Taking on a clipper
Airlie Beach local signs up for Aussie leg of global race
AIRLIE Beach local Nigel Pemberton is preparing – as much as possible – for a “bucket list” kind of feat in one of the world’s most epic ocean adventures.
Mr Pemberton, who now also answers to his sailing name ‘Jack’, has been in Gosport, UK, getting ready to spend six weeks on a 70ft ocean racing yacht as part of the biennial 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race later this year.
He said the Level four training which took him for the first time to southern England had focused on safety and was completed with his skipper and about 20 other members of the team who would be on board Sanya Serenity Coast for the fourth leg of the eight-leg race.
It is planned that the 68-year-old manager of the Shingley Beach Resort will leave Fremantle in early December, sail to Sydney, Tasmania, and then from Hobart to Airlie Beach, arriving in the Whitsundays around January 12 next year.
His boat, which has been sponsored by southern China and named after the township of Sanya, would also have two Chinese ambassadors on board.
“All my sailing so far has been inshore sailing. Being in the Whitsundays, I’ve done quite a few Airlie Race Weeks, but nothing like this. I wanted to be able to experience offshore sailing,” Mr Pemberton said.
“And this leg incorporates the Sydney to Hobart part of the race which is the icing on the cake for me.”
Mr Pemberton, who has been at the resort for nearly 10 years and lived in Airlie Beach “on and off” for 30 years, said more than 50% of race participants had never sailed before and came from diverse parts of the world, with diverse backgrounds and lifestyles.
It was, he said, one of his favourite parts of the journey-of-a-lifetime so far.
“The race attracts a unique group of people, and it’s also a bonding thing. You’ve got to look after each other,” he said.
“I think sailing is unique because you’re out there competing with the elements.
“There’s no power involved... it’s purely nature and, I suppose, sailing across an ocean will be completely different.
“I think it’s going to be very rough.
“These boats sail at a 30-degree angle so they’re always on a tilt in any reasonable wind.
“Obviously things can go wrong, but I like to think to myself ‘just do it. I’ve come this far’.”
Full story at www. whitsundaytimes.com.au.
IN TRAINING: Nigel Pemberton in training for the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Race off the Solent near Portsmouth in the UK.
Nigel ‘Jack’ Pemberton.