Doctor on dry land

Posted on 18 July 2012.

Back in April we reported on Dr Edwin Swarbrick who was about to set sail on a two month voyage as part of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Dr Swarbrick headed out to San Francisco to join his 68ft ocean yacht ‘Visit Finland’ as part of 19 strong crew who took it in turns to sail the yacht 1800 miles to New York via Panama. He then went on to crew in various other legs of the race finally returning home in June this year.

The 40,000 mile race started in August 2011 and comprises of 10 identical yachts circumnavigating the globe in a series of 15 grand prix style races bidding to be the first across the finish line.

The crew of 18 to 72 year olds had to complete a five week intensive training programme in June last year to prepare them for the fickle winds and strong currents that they will encounter on the journey.

Now back home on dry land, we asked Dr Swarbrick how he got on with the race and here is what he had to say:

“Since I returned from Leg 7 of the Clipper Round the World Race in early June after an absence of 10 weeks I have been catching up and readjusting to life on shore.

I have also been quietly reflecting on the voyage. It was a unique, extraordinary and remarkably enjoyable experience. I was fortunate on my boat, Visit Finland, in being with an amazing skipper and great crew which engendered easy camaraderie and team spirit; other crews seem to have been less fortunate in this. We were also in podium positions, 3rd and 2nd, after the two races on the leg, which helped!

Apart from the pleasure in being at sea for 35 days and the frisson of racing, highlights included leaving California from under the Golden Gate Bridge, coming into Manhattan past the Statue of Liberty, passing through the Panama Canal and the incredible close encounters with Sperm, Finback and Sei Whales and 3-4 species of dolphin in large numbers.

The only “tough” negatives were the incredible heat both in the Pacific and Caribbean and at times the relative lack of wind. It was constantly above 90 degrees (F) below decks and for much of the time 100 degrees in the saloon and 110 in the galley. Sleeping in those temperatures was difficult. It became very tiring on rotating 4 or 6 hour watches. The frustration of being becalmed for a few days mid race was only relieved by the fire-hose showers and being overtaken by turtles.

It has been a great experience which I wouldn’t have missed and would recommend to anyone, sailors or those with ambition. 40% of the 500 participants had never sailed before the training so don’t let that put you off. For more details go to

I want to thank very much those who have supported my fundraising efforts for  Compton Hospice and for those who haven’t yet got round to it  is not too  late as the just giving site remains open and it is soooo easy to give securely and effectively so please do!"

Compton Hospice would like to congratulate Dr Swarbrick on his amazing achievement and would like to thank him for his wonderful support.


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