UNICEF & Clipper Ventures

Heather and I regularly donate to three charities, one of which is UNICEF. As we donate monthly, and have done for nearly 10 years we are classed as Global Parents, which we feel good about…its a small thing, and giving your time is probably more important than money, but it makes us feel like we are giving back a little, and so we should.

For the first time this year UNICEF have branded and sponsored yacht in the Clipper round the world yacht race with the aim of increasing awareness and raising money. In December we got invited down to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) to not only look around the Clipper yachts and have a guided tour over the UNICEF yacht, but also to meet the sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

If you don’t know who Knox Johnston is…well, he is one of the grandaddies of sailing. In 1969 he became the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. So big is the challenge of sailing single handed, non stop around the world that apparently more people have been into Space than have completed this feat,  and that is something to think about.

Robin is the fella with the beard. 

Thanks to Heather striking up a conversation with Robin, we had a great chat with him and we both left the conversation with the opinion that he was an incredibly focussed but humble man. He simply summed up his achievements with a wry smile and said; “really i just got lucky, I’ve always seemed to be in the right place at the right time”….maybe he was, but talk about understated !

The Clipper Yachts

I have thought about doing the Clipper race a few times, but I had never been on one of these yachts before. I was impressed, these are serious boats. Built for ocean racing, they ooze strength and durability. Down below they are simplicity themselves, white fibreglass surfaces, webbing bunks and industrial brushed steel work surfaces in the galley. All around the yacht are notes scribed on the walls in permanent marker detailing  everything from where to store things and how to cope in emergencies right down to how to make bread.

The crew were from all walks of life. All looking for something different, a challenge, new experiences, maybe a new life.  On the surface all seemed amicable, and i am sure it is when in port. But I can imagine what a pressure cooker of an environment the yacht would be when you fill it with a crew of very different perspective, attitudes, abilities and motivations. Add in a healthy dose of fear, I’m sure a few egos and a bit of politics and sheesh, things could get tough on board.  The clipper is billed as the challenge of a lifetime and I’m sure it is.

In the time its taken me to pull my finger out and write this post the Clipper yachts have not only taken part in the Sydney Hobart yacht race, they have sailed all the way to Vietnam…what have i done…well, i’ve sat at my desk pushing paper…

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