Ten winners of Henri Lloyd Australia's Facebook competition joined staff member Susana for a day aboard the Henri Lloyd Clipper yacht. Read Susana's blog below.
Even the Sydney morning peak hour traffic couldn't dampen my excitement ... a day aboard the Henri Lloyd 50 Years of Pioneering Spirit yacht awaited me and our ten lucky winners.
By 9:00am we'd all arrived at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA). It seemed as though we had everything we needed - beautiful weather, just the right amount of wind; all the ingredients for a great day sailing.
Coffees and muffins were scoffed down before we headed off to board the yacht. I understand why they refer to yachts as "she" ... the Henri Lloyd 50 Years of Pioneering Spirit Clipper yacht is a real beauty. There she was, 75 feet of navy blue emblazoned with the name of the very best sailing clothing manufacturer in the world (and yes, my employer).
Eric Holden, our skipper, was there to greet us along with 4 members of his crew. After the introductions were over we all took part in some lessons to familiarise ourselves with the workings of the boat. Most of the guests had some experience sailing, but we all learnt something. I, for instance learnt that the boom earned its name from the sound it makes when connecting with an inattentive sailor's head! Just kidding.
After a final check from our skipper we were off. There are no words to explain the amazing treat we were in for, but I will try my best. The scenery was breathtaking as we sailed around from Rushcutters Bay to the Harbour, taking in the spectacular Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
We all took turns doing jobs around the boat, manning the winches (grinders), trimming the sails and running from port to starboard as we tacked our way along. It was a very hands-on day and we experienced most of the jobs the race crews have to do during a race ... but we had the privilege of taking a rest when we got tired and enjoying the view. Eric and his wonderful crew took good care of us and passed on a lot of their knowledge - which I was able to use while watching the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as I observed crew dancing from port to starboard to keep themselves at the highest part of the boat.
I was amazed as we passed other yachts - the 70 foot Clipper dwarfing 40 footers I'd always referred to as big! Despite it's size, the yacht was quick and nimble. I would love the opportunity to race one ... one day.
We all enjoyed the stories of the skipper and crew and were amazed that, aside from Eric, the rest of the crew are all amateurs from all over the world. The beauty of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is that it brings together people from different countries, with different backgrounds, varying amounts of sailing knowledge and experience and provides them with the chance to put their regular life on hold and take part in something extraordinary.
We were lucky to have shared a small part of their adventure and would like to thank Eric Holden, crew members Chris Nelson, Donato Paradiso, and (husband and wife) Herb and Janet Wiser for a spectacular day out on the water. Finally, our thanks to CYCA and Aimee Deacon, events manager Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for her help in organising such a wonderful experience for us.
Henri Lloyd is the official fleet sponsor of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Don't miss out on the fun! Make sure you 'Like' Henri Lloyd Australia on Facebook so you'll be the first to hear of any new adventures we have planned for 2014.