! We were issued with our Wet Weather Gear (Foulies) - something that you will grow to love in the race, because they do keep you warm and dry!!
We then went onto introductions, backgrounds, and finding out what people want from training, their aims in the race etc.

Other starting sections of the day include a tour of the boat both above and below decks, learning about how to move around, the different sections of the boat, locations of safety equipment and a quick run down of how things work, for example the heads! (toilets!)

We were then divided into a watch system, and the allocation of "jobs" were sorted by the Skipper. Jobs onboard include; mother, engineer, and cleaners. Roles which are rotated during the week.
Mother - this is when you are effectively the chef! The look after the meals of the day, and keep everyone well and truly topped up during training.
Enginner - You work with the permenant crew (Skipper/Mate) to carry out engine/genny checks and there is a helpful acronym to help you remember the order of events.... W.O.B.B.L.E.D (Water, Oil, Belts, Bilges, Leaks, Electric, Day Tank) - even though the theory is the same across most vessels the order may change...
Cleaner - literally speaks for itself, but hygiene is masively important onboard ship! The speed of which a meer cold can spread through a ships crew in crazy! Wash you hands often!

We got to sea once our last crew member joined, and while we there we learnt about the sails, configurations, and how to hoist, and drop safely. As we got more confident during the week, we started to lead evolutions ourselves under the watchful eyes of our Skipper and Mate.

From the beginning of the week, I wanted to make sure that I could become a Watch Leader, I feel more confident then ever about leading evolutions, and working with a varied ability of crew. I managed to get a lot of helming hours in both in daylight and nightime! (quite different to the North Pacific, mind you!)

On the whole, I did have a cracking week... and I can't wait to get back onboard in April 2016!