David Pollock will set off on the adventure of a lifetime this week as he travels to the other side of the world to join the crew of the Derry~Londonderry~Doire yacht to participate in Leg 4 of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race.
David (31), who hails from Eglinton in the outskirts of the city, is one of a number of local people who has secured the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail the world’s seas as part of the Derry City and Strabane District’s Council’s Clipper Race Bursary Scheme.
Speaking ahead of his departure, David says he’s delighted to be part of the team and avail of this fantastic opportunity to improve his skills, meet new people and travel to Australia as part of the Clipper Race crew. He has been preparing for the challenge over the past number of weeks and months, keeping in contact with his team mates and following their progress as they secured second place in the third leg of the race from Cape Town, South Africa to Albany, Australia, where he will now join them.
“I am really excited about going. I just want to get there, get on the boat and be part of the whole experience,” said David, ahead of his departure on Monday. “We all received a huge amount of training to prepare us for the challenges ahead, four weeks in total on the boat.
“I am not nervous about it all. I really enjoy being at sea and have been lucky enough not to suffer from any sea sickness. The sail training was really enjoyable for me, I loved every minute of it. While some of it was tough, it really prepares you for all types of weather and situations, so I feel genuinely confident taking part. I’m a really competitive person so this is ideal for me and I hope that we will continue with the success we have enjoyed to date and secure another podium place for Derry~Londonderry~Doire.”
David is hoping that the Clipper Race experience will open up new opportunities and career paths for him: “This is a brilliant chance for me to widen my horizons and to make the most of this great opportunity. I want to get something positive out of it and will do everything I can to reap the benefits of the whole experience, already I have decided that I want to have a career when I get back, maybe learn a trade.”
David had never set foot on a racing yacht before starting his Clipper Race training in May so it came as a surprise to his family and friends when he applied for the Your Next Chapter bursary for a berth on the race. However, since being selected David says his family and friends back home are very supportive of his involvement: “Everyone has been great. My friends organized a massive party at the weekend for me and it was great craic. I got loads of Christmas cards and presents too and everyone has been sending me good luck wishes.”
David’s Mum Frances says the whole family is behind David one hundred percent: “This is an amazing opportunity for David we are so pleased that he has been selected to be part of the bursary scheme. We are so proud of him and wish him all the best in the race. It will be difficult not to have him at home for Christmas but that’s a sacrifice he is willing to pay for the huge opportunity it presents for him.”
Frances added : “While his Dad Alistair, sister Catherine and brother James, will miss David’s jovial personality, it’s his nieces and nephews Luke, Katie, Brooke and Rowan, that will miss him most.
“The wee ones are all mad about David, they love him to bits so it will be difficult for them not to have him around for a while. All of the family are coming to spend Christmas with us this year now that David is away so everyone is being very supportive and caring. His granny Charlotte in Donemana is particularly proud, she has a real soft spot for David and is just over the moon that he is getting to travel to Australia and be part of this fantastic event. We will miss him but we will be in regular contact via Facebook and Skype and look forward to having him home again at the end of January and to hear all his adventures.”
David says the Council’s bursary scheme is a great way of making the Clipper Race accessible to a wider genre of people: “I had no experience whatsoever in sailing before this and being part of this scheme has opened up so many opportunities for me. I’ve met with some great people so far – the Clipper Race crew and support teams are fantastic - they are so friendly and helpful and really make you feel part of the Clipper Race family, which makes being away from home over Christmas a lot easier.”
David believes the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race presents the city with a unique opportunity to showcase its talents and assets when it hosts the race as a destination port next July: “Already so many members of the crew, their family and friends are talking about coming to the city when the race stops here as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival next July. They have all heard about the fantastic welcome they got last time and everyone is really keen to come back. It’s going to be a huge event for the city, and I just can’t believe that I am going to be part of the celebrations.
“I am really proud of where I come from, and to be representing my city in this global sporting event is a huge achievement. I just hope I can live up to it and do my city and family proud. It’s a major challenge but one I am going to grasp with both hands and do my very best.”
The public can follow David and his crew mates on Derry~Londonderry~Doire as they take to the seas from Albany in Australia this weekend – David’s Clipper facebook page at www.facebook.com/David-Pollock-Clipper-Race or follow the team on Facebook and Twitter at Derry-Londonderry Clipper 15-16.