To mark the team’s arrival in Panama earlier this morning, here is a profile on Leg 7 crew member Helen Seeley, a management consultant from the UK.
Prior to your Clipper Race training, we understand you'd only ever been on a ferry before. How have you adjusted to life on board a 70-foot ocean racing yacht?
Adjusting to life on board has been easier than I thought. I found the training incredibly tough and so I think that prepared me for the worst but thankfully due to good weather and good crew mates I think I've adjusted quite well. The days have been going fairly quickly once we'd settled in to our watch systems and to be honest, I've not been too tired but then again we haven't been working too hard due to the light winds. What is the hardest thing is the heat. It is relentless and there is no escape. On watch we all try and sit in the shade but as you can imagine at midday, there isn't much to go around and then once you venture down below, you are essentially going into a sauna, so sleeping is pretty tough. Catching an elusive spot in the sail locker will bring a breezier sleep if you manage to get there first!
As a legger in one of the latter legs of the race, how have you found joining the round the worlders after they've been on board for 7.5 months and no doubt looking forward to the finish?
Joining the crew at such a late stage in the race didn't really concern me but since they had been through some tough times during Legs 5 and 6, I was a little apprehensive as to what the mood would be like on board. In reality though the overall impression has been extremely welcoming and I think that the team was looking forward to a refresh in order to reinvigorate them for the latter stage of their journey. I am no doubt that my lack of experience in sailing has probably been a bit trying at times for the round the world crew as they have to go through the whole learning process with each new member over and over again but hopefully in return, I have provided them with some light entertainment and laughter to re-boot their soles!