WHEN The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet sails into the Whitsundays this weekend, there will be one person on board who will be very happy to see home.
Local businessman Nigel Pemberton will have completed one of his long-held bucket list items by taking part in the All-Australian leg of the 40,000 nautical mile voyage around the world.
Mr Pemberton, 68, will have been at sea for five weeks in total on Sanya Serenity, including completing the gruelling race around the south of Australia from Fremantle to Sydney, and then the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
This was then followed by racing up the east coast of Australia in the Wondrous Whitsundays Race - so-called to reflect the wonder and beauty of the Whitsundays - with the Clipper Race yachts expected to arrive into Airlie Beach this weekend between January 13 and 15.
Once in the Whitsundays, the Clipper Race crew members, who represent more than 20 different nationalities, will take a very welcome two-week break, enjoying everything the Whitsundays has to offer with their families and friends in the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.
Mr Pemberton, who manages Shingley Beach Resort, said he had a "reasonable” amount of sailing experience, having done Airlie Beach Race Week six times and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week once before.
"But it's all short stuff around the Whitsunday islands, not ocean racing.
"It was a challenge to go ocean racing as it's the opposite to the inter-island racing we do here.
"And also to do the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which I have never done - that was the carrot.
"Most probably I'll never do it again - it's a one-off.”
Mr Pemberton said the biggest challenge was assimilating to a watch system and getting into a sleep pattern.
"You are doing two watches during the day and three in the night, so six hours on in the day and four hours on at night.
"Getting used to a sleep pattern and getting used to the rhythm of the crew was challenging. A lot of the crew had already done many miles of sailing together.”
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only race of its kind and matches experienced skippers with novice sailors, who can take part in just one leg or every leg of the race.
For more on The Clipper Race Festival turn to page 14.
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