Eric from SPS in Round the World Race

9 Oct 2017

Eric Froggatt, Senior Project Manager for SPS, is taking part in the 17-18 Clipper Round the World Race. Here Eric chats to us about the global yachting challenge which the company is supporting him to undertake.

What is the Clipper Race and what’s your part in it?

Now in its 11th edition, the 17-18 Clipper Round the World Race takes 12 matched 70 foot racing yachts around the world in 8 Legs, taking about one year (August 17 to July 18). The race started from Liverpool on 20th August and I’m taking part in Leg 6 (Pacific Ocean) which will depart in March ’18. Some people are on board for the whole circumnavigation, others (“Leggers”) like me are doing one or more legs.

What made you want to do it?

Turning 50 last year probably had something to do with it! My wife saw an advert and said I should have a look, and on my first trawl round the Clipper website I saw a video of a guy saying “When you’re old, you won’t regret the things you’ve done, you’ll regret the things you haven’t done!” I guess that made quite an impression.

Why that leg?

As soon as I saw the route map I was drawn to the Pacific Leg. It is described as “The Big One” because the Pacific is so vast (6,000 Nautical Miles) and this generates huge seas. It is also the coldest leg and quite remote, you are beyond helicopter range for 90% of the route, and the nearest other humans will be on the International Space Station, so overall definitely a challenge!

Which crew are you on?

My crew is “Visit Seattle”, which is great for me as my leg finishes in Seattle and we have a number of “Seattlelites” on board, so we will have a home coming to remember. We are already planning a HUGE party on arrival!

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

I can’t wait for a big storm and seeing how I cope. By big, we’re probably talking 80+ knot winds and 25 metre waves, which is 12+ on the Beaufort Scale.

Do you just jump on board for the race?

No, after interviews everyone has to complete 4 weeks of intensive training, which includes sea survival courses as well as lots of sailing. We’ve also had a team-building weekend for my crew, which was useful and great fun. At the Interview the phrase was “We’re looking for Attitude more than Aptitude”, which applies to many things, I think?

What have you learned so far about yourself?

That I’m a team player, up for a challenge, and that any team needs a variety of skills and characters. It is amazing how many different attributes you need on board, as the boat has to be completely self-sufficient for weeks at a time.

What do you expect to gain?

Personally I’m expecting true adventure and life-long friends after this. I might also find that I have to go back next time and do the whole thing!!

What will you miss while you’re away?

Work! (Actually during a Force nine gale during the final training week I was stripping down loo pumps, so I can’t get away from it!). Of course I’ll miss my wife, but “absence makes the heart…” and she will be in Seattle for my finish, as well as Qingdao, China for the departure.

How can we keep up to date with your progress?

Follow the “Race Viewer” via the Clipper website (Warning – be careful.  It’s addictive!) There are loads of Skipper and Crew blogs and other media via the Race Web Site.