Tak­ing on a clip­per

Air­lie Beach lo­cal signs up for Aussie leg of global race

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Louise Shan­non

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.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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