#ChangingTack- From Fitness Coach to First Mate on the world’s toughest ocean adventure

#ChangingTack- From Fitness Coach to First Mate on the world’s toughest ocean adventure

#ChangingTack is a sequence on how ocean crusing and time spent at sea within the rawest and wildest environments adjustments us, and may encourage a life or profession change.

In her early twenties, not lengthy out of college, Mary Vaughan-Jones was working as a health teacher, not sure of what the remainder of her profession would maintain. Ready for an enormous problem, and having what she dubbed a ‘quarter-life disaster,’ Mary determined to enroll as a circumnavigator on the Clipper 2019-20 Race, regardless of by no means having sailed earlier than.

Talking about taking over this problem that will take her across the globe, Mary mentioned: “At that time in my life I used to be pondering I do not know what I’m doing with my life, why don’t I’m going and cycle around the world or one thing? Then my dad noticed an article within the newspaper in regards to the Clipper 2017-8 Race, which began from Liverpool, and I’m from Lancashire which is simply up the highway. He mentioned why don’t you give this a shot, and I ended up signing as much as do the entire thing.”

She recounts her coaching expertise: “My first week coaching was throughout extreme storms- so it was fairly chilly! Honestly, I cherished it due to the individuals. Alex, who was my First Mate, is an identical age to me and confirmed me that crusing and doing the race was so satisfying as a teen.”

Image: Mary at work on board

In September 2019, Mary and her teammates on board Punta del Este slipped strains from St Katharine Docks in London and commenced the eleven-month circumnavigation that will see Mary and her fellow teammates cross the world’s largest and wildest oceans. The journey began with a race from the UK to Portimao, earlier than crusing by way of the Atlantic to Punta del Este in Uruguay, earlier than crossing the South Atlantic to Cape Town after which taking over the extreme Roaring Forties from South Africa to Western Australia, racing from Fremantle to the Whitsundays Australia. Mary’s potential was quickly recognised by her Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, and he or she was given duty of Watch Leader in the course of the first half of the circumnavigation, and clocked over 20,000 nautical miles.

Image: Mary on board Punta del Este along with her crew mates

Recounting her expertise as a crew member, Mary notes her memorable experiences as crossing the Equator for the primary time, an exceptional storm simply earlier than arriving in Punta del Este after Race 2, and above all “Leg 3, crusing within the Roaring Forties with the large ocean situations I needed to expertise.” Mary and her teammates on board Punta del Este confronted enormous ocean waves, gusts of over 76 knots as they raced from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia, the place her household was ready on the dock, which she cites as one other spotlight. She says: “it was so nice seeing them after such an enormous leg and for them to see what I used to be doing and loving.”

Unfortunately, the Clipper Race was suspended in March 2020 because of the world pandemic, with Mary and the Clipper Race Crew having to return residence from the Philippines. Once the race was halted and the world went into lockdown, Mary re-evaluated her profession. “I knew that I loved being a health coach. I didn’t need to keep as a private coach, however I positively didn’t plan to change into a sailor. However, I knew I actually loved the educating individuals side of being an teacher. When lockdown hit I believed I actually take pleasure in crusing and don’t actually need to cease, so I’ll as properly go and do some {qualifications}. When I actually considered it, I made a decision I actually needed to do that as a profession.”

During the UK lockdown, Mary accomplished her crusing concept {qualifications} after which in December 2020 achieved her Yachtmaster ticket and began working as a Cruising Instructor, a workers skipper for a youth belief, getting younger deprived individuals into crusing, in addition to engaged on getting a Farr65 in Antigua prepared for racing. Once the Clipper Race had the inexperienced gentle to restart, Mary utilized for the position of an AQP (Additionally Qualified Person.) After a tricky choice course of, she was chosen to tackle the position on board Visit Sanya, China alongside Skipper Mike Miller for the second half of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, main the crew throughout two of the world’s most difficult oceans: the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.

Image: Mary as AQP with Skipper Mike Miller

A First Mate on the Clipper Race works carefully with its Skipper, utilising their very own experience and supporting the objectives of the group. The AQP helps the Skipper not solely in driving the group to push themselves within the race, however making use of individuals growth expertise to assist create a reliable, aggressive and enthusiastic race group. It is a vital position, supporting as much as 22 crew on board at anybody time in a variety of ocean situations.

On taking over the job, Mary says: “I had determined to have a profession in crusing and I knew I needed to finish the race however I needed to do it in a manner that will be helpful for my profession. It was a pure step up from Watch Leader so it made sense to use for the AQP position and proceed studying from presumably one other Skipper. I notably love being on an even bigger crusing boat the place now we have to work as a group to make the boat sail properly and it doesn’t matter who you might be or what you do normally – in the midst of the ocean you crack on with it collectively.”

Image: Mary along with her group on board Visit Sanya, China

After 5 months of racing, the Visit Sanya, China group sailed into London putting sixth total, and Mary had a full circumnavigation underneath her belt at simply age 26. As an AQP, Mary cites a spotlight on the race route as: “coming into Bermuda, because it was the primary win for our group and so they had sailed the boat – Mike and I had been there to facilitate. The crew had been so blissful – it was superb seeing them have fun!”

She continues: “The most rewarding a part of my job is that you’ve individuals come on board with little confidence and by the tip they’re out on the bow serving to pull a sail down or helming in large climate. It’s superior seeing them take pleasure in it, and seeing their progress.”

The distinctive problem of being a Clipper Race AQP presents stable expertise for additional growing knowledgeable crusing profession, with the chance to advance to Skipper. Mary has her ambitions set excessive, with ambition to proceed this pathway, and growing her offshore crusing profession. Talking about working for Clipper Ventures, she mentioned: “The firm is absolutely supportive of our growth, particularly for us as AQPs. They encourage us to develop and get extra {qualifications}. The group is at all times there for a chat about your subsequent steps.”

Image: Mary on sail restore duties

Mary is now at present primarily based in Gosport, engaged on the refit of the Clipper 70 racing yachts prepared for the subsequent version of the Clipper Race. Speaking in regards to the upkeep work, she says: “Well I do know the place all of the boat’s plumbing goes, having re-run all of it! The Maintenance Team is so educated, and are very blissful to assist us. There are a number of jobs that aren’t glamorous however very mandatory, and it’s about attending to know the boats just like the again of your hand, for instance, engaged on the rigging. Working as a part of the refit group actually helps to cement information of upkeep in the course of the race.”

Citing group as one of many predominant causes for loving her job, Mary describes her experiences working as knowledgeable sailor: “There had been 5 feminine First Mates within the final version of the Clipper Race, which was so beautiful as a result of crusing and ocean racing is a male dominated trade. We are all handled the identical, however it’s positively good to produce other younger females beside you. We had been fairly a younger group too which is very nice, and we’re so supportive of every other- we all know it’s a race, however we assist one another wherever we go.”

Image: Mary along with her group

Not alone in being a twenty-something not sure of what profession path to choose, Mary speaks about her steps towards altering her life after experiencing ocean racing and presents recommendation for these in an identical state of mind: “I’m considered one of 4 siblings together with a physician, lawyer and an accountant so I empathise with the sensation of stress to have a traditional profession! I believe finally, for those who aren’t doing a job you take pleasure in then why do it?

“I don’t see my job day-after-day as work, which sounds actually cliché, however I don’t get up pondering ‘I don’t need to go to work at this time.’ Even on these days if you would possibly really feel much less enthused, as quickly as you get out on the water it is a lot fun- I’m working with my mates and doing one thing I really like. So if there’s one thing you need to do, you simply must shoot the shot and go for it actually.

“I believe you actually must put your self ahead typically and provides issues a go. Before signing as much as the Clipper Race I used to be fairly shy and didn’t have a lot confidence in myself, whereas now I’m positive I’d be described as a bit gobby! In all seriousness, now I’ll simply go and ask and discover issues out, and push to get extra information for myself.”

There are so many expertise encompassed within the position of AQP, from management and group constructing and technical crusing potential. If you may relate and are searching for a rewarding profession in crusing like Mary was, and are in search of a change of course, why not apply to be a part of the world’s best ocean journey in knowledgeable position, or check out our different various profession opportunities?


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