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Two Spaniards out to make history in Clipper Race

SAILING URUGUAY | 20 de octubre de 2019

By Federico Anfitti

Punta del Este, Uruguay, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- A sailboat of Uruguayan origin, many Spanish-speakers and an international tournament create the "perfect mixture" where Jeronimo Santos and Clara Carrington are trying to make history and become the first Spaniards to sail around the world in the Clipper Race.

The challenges and risks of an adventure of this kind, in which each competing sailboat circumnavigates the world in eight stages, made up of 13 races, all fuse together into a great feeling of pride for the Spanish pair, who are out to make history in the famous event.

Santos and Carrington spoke with EFE during their brief stay in Punta del Este as the various vessels arrived at the southeastern Uruguayan port before their departure on Oct. 23 on the leg to South Africa.

The sailboat the pair will handle - along with other crewmembers - is Uruguayan and named the Punta del Este, making it a special pleasure for them to get to know that city.

Carrington admitted that, when she registered for the race, she never hoped to be on a crew with another Spanish-speaker and then, when she learned that Santos would captain her sailboat, she was very happy to have a countryman on board.

On top of that, she learned that Punta del Este would be the sponsor of her sailboat and that was "the icing on the cake."

"To me it seems like what we've done is an heroic deed because already sailing from London to Portimao (Portugal) means navigating zones that people normally don't sail," she said regarding the first leg of the race and adding that, during the more than 30 days they were en route from Portugal to Uruguay, she lost "all sense of time."

Like a good part of the crew of the Punta del Este, Carrington does not have broad sailing experience and, in fact, hasn't sailed for 30 years.

"Clipper was here in my head ... I don't know what clicked to make me say 'I'll sign up,'" she said.

She said that her original idea was to do half the world-spanning ocean race, but then her desire to establish a milestone convinced her to go for more.

"When they set up the team and everything I said, OK, I want to be the first Spanish woman in the history of the sailing race to circle the world with the first Spanish captain," she said.

Santos, in contrast to Carrington, has been sailing for 30 years and has been at the helm of other crews, although never on one as big as that of the Punta del Este.

Although a good part of the crew are sailing novices, he is proud of his team and describes their vessel as one of the "most enjoyable in the fleet."

"I've loved creating a dynamic crew, who enjoy themselves, who learn, who get along well, and they're enjoying is a lot and they're hard workers," he said.

Although he's a sailing expert, the Spanish captain said that this particular race is "an incredible experience" and that gets him excited about what will happen between now and next August.

On this kind of adventure, living and working together among people of different countries and cultures is always one of the most complicated things. But both Spanish crewmembers agreed that it's been easier than they had expected.

Carrington said that during the days out in the middle of the ocean, they had a scare one night with "a lot of wind" that caused the boat to tip "literally at a (sharp) angle."

"Although you're tied down for safety ... you get scared because you don't know, you've never experienced anything like that. Then, you notice that you're safe, you simply have to let the minutes go by," she said.

Despite always feeling a fear of the unknown, like seeing a wave "that ... looks like a wall," the security you feel from your team and your leader on board calms you, she said.

Santos gets enthused when he predicts the outcome of this competition, saying that he and his crew are going "all out" after winning the first leg, adding that the Punta del Este is "one of the fastest boats."

The two Spaniards are making history and they both know it - feeling pride at the undertaking, at representing their country and regarding the team they are a part of, as well as having this adventure on board the same vessel.

"That's making history. You never think you'll make history in your life. So, I - who am a very quiet person on things like this - feel very proud to be able to do it," Carrington said.

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