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Last Friday evening, I braved the rail strike to say ‘Bon Voyage’ to one of our clients Mark Burkes.
‘Burkes’ and I have a long history and he is, I’m proud to say, one of my oldest friends. Many moons ago when I was a professional sailor we completed the Fastnet Race campaign together and both worked as sailing instructors in the Solent.

Mark has now moved on to more exciting challenges!


The race of his life!

Earlier this year he was selected to be one of the Clipper Round The World Race skippers

The race of his life - Mark's story MFP Wealth Management

The Clipper Race is a huge challenge.

Amateurs, often with no previous sailing experience, race 40,000 nautical miles around the world on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht.

The brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, the crews set sail from London on 1st September. The fleet will complete its circumnaviga

tion when it returns eleven months later, in August 2020.

With the race divided into eight legs and a total of between 13 and 16 individual races, you can complete the full circumnavigation or select individual legs. There are eleven race teams racing eleven identical racing yachts, each with a fully qualified skipper and first mate to safely guide the crew.



An enormous leadership challenge

Normally the domain of seasoned pros, this supreme challenge is taken on by ordinary, everyday people. Having completed a rigorous training course, participants are suited and booted in the latest extreme protection gear to commence the race of their lives – an unparalleled challenge where taxi drivers rub shoulders with chief executives, vicars mix with housewives, students work alongside bankers, and engineers team up with rugby players.

As I write this it is day two and things have not been plain sailing for Mark so far.

He comments; “ The crew, many of them new to sailing and hugely keen to learn, are having some teething issues, among them two common but nonetheless bad habits have emerged. One, leaving kit strewn around the boat and two, leaving all the lights on at watch change. Any sailor will feel my pain here. A messy, undisciplined ‘below decks’ is poor for long term morale. If it continues after warnings it will be nipped in the bud with (some may say draconian) measures. I do feel somewhat like an angry Dad trying to save electricity sometimes, which, in a way, I suppose I am!

“Just to illustrate that you can’t know what is likely to happen next, we just had our main halyard de-glove entirely leaving us with main on the deck and a problem to solve. We have a jury-rigged solution and should be racing again in 2 hours. No-one said this would be easy …”

(For those non-sailors, the main halyard is the rope that pulls up the main sail and lets it down. If the main is on the deck you’re not going to make much progress!)

I wish Mark all the best; I can’t imagine how tough this race will be. You can follow his story and the race here.

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