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  • Clipper Race 2017/18 - Charlie's Voyage - Welcome to Punta Del Este!

Clipper Race 2017/18 - Charlie's Voyage - Welcome to Punta Del Este!

As we get closer to the start of leg 2, Charlie reflects on the last few days of leg 1. 
Charlie at the wheel
On 21st September, a month of exhilirating sailing came to an end as Sanya Serenity Coast crossed the finish line of Leg 1 of the Clipper Race 2017/18. The remaining 11 teams all finished the race over the next few days, with Charlie Garratt's team, Dare to Lead, crossing the line in 5th place. 
This video shows a brief insight into life aboard the Dare to Lead yacht in Leg 1.

Here is Charlie's latest blog.

Today I write to you from the comfort of a stable, dry and comfy sofa in the yacht club, having showered and had a good night sleep I feel like a new woman!
The last week saw us pushing hard to get to the finish line and we gave it a darn good try. Going from 10th after our medevac to crossing the line 5th was an unbelievable feat, we were extremely close to Qingdao in front of us but unfortunately, they were able to hold us off.

Sleeping arrangements

For the last week, our Skipper decided it was time to treat those of us who had been sleeping on port side. We gybed so that we were able to sleep on the low side and it actually took a while to get used too. The first night I found it hard to sleep as I was not used to angle! However, never get complacent on a yacht as before I knew it we had gybed again. Being unprepared for such a gybe, I was woken from my slumber and managed to just catch and stop myself from falling onto the floor – that would have most definitely added to my collection of bruises.

Was that a shark?


Our final few days saw us mingling with the local sea life, pods of dolphins and whales surfaced within 70ft of Dare To Lead, there was even a potential spotting of a shark by the other watch but how reliable a sighting I am unsure. Either way the excitement of seeing more wonderful creatures of the blue gave us the encouragement to keep the boat going fast in order to spend as much time with them as possible.


The endless last day


The last day of sailing seemed to be endless, each watch I would wake and check the distance to run and each time my heart would sink as there would be hours still to go. Initially we thought we might get in as the sun was setting on Thursday evening but due to light winds our arrival time kept slipping further into the night. Disappointment spread through the boat as we were not keen on a night time arrival, we wanted the fanfare of our supporters and the general public to see us in and not to quietly arrive in the dead of night. Boy, were we wrong!


Crossing the finish line


In the early hours of Friday morning in the rain and cold we were closing in on the finish line with the lights of Punta del Este just ahead of us. As we crossed the line cheers exploded from the whole crew, we had made the 6400-nautical mile journey, in reply to our cheers, shouts could be heard rising from the shore... had our supporters in fact braved the wet and cold to see loved ones after 34 days? Of course they had, we should have expected nothing less of our family and friends. The atmosphere turned electric. Shouts and cheers were now coming from both shore and onboard, one such shout brought the news that our missing crew members Jerry and Sco had in fact made their way to see us in. As we came alongside we were greeted by the group of supporters, race officials and a few officials from our host port and Yacht Club Punta del Este. Emotions were running high. Although I had no specific supporters to greet me, messages and love from home came through from other supporters and I think, if had I seen any friends or family, I would not have kept it together. Our arrival was also streamed live and messages from family back home came flooding in via the live feed, which informed me that due to my arrival time a few family members were in fact late for work...I apologise on their behalf!


We often focus on the race and the teams out here sailing but we must also remember the land lubbers we leave behind and it is great to see another team developing in our supporters. They may have started the race supporting just their loved one but from watching back home they develop friendships with other supporters and arrive ready to welcome us just as if we were their own


Leg 1 reflection


With that, leg one is complete, looking back there have been highs and lows but overall an amazing experience. When asked which was my best part of leg one I am unable to answer, so much happened and much more that I am sure I've already forgotten. However, that feeling of crossing the finish line... lets just say it makes the hairs on your arms and neck stand on end.


Now is the time to recover, complete maintenance on board and make sure that both crew and yacht are in top shape for leg two.


See you again out on the ocean,




This blog was written by Charie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador. 


See previous blogs here