of something amazing. Yet everything rides on one little thing…..
I spent the week before the interview wondering whether or not to tell anyone where I was going and more importantly, why. I was stupidly nervous enough without adding in other people’s expectations. In the end I did tell a few people as the excitement overcame the nervousness. Strange how wanting to sign up to do something that most people think is nothing short of completely crazy, puts a huge grin on your face!
Gosport and Clipper HQ is a long way from West Norfolk so an early start was in order. The drive down was uneventful, in so far as the M25 can ever be considered uneventful.
Gosport marina is lovely on a sunny July morning; the water glittering in the sunshine, the historic buildings mingling with the new and oh look, Clipper HQ. The walk from the car park wasn’t nearly long enough to settle the thumping in my chest down.
The interview itself was ok, all very relaxed. There were three of us there, the process consisted of a group welcome and discussion about what the race involved, then they left us alone for a while before we had individual interviews followed by a tour of one of the boats.
The idea is that in the group introduction, they give you “the clipper experience” warts and all to do their very best to put you off the idea. To be honest, if that was the aim, they weren’t very successful at it at all. All three of us were grinning more at the end than we were at the beginning!
The whole “we’ll go off and make some coffee” bit is pretty much a ruse to see how you interact with the others in the group. I’m sure it became very apparent quite quickly that I earned my reputation for being “the gobby one”!
The individual interview was slightly more nerve wracking. That was the point where you have to lay your cards on the table, say why you want to do this and what you think you might get out of it. It was a long conversation, one that covered who I was, where I had come from and where I saw the future going. If no-one else, I had myself convinced.
After the interviews, the three of us went down to have a look round one of the Clipper 70 yachts. Wow. They’re huge, or at least an awful lot bigger than my 16ft Falmouth Bass Boat!
Things didn’t get off to a great start; I stood on the deck merrily daydreaming to myself and just managed to mumble a “hmm yeah” to the sage advice of “careful where you step, there are lots of lines about” just as I tripped over one and came very close to landing flat on my face! (It pays to have fast reflexes and the ability to laugh at yourself!)
If there was one point where I wavered, it was the point where we went below:
Clipper 70’s have a bit of an opposite Tardis effect – what appears to be huge above deck, looks really tiny below deck! Not sure how tall people cope, I’m told you get used to having to duck all the time to avoid hitting your head.
The most amazing thing was the rocking cooker, it doesn’t matter what angle the boat is at, the cooker is level and has to provide enough nutritious food to keep the crew going.
The angle of the bunks can be adjusted so you don’t fall out, the toilet doesn’t have a door or even a seat. (It does have a canvas cover though!)
But the thing that struck me the most was the smell. Not good. And that’s before the boat had loads of sweaty unwashed bodies in it for days!
I did find myself wondering if there was room on board for some sense & spray air fresheners!
Then it was back in the car for the journey home and the wait to hear how the interview went. All the way home I convinced myself it was a terrible idea; the boat smelt, it would be hard work, there was no privacy, it was too expensive, the kids would miss me, I don’t have the time, they weren’t looking for people like me…. and 101 other reasons why they wouldn’t want me and why I couldn’t possibly do it.
I spent the whole weekend crystallising that list in my head into a huge barrier. One that could be used as an excuse to change my mind. Especially if the answer was no.
I dropped the boys at school on the following Monday morning, before I drive off I checked my emails on my phone. I had an email…….
The Crew Recruitment Lady…….
She say YES! 😮