During the interview with David Cusworth, Clipper’s Crew Recruitment Director, as each of us were introducing ourselves I decided, old sea dog that I am, to relate a story of Mary and my arrival into Barbados a couple of weeks previously on board a great cruising yacht called Sea Dream.
We had had engine problems all the way across from Malaga and had been running for most of the way on a single engine. Halfway across the problem was resolved and they brought the errant engine back into service and we, unfortunately, made up time and arrived into Barbados on time!
Well, arrived might not be the best way of describing our introduction to this idyllic isle! As we were coming in to dock all hell broke loose amongst the crew – we were about to hit the dock wall as we appeared to have no brakes! Down went the anchor in an emergency drop, the crew ran everywhere, arms were waved frantically and the captain tore out his hair!
Clang! Screech!, Thump!
We hit one of P&O’s largest and newest boats – the Brittania!
Luckily not too much damage was done, a few scratches on their bright new paintwork, 25 foot of our rubbing strake ripped off and a rather ugly looking dent in our nose! More to the point the egos of the Sea Dream’s fleet Senior Engineer and Captain were much more dented! When bringing the repaired engine back into service they had not checked the reverse thrust was operational!
Five minutes later we saw one of the Brittania’s lifeboats being lowered, then come up alongside, a head appeared out it its forward hatch and pictures were taken of the scratches on her hull.
The point of recalling this story here? Well, as I was telling the story in the Clipper offices I saw a gentleman opposite me start to smile! I asked him why and he said: “that was me taking the pictures!”
A small world – but we were about to take part in a race that might just prove the world isn’t quite that small and we were going to learn just how powerful she is!