GoToBermuda

By Michael Barker

It sounds like a command, I know, and why wouldn’t one want to escape our Western Australian heat just now and go to Bermuda, unless of course it was tornado season in the Caribbean.
But actually, I’m referring to a clipper of that name that’s participating in the Clipper Round the World 2019-2020 Race, which has finished three of it legs and getting ready for the fourth – from Fremantle to The Whitsundays in Queensland. They race out of Fremantle Sailing Club, where they are currently berthed, on 22 December.
Go To Bermuda is running, or should I say, sailing forth in fourth in this race of 11 x 72 foot yachts, or clippers.
They started out in England, found their way to South America. Then to Africa. And they’re now in Fremantle.
After the Whitsundays, the clippers will race to China, then the Phillipines, and finally back to England.
So, back to Go To Bermuda. Good name, hey? But as is the fashion with boats of all kinds these days, the names are not so real as paid for, and belonging to, a sponsor – in this case, the Caribbean getaway of Bermuda.
All of which is well, because without the sponsors there wouldn’t be a race.
Yesterday, amidst more than the occasional sheet of rain, a little wind, and grey skies, a bunch of local Freo media types, including from the Fremantle Shipping News, braved the conditions and spent a day on the water on this wonderful clipper.
Our skipper, who goes by the perfectly nautical name of Wavy, was a charming ocean yachtie who lives and breathes the sea and exudes a great confidence as to how the art of ocean racing should be performed. Two of his children were literally born at sea – another story. Luckily for him, his yacht-birthing skills were not called upon yesterday.
Some 17 folk with nautical dreams ordinarily crew the clipper on each leg, having paid for the honour. Some have little experience, but are trained for four weeks before they set out. One lovely, engaging young lady on Go To Bermuda had decided to put her school studies temporarily on hold to participate on the leg out of Freo. Others know the green ropes from the red ones, and what you call the back and front, and left and right hand sides, of the long boat, and how to stay upright when required.
The crew do the lot – sail, grind, winch, shimmy up the mast, cook, scrub the deck, avoid falling overboard, sleep, flop the fenders; sail, grind, winch, shimmy up the mast, cook, scrub the deck, avoid falling overboard, sleep, flop the fenders; and so on.
The additional crew comprised of the media contingent, by contrast, had a wonderful morning out and did very little but enjoy the action and occasionally steer the vessel to the wrong side, the port side, of the homeward buoy. Here’s some of our snaps.
We will all be following Go To Bermuda all the way home to London.
You can too.
And Instagram #clipperrace2019
You can keep an anxious eye on the Race Around The World after Fremantle.

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