Sydney to Hobart novice Simon Crockett: US$8,000 worth every cent

Simon Crockett reflects on his first Sydney to Hobart experience having paid US$8,000 for the trip on Clipper Ventures 5

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 3:19pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 8:49pm

Unless you are a pro or at the elite upper echelons of sailing, you have little chance to be invited to sail in a Hobart race. And at over 50 and as a Brit living in Hong Kong, I knew that I didn’t have the sufficient network to get a ride.

And I knew that I could shout it all over the main bar at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, but with old knees and a bad back, it was never going to happen.

I’d seen this race for over a decade and I wanted to go. I decided to go with Clipper Ventures. I knew that I’d finish and, importantly, I’d finish safe.

Aboard Clipper Ventures, they put you through the paces and train you on board their 68-foot boat, rather than being banged around like in a washing machine in a 35- 40-foot flier.

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Everyone has to go offshore about 250 miles as a shake down and complete a sea survival course.

We did a fair bit of hot-bunking and worked on four-hour watches night and day, with a 6pm “Happy Hour”.

According to Hobart rules, that certainly doesn’t mean alcohol, but it was a chance to catch up with the other eight members of the crew on a different watch.

We had seven nationalities and you realise you are all equal and you soon get into a routine and realise that everybody’s feet smell.

Cooking conditions are spartan with a gimbled stove and one [toilet].

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Clipper Ventures was created by Sir Robert Knox Johnson, a solo around the world sailor, to give people the chance to sail in various ocean races.

I paid US$8,000 for my trip. It was worth every cent.