Level Three [October 2016]

The time has come to attend my final level of training at the Clipper Training base in Sydney before I head to the UK for my Level 4 prior to race start come August (or September!) 2017. I can’t believe that the race is NEXT YEAR…. I had a quick work out… this time, next year, I will be on board on of the 12-Strong Clipper 70 Fleet, somewhere on the South Atlantic or heading out towards the Southern Ocean! I am currently sitting in my quite chilly apartment in Shanghai, China.

I have gained a few land/nautical/air miles over the last year and a bit!

Back to what this page should be about…. My Level 3 Training and the Sydney Hub of Clipper Round the World.
It was all a bit of a rush from the beginning for me, my flight was delayed arriving into Sydney! Once on the ground – it was all go to get to CYCA in time to start the course… I ended up being just under an hour late, and felt awful for my crew, but they were understanding and really quite a cool group of people!

First order of the day, aside from breathing… quick brief, introductions, plan for the day / course, duties etc.
Level 3 is all about getting used to working with Spinnakers as well as practicing all sorts of skills from the previous levels.
We were a very small 6+2. The Skipper was the AWESOME Wendy Tuck, a fantastic lady – having just completed her Circumnavigation as Skipper of DaNang Vietnam during the 15/16 race, and the mate was Derek Brown – an awesome guy was a RTWer onboard PSP logistics in the 13/14 edition. It is great to have a skipper and mate whose knowledge is really fresh in relation to the 70s!

We set sail once gear was stowed, sails on deck and hanked on, etc. We didn’t do any spinnaker work on the first day – we intended to get out to sea, “play”, practice our tacks, gybes, MoB in all different positions, as well as getting on the helm and getting used to how CV5 (Gold Coast) works and feels.
I love the 68s – such a great vessel to complete the training on. I like the 70s layout, and 68s stability.

We headed for Pittwater, into a lovely bay, picked up a mooring, and I crashed out for the night. (It’s hard work this flying from China lark!)
After we picked up a mooring in Pittwater
The next day we were going to head north towards a place called Newcastle. (NOT the UK Newcastle!) Today was the day we were able to play with the spinnaker! I LOVE spinnakers! So much fun! We were able to run with the kite for a few hours. While the kite was flying we all took turns to be in different positions – trimmer, grinder, helms etc. I thoroughly enjoyed being on the helm for spinnaker – such a joy!
Glorious run with the kits towards Newcastle
Heading to Newcastle was great, it was home for a couple of our crew – so it was nice for them!! Glorious weather, and a chance to get another good nights kip in!
Alongside in Newcastle
Of course, the next challenge was to get back to Sydney – and the weather gods must have known that this was our plan – as the wind was in our favour, and we had (another) glorious run downwind to get us back “home” to Sydney. I took a bit of a knock to the head on this stretch of our training. If there is anything I learnt – get out of the way of the kite’s tack, even if you are in the pit, and dropping the halliard – it will get you, and it really hurts!

Running the motions for a racing headsail change
So, post evolution – I was sent down below, to lay down – took it out of me a bit.
I feel bad for the crew who were now down to 5 packing the spinnaker away.

(They did a great job, and I really must thank them for checking up on me!)

Once back in Sydney it was hot shower time and time to plan the final days – which consisted of some more evolutions and of course, the best thing – deep clean and debriefs, and a well deserved coke.... haha! Cheers crew!
A well earned bevvie or two post Level 3 Training at CYCA
I think I am pretty much ready for the RTW… the experience in Australia for levels 1, 2, and 3 have given me insight to all sorts of weather, and practice all sorts of evolutions at different positions in the boat.
I have been able to organise my kit accordingly and be ready on time.

I can’t wait to get on the 70s!

But first… I have the SYDNEY HOBART TO DO!
Until the next time....
At SYD waiting to board the flight to Shanghai, China

Photo Credit - Derek Brown. (Mate, CV5)