Sailing his way to victory

HE spends most of his days sopping wet, in oilskins which leak - but one Ipswich resident says he is having the time of his life. LISA WOOLLARD catches up with the 28-year-old who is sailing in one of the world's most famous races.

HE spends most of his days sopping wet, in oilskins which leak - but one Ipswich resident says he is having the time of his life. LISA WOOLLARD catches up with the 28-year-old who is sailing in one of the world's most famous races.

CHRIS Broughton often has to pinch himself to make sure his life is real.

For the last ten months, the former electrician has been racing with ten other boats in the World Yacht Race 2005-2006. He has visited Australia, Singapore, South Africa and is on his way to America aboard the Durban Clipper.

The boats race to each port in an attempt to be the first, and the overall winner will be the team which has reached the most ports first.


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Chris' challenge is all the more compelling because he is deaf, and has had to teach his team members how to sign so they can communicate.

Chris, of Pretyman Road, said: “All my crew are fantastic at taking time to learn sign language and this helped me a lot especially in situations where I need to be understood quickly, know what is going on and what is required with a certain sailing manoeuvre.

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“The crew have all passed a basic course in sign language and I take great pride in knowing I have achieved something in helping them to do so.

“All the crew have different occupations where they might meet some deaf people as clients and knowing some basic signs will help their relationship between the clients and employers.”

At the moment the Durban Clipper is in second place and Chris is optimistic they can win. He said today: “If we keep this pace we will over take into first place.

“We are a very competitive crew and we aim to win this leg and the race overall. Our track record is now improving as we have learned how to manage life on the boat.”

But life onboard has not been all plain sailing and the whole race had to be temporarily stopped for four weeks because of serious keel problems on one of the boats. The race was due to finish at the start of July but has now been delayed to the start of August.

“There have been problems along the way,” said Chris, “Another low point was finding out my gear had sprung leaks. My clothes and boots leak too and I have had to resort to wearing plastic bags over my feet.

“I am having to wear cold and wet outer clothes and will be pleased when we get to warmer places.”

But despite all the set backs Chris says he is thrilled to have taken part in the race.”

He added: “I have had a wicked time both in sailing and being part of a cool crew who have bonded well. I have also enjoyed visiting all the places we have been to. I am looking forward to going to Panama and the canal as I have seen the TV programme called Seven Industrial Wonders of the World and really want to see it. I'm also looking forward to Jamaica and New York where I hope to go to one of many famous museums.

“I have some idea of what I would like to do when the race finishes, but nothing is set in stone. Maybe I will go on a course to learn how to do the boat fitting, and the mechanical side.

“As I am qualified electrician, I would like to get involved more with the boat industry and sailing.”

Weblink:

www.clipper-ventures.co.uk/2006

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston took up the idea of crewing ocean racing yachts with amateur crews, in a race around the world in 1995.

The aim was simple; with an increased emphasis on adventure travel and the desire for people to break away from the shackles of their comfort zone.

The first Clipper race was on the start line in October 1996 when eight shiny white boats set off.

The routes for the first four Clipper races were similar and visited Madeira, Fort Lauderdale, Panama, Galapagos, Hawaii, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

In 2000 the boats were renamed and called after cities.

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