Wellingborough teenager to sail around the world

A Wellingborough teenager will be one of the youngest competitors in a sailing race around the world.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st February 2019, 5:00 am
Timothy Morgan. Picture credit: James Robinson
Timothy Morgan. Picture credit: James Robinson

Timothy Morgan, 19, will dedicate almost a year of his life to the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race.

Setting off in the summer, he and 19 other crew members will be one of 11 teams to see who will be victorious after more than 40,000 nautical miles.

Timothy Morgan at a crew briefing

Leaving the UK they will circumnavigate the globe by travelling to South America, on to South Africa, across to Australia, up to China and then over to America.

Timothy, who will take a gap year from studying painting at Plymouth University, said the idea of sailing the world quickly turned into an obsession.

He said: “When I first thought about sailing round the world, it was almost as a joke.

“I had no idea if it took 11 weeks, months or years.

Timothy Morgan is looking forward to the challenge

“But as I read up on the Clipper Race, the idea of such an adventure quickly became an obsession.”

The race has been branded one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges and on each yacht, crew members will spend at least 504 hours of their life stood at the helm.

The biggest waves reported during the 2017-18 race were more than 14m tall, officially classified as a phenomenal sea state, during leg six across the North Pacific.

The highest wind speed recorded was 94 knots during the same leg - equivalent to 108mph. Timothy said he’s ready to get “all hands on deck” in tough conditions.

More than half a million litres of water will be filtered through the fleet’s watermakers.

Each crew member will burn about 5,000 calories per day and it’s estimated that the 11 teams will get through 561,000 tea bags while at sea.

Timothy said: “The food is surprisingly normal, there’s spaghetti bolognese and chilli [con carne].

“You just have to eat a lot of it to keep your energy levels up.”

The teams will all race on a matched fleet of 70ft ocean racing yachts in two shifts of 10, working for about four to six hours on a rotating basis.

Timothy is similar to about 40 per cent of crew members who have little or no sailing experience. All crew members have to pass four levels of intense training.

The overall route is split into a series of 13 races and points are awarded for each race. The team with the highest cumulative points tally at the end of the final race wins the series and the Clipper Race trophy.

Timothy, a former pupil at St Peter’s Independent School in Northampton, said his family and friends are in his corner.

He said: “At first they were like ‘what are you doing?’ but they are far more up for it now.

“I’m really excited for it. The odd thing is that people are making plans for next year and I just won’t be around.”

The race will also tick off a lot of travel destinations for Timothy, who has never left Europe before.

He and other crew members will get some down time to explore at stopover ports.

Crew members must be at least 18 before starting the race, making Timothy one of this year’s youngest competitors. There is no upper age limit and the oldest competitor to date was 74.

Timothy will found out who else is on his team in a few months.

He said: “It seems to me that there is no better way of getting a group of complete strangers to bond in a very short space of time than chucking them on a boat for a few days and making them live within a few inches of each other.”

This is the 12th edition of the race which was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing.

The Clipper Race charity partner for the 2019-20 and 2021-22 editions is UNICEF. To date crew, supporters and Clipper Race partners have raised more than £690,000 for the charity since the partnership began.