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IT worker sets sail on a truly epic adventure; 'This is probably the most extreme thing I will ever do in my entire life' ian wang.

Byline: ian wang DAVID OWENS Reporter

IN the ultimate escape from the rat race, a software architect is yachting halfway around the world - despite having no sailing experience.

Ian Wang is one of almost 700 people from all over the world taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, a global sailing race that allows anyone over the age of 18 the opportunity to experience Mother Nature at her most serene and extreme.

What makes Ian's achievement all the more remarkable is that prior to signing up, he had never stepped foot on a sailing boat but was hooked after seeing an advert for the epic endurance challenge on Facebook.

"This is probably the most extreme thing I will ever do in my entire life," said the 43-year-old from Cardiff, who has traded computers for sailing to spend four months racing 15,000 miles from London to Fremantle in Australia.

After departing London on September 1, Ian and his 20 teammates have raced 10 other identical yachts for 24 hours a day for more three weeks at a time. They have faced blistering heat and windless zones at the equator and freezing cold temperatures, waves taller than buildings and wind speeds of over 70mph in the Southern Ocean.

"On one shift, we emerged from the companionway (entrance to the living space below deck) and there was just this huge wall of water," said Ian.

"When you're there and the waves are crashing over, it's scary, beautiful, intense. It's a lot of things all at once."

Ian has lived in cramped conditions, enduring physical and mental hard work on the Vietnamese sponsored yacht called Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, amongst a crew of many nationalities.

"We had English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, someone from Saudi Arabia, Poland, Australia, USA, Canada. We were a thoroughly multinational family," he said.

"We've spent four months living with over 20 people at a time on a 70ft boat - you can't get away so you have to get on well. When you're in such intense situations you have to get on well - you don't have your own bunk - you have to share with a crew mate. When they're asleep you're sailing, when they come on, you go down to sleep. The close living conditions certainly mean you get to know people very well."

Despite never having sailed before, Ian, like everyone taking part, had to undergo four intensive stages of training to take part in the Clipper Race.

"There was a lot to learn on the race too, but we were already prepared with more than just the basics," he said. "It was about putting what we had learnt into practice and we are very well prepared to go out to sea."

On arriving in Fremantle after racing 15,000 miles, Ian said he would recommend anybody give it a go.

"If someone is sitting at home on Facebook and happens to see something like this, then I encourage them to look into it," he said. "What would you rather be doing, sitting at home on your computer or would you rather be sailing the oceans, having the most amazing experience and meeting some of the most incredible people?" The Clipper Race restarted on December 22 in Freemantle heading for Whitsundays, Australia; Sanya, China; Subic Bay, Philippines; Zhuhai and Qingdao, China; Seattle and New York, USA; Hamilton, Bermuda; Derry, Northern Ireland before finishing back in London this summer. Find out more at

When you're in such intense situations you have to get on well


Almost 700 people from all over the world are taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
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Author:ian wang DAVID OWENS Reporter
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 3, 2020
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