Venture of a lifetime awaits Gibson
IN TWO days, Hervey Bay's Ed Gibson will embark on one of the most challenging races when he takes part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Gibson, the group general manager at Hervey Bay Boat Club, will be one of the 22 crew on one of the 12 70-foot ocean yachts that will set sail from the St Katharine Docks, Tower Bridge, London on Sunday.
The epic 11-month voyage will cover 65,000km and visit 16 ports on six continents, making it the world's longest ocean race.
Each team will battle to complete eight different legs in some of the toughest sailing conditions as they vie for the overall top prize.
After 18 months of training and preparation, Gibson is confident he has the mental toughness, knowledge and experience to guide his team across even the most savage seas.
But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for the 55-year-old leading up to the start of the race.
Ed was scheduled to fly to London on August 12, but had to delay his flight after his passport was accidentally laundered.
Fortunately, the Australia Passport Office were understanding and expedited his replacement documents just in time for him to get to London for the race.
It's fair to say that won't be the only close shave he'll have over the next 11 months.
The first leg of the Clipper Round the World consists of two races, a sprint to Brest, France, before the first major ocean crossing - the Atlantic - which ends in Marina da Gloria, Rio de Janeiro, the destination for the 2016 Olympic sailing events.
Competitors will also be faced with arguably their biggest challenge, the dreaded Doldrums, a treacherous slog across the equator where winds are calm and tests any sailor's patience.
LONDON, UK - BREST, FRANCE - RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Time: About 33 days
Temperature: 15 degrees to 35 degrees
The Clipper fleet line up in St Katherine's Dock as they arrive in London.