Shortly before Team PSP Logistics arrived in San Francisco, we caught up with Leg 6 and 8 crew member Doug Bellingham, a Financial Controller from Australia (and skip’s cousin).
Presumably you have grown up with Chris (skip) since year dot and seen him in a very different light to your fellow crew mates. How has your view changed seeing him as the skipper of a non-professional crew in charge of a 70 foot yacht racing across the Pacific Ocean?
Chris and I are distant cousins. I believe our Grans were first cousins. So we have more bounced through each other lives over the years rather than grown up together. That said I used to baby sit him when he was first born and his parents would take me skiing. The deal was that I would look after him at night if his parents went out. I do remember putting him on skis before he could walk; he had only just started standing up. Later in life he was a frequent visitor to our home in London as super yachts saw him migrate from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean with the seasons change.
It was really interesting to see Chris when doing Level 3. It was the first time I had sailed with him and his ability on a boat instils confidence in those around him. He is definitely in his natural environment and it is great to see.
Leg 6 is known as the monster of the Clipper Race, crossing the largest ocean in the world. Why were you attracted to participate in this Leg and what has been your most memorable high and low point?
Originally I was only signed up for the glory Leg, 8. However reading the reports via Facebook and the web I just couldn't wait until then. Additionally I knew that the guys were a bit short handed for this leg and so might need some help.
It’s a bit difficult to reflect on highs and lows just yet. Typing this I am wedged into the nav station which is at 30 degrees. I am also cooking lunch today so being below decks is tough in these conditions. The crossing has been significantly harder than I was expecting. It was the people side of things that I thought would be tough but that has been the easy bit. We all just get on with it, occasionally angry words are exchanged but everyone shares the frustrations of the journey and apologies are always quickly forthcoming. The physical side is brutal and at the start terrifying. Then the terrifying just becomes the normal and you forget to be scared.