Lansdown man to do Clipper Round the World yacht race
WHILE sitting at Cheltenham Spa railway station waiting for an early morning train, Nick Blewer saw a poster which would change the course of his life.
In March last year the 47-year-old was just beginning another day of travelling around the country in his job as a self-employed business consultant, and was longing for a change – for some excitement.
The poster he saw was for the Clipper Round the World challenge – a gruelling globe-spanning race where crews sail more than 40,000 miles on a yacht over 11 months.
Having been a keen amateur sailor for seven years, Nick decided to take the plunge and apply for a place.
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"I was sitting waiting for the 7.30am train to Paddington and opposite me was an advert for the Clipper Round the World Yacht race. I just had a moment where I thought, if I don't do something like this now, it will never happen."
The race prides itself on giving adventurous folk from all walks of life a chance to take part, and Nick persuaded the organisers he had what it took during the interview.
Now, having moved out of his flat, he is preparing to set sail on September 1 for the biggest challenge of his life.
Nick, from Lansdown, will sail on board a boat sponsored by the 2013 City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry, one of 12 brand new identical 70ft racing yachts taking part.
He is one of the 10 core sailors on board, with the other 10 places taken up by a rotating crew of 40 men and women.
There are eight legs to the race, which starts at Tower Bridge in London and takes in Rio, Cape Town, Sydney, Qingdao in China and New York among other places.
"It's an 11-month trip and nine months at sea," Nick said. "Each leg is roughly a month, and when we get to our destination, we have to prep for the next race, spending about a week fixing winches and sails, stocking up on food, cleaning, familiarising the incoming crew and of course getting in a beer or two – strictly no alcohol at sea!"
Although thoroughly prepared through training, Nick is well aware of the dangers.
"There will be 70 and 80ft waves on some of the ocean crossings which can turn the 70ft yacht into a surfboard – one of the biggest dangers is being caught unawares by a big wave. You cannot say there is not an element of danger but it's about managing that risk and being prepared if something does go wrong."
He added: "I'm swapping my Gloucester Rugby season ticket for a life of four-hour shifts, 20kg of luggage, 4,800 calories a day and a shared bunk – I am going to miss Kingsholm for a year, but it's just going to be an amazing experience."
The Echo will have updates on Nick's progress during the race.