John Broomfield was part of the Ha-Long Bay, Viet Nam crew who took line honours on the fifth leg of the Clipper Round the World Race. Image: Laura Thomas
John Broomfield was part of the Ha-Long Bay, Viet Nam crew who took line honours on the fifth leg of the Clipper Round the World Race. Image: Laura Thomas

QLD businessman finds his sea legs aboard Clipper race

BEFORE joining the Clipper Round the World Yacht race, John Broomfield had never set foot on a sailing boat before.

Now, five races into his circumnavigation, the Noosa local had found his sea legs and was happy to be on home soil for a few days.

Mr Broomfield sailed from London with the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam crew who took line honours in the All Australian leg of the race.

The 52-year-old business owner joined the race to pay tribute to his brother-in-law; a keen sailor who built his own boat but sadly never got to sail around the world after losing his battle with cancer.

Mr Broomfield said while the race had its challenges, it had been an incredible way to pay tribute to his brother-in-law.

“I told him when he was on his death bed that I would do the sailing for him, and now here I am sailing around the world,” he said.

“I realistically had only been on a fishing boat in a river and now I’m on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht- it’s a pinch yourself sort of a moment.”

John Broomfield had never set foot on a sailing boat before signing up for the round the world race. Image: Laura Thomas
John Broomfield had never set foot on a sailing boat before signing up for the round the world race. Image: Laura Thomas

Mr Broomfield will take part in the entirety of the race as crews make their way to China, the Philippines and the United States before arriving in London for the end of the race in early August.

The most recent leg departed Fremantle just before Christmas and the crew had clocked up 3,415 nautical miles upon their arrival Whitsundays.

After 18 days at sea, Mr Broomfield had three things on his mind upon seeing land.

“All I thought of was food, coffee and beer,” he said.

“A couple of my mates also turned up with a big banner on a fishing boat alongside us which was pretty cool.”

The round the world race started in London on September 1 and crews have so far sailed to Portugal, Uruguay and South Africa.

While sailing past his home town on route to the Whitsundays had been a special experience, Mr Broomfield said the biggest highlight as well as the biggest challenge of the race so far was the second leg from Cape Town to Freemantle.

“We had eight to ten metre seas so that was a bit of an eye-opener and was like being in the Alps but on water,” he said.

“It was the scariest moment, but it was just nature at its rawest.

“The hard part is now going to be the weather, we’ve had the cold with the Southern Ocean but now it’s going to be the heat.

“But every stop that we’ve got from now on I’ve never been to.”

John Broomfield was part of the Ha-Long Bay, Viet Nam crew who took line honours on the fifth leg of the Clipper Round the World Race. Image: Laura Thomas
John Broomfield was part of the Ha-Long Bay, Viet Nam crew who took line honours on the fifth leg of the Clipper Round the World Race. Image: Laura Thomas

Mr Broomfield is one of 688 crew members who signed up for one or multiple legs in the round the world race.

But he said the footage of big waves should not scare people into thinking they are not experienced enough to take part.

“If you would have said to me three years ago that I’d been sailing around the world, I would have laughed,” he said.

“So it’s definitely doable and it’s for anyone.

“We’re a little family and we’re very supportive- when you spend 24 hours together on a boat you get to know each other pretty well.”

Mr Broomfield’s crew were the first to arrive into the Whitsundays, followed by Imagine Your Korea and Gotobermuda.

The other eight yachts will arrive over the duration of the weekend.


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