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Learning the lessons of Mother Nature: Worthing Rugby chair takes on the Clipper race

Learning the lessons of Mother Nature: Worthing Rugby chair takes on the Clipper race

Worthing Rugby Club Chair, Colin Tomlinson, will take on two legs of the Clipper race. The race, which will take him from the East Coast of Australia to the Pacific Coast of America, presents a chance to raise money for UNICEF and Care for Veterans.

This 40,000 nautical mile oceanic answer to Everest is the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail non-stop around the world. The first took place in 1996. Only the skipper and first mate are trained so the crew don’t need any prior experience of sailing to take part.

That doesn’t spare you from four phases of training, each bringing their own challenges in six-day stints at sea off the coast of Hampshire. Life on board the Clipper 70 sail boats are not for those of a nervous disposition, many jobs require crew to have knowledge of almost every trade to be self-sufficient.

Though, to some, this sounds like a living hell, it was the challenge that drew Colin to it. The two legs he has signed up for will take him on a 14,300-mile voyage of a lifetime which he’ll complete in April.

“I started sailing in 1991 when I was in the army and had a great time; we had to work as a team to get it right. Sailing across one of the big oceans remained a big item on my bucket list. I found the clipper race after some research and began the training. I enjoyed it so much I decided to sign up for the additional Pacific leg.”

In addition to UNICEF, the charity of the race, Colin will also raise funds for Care for Veterans. The charity, established in 1919, provides nursing, rehabilitation, respite and end of life care for disabled ex-service personnel.

“I started fundraising for them a few years ago. They are a fantastic charity that does great work. As an ex-army officer this is a cause close to my heart.”

The boat Colin will take to the seas is skippered by Mike Miller, someone with two complete circumnavigations and 140,000 nautical miles under his belt. The crew itself is made up of 65 people, 48 men and 17 women, representing 11 nations. The ages are just as diverse, the youngest is 22 and the oldest is 74.

“We will be at sea for three weeks to Vietnam and then four weeks across the Pacific. We’ll be going from 30-degree heat in Australia to near freezing in China and the big waves of the Pacific.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting and learning from the other people on the boat. They’re a diverse group with different experiences.”

As Colin prepares to take on one of mother nature’s biggest challenges, every day of his 24-years’ experience in the army will be required to deal with the multitude of challenges the Clipper will present him with.

We wish him the best of luck.


To donate to Colin’s Just Giving page, please follow the link:


To learn more about the Clipper Race, please follow the link:

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