The Start

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.  ~ Attributed to Carl Bard

For 650 excited crew members of the Clipper round the world yacht race, we heard on Friday  31st the details of our start from the UK on September 1st 2013. For the International Baccalaureate class of 2013 at the La Châtaigneraie campus of the International school of Geneva, it was the day that signified the start of something new for them too.

London, the iconic capital city, is to host the start and finish of the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, leaving the capital on 1 September 2013 and not returning until July 2014 after racing 40,000 miles visiting 14 ports on six continents in the world’s longest ocean race.

Tower Bridge London

London to host world’s longest ocean race. Credit: Clipper Round The World

For the IB class of 2013, their high school graduation marked not only the end of two years of hard slog but also 14 years of life at school. The incredibly impressive student speakers talked of their fear of the IB, of the future and of moving onto the unknown, away from family and friends and also of knowing that no matter where they were in the world, the network of friends that they’ve made during their school life and particularly during their IB years will be with them forever.

Celebrating the future

Celebrating the future. “Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” ~ Stephen Kaggwa

Embarking on 12 months of sailing around the world will also provide its own degree of fear and most certainly the unknown.  Just how Mother Nature will behave on a certain day and how we’ll be able to respond to her gentleness or wrath will be the making of us all.

One of the speakers during the graduation ceremony was Richard Moore from Northern Ireland and he had some great messages for the graduation audience.

 In 1972, at the age of 10 he was shot and blinded by a rubber bullet. He grew up with a supportive family, went on to University, to run his own businesses and to found the global charity, “children in crossfire”. He had several messages to all of us; the two that resonated with me were about forgiveness, in particular forgiving the soldier who had fired the bullet that blinded him and recognizing what you have and can do.

In our 11 months on board, there’s the potential for intense and difficult moments some due to different personalities, behaviours, beliefs. Others down to simply living in a confined space and the physical conditions. As a crew, as students moving into different environments, I hope the ability to forgive, to move on, and to recognize that “stuff” happens; that life isn’t always fair yet we all have the ability to choose how we feel and respond will develop great teams during our race around the world.

And as Richard said, “recognize what you have” – if he had dwelt on not being able to see, he says that his life would be very different. He would love to be able to have seen his newly born daughters, to see their first smile and to see them as they grew up. However, he focused on what he could do and the vision of his charity, Children in Crossfire, is “a world where young children can realize their potential”.

In sailing round the world, cycling twice the 180km of Lake Geneva as well as the 130km étape on the Tour de France, I hope to use my strengths to raise funds for KULE and Friends of India – to ensure that other children and communities can also realize their potential.

As the Clipper crew slip their lines on September 1st, as the graduation class of 2013 receive their IB results on July 6th, my wish is that we all sail with fair winds and following seas… and, if it does get a bit rough out there, remember:

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. ~ William A. Ward

Enjoy and be the best you can be!

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