26. The Self-Preservation Society (SPS)

Otherwise known as us supporters. To continue from yesterday, after lunch we were on our own with no racers. Ruth Charles is the Clipper supporters coordinator. She went around the world in the 2015-16 race so she knows what the crew are facing and how her supporters coped. This is only the second time we’ve had an official “role”, and we are (so far) over 2,000 so we outnumber the crew, not quite three to one but possibly by the start of the race? If you want to sign up as a supporter, here’s the link. You should then receive “daily” updates (see previous post). https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/crew-supporters

The header photo is from the Clipper Facebook page, the first photo in this blog that is not mine. I’m not sure how to properly acknowledge copyright (ironic, as I’m a Lay Member of the Copyright Tribunal) so if anyone needs to correct me please do. As I didn’t take any photos on the afternoon, the ones lightening the text here are all from last year.

2018 Qingdao crew

Ruth will be at each stopover (as will I unless things go drastically wrong) and so she is our best contact. There is a (private) Facebook page for supporters of the 2019-20 race as well as the open stuff. There is information for Junior Supporters, mainly for the 5-12 age group although others may find it of interest. Each Junior Supporter will be linked to a crew member and will receive home-based activities to reflect what their crew member is up to (such as crossing the Equator). Often a class will plot the journeys on a map, so we could have whole schools following and supporting a team. The youngsters in our family are going to have to decide whether to support Uncle George or Grandad! Here’s the link for the Juniors. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/junior-crew-supporters

At each stopover there will be drop-in sessions so none of us need to feel alone whilst waiting. We’ve got the Race Viewer which although not live is worth visiting for the last race details. Qingdao came third and Unicef sixth, so MBB have something to beat as well as each other. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/standings

2018 Unicef team

During the race as the boats come in and / or when they leave each port there will be live streaming on Facebook Live ( http://www.facebook.com/clipperracelive I think). I’ve just looked at it but I guess there’s nothing to show yet. For the last few days as the boats are approaching harbour there will be live ETAs for their arrival. We’ll also be informed of other supporters at each stopover.

If you want to communicate with the crew, letters and parcels can be sent and the stopover information will give the address to send stuff to. Alternatively I will be going to each port and will possibly have space in my case, although I may be going from one stop to another without returning to the UK. More on that when I’ve done my research. What you could do is email me and I’ll pull them all together to give MBB a heap of them at each port. The official emails are not able to handle pictures, emojis or the like. We’re not allowed / supposed to give other information on other boats so I’m going to have fun biting my lip and maintaining a Chinese Wall (ha ha!).

We then had a Q&A session with supporters of crew members from earlier races. Of particular interest to me was Nicky, whose husband Mike is the AQP on Unicef this year (he was a RTW’er crew last time). We were told not to expect to hear anything whilst they are at sea. Any contact is a bonus.

Socialise with as many supporters as possible, not just your own boat, and help out at the ports wherever possible. As an example, “Seattle” was a week late into one port, so all their victualling had been sorted to save time for them. They may arrive at any time of the day or night so some spare cash, food (not tinned rations!) and somewhere to shower or sleep will be appreciated.

Coming into Liverpool

We were advised to start / join a WhatsApp group for the team supporters and get involved in fund raising. I’m already in the Unicef supporters group and I’ve started knitting team colour hats so we can be spotted on the docks. If at home, organise a “stopover” party for others so you all still feel involved.

At the ports, Clipper supporters do not receive any special treatment, we are part of the normal crowd. However, Clipper staff are also part of the crowd and usually this is where the best views are to be found. If there is capacity then supporters will be invited to the prize-givings and parties. We the SPS have our own parties anyway!

Then the exciting news that Musto have developed a Supporters Kit for the first time ever, in the team colours! It’s not yet live so I can’t share the link. I’ll need a seamstress who can take apart two kits and get me a jester’s outfit of half Unicef (pale blue) / half Qingdao (red and gold). Hmmm.

Look at those winning pennants!

Next time, what we did on our holiday (last week immediately after Crew Allocation Day). I think.

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